Thursday, February 23, 2012

Worth Another Listen • Lesley Gore

Leslie Gore

In the early and mid 1960s, the music scene was flourishing in a way it hadn't before. Part of the reason is a change that began in the 50s, which kids becoming more and more interested in popular music, and getting involved. And it was at this time a pretty high school junior in Tenafly, New Jersey, was recording some music, and it was making a big impact. Lesley Gore was going to school in Englewood, NJ, and recording in her free time. With a blink of an eye, her first single see to take off on the charts, and clearly connecting with her fellow teens. It's My Party went to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1963. The song, written by Walter Gold, John Gluck Jr., and Herb Weiner, was the tale of young love gone wrong, and it felt so right to the listeners. Of course, she also had some help in the studio from her producer, a man starting to make a name for himself, Quincy Jones.

It only seemed natural that the next sing would be the sequel to her first hit, at least to those at the record company. The song was written by Beverly Ross and Edna Lewis, and further told the story of the teen and the girl who took her boy, Judy. The record was again produced by Quincy Jones, and make it to #5 on the Billboard charts. Here is Lesley Gore singing Judy's Turn To Cry.

The following year, Lesley was still singing the songs the public wanted to hear. Gore was a senior in 1964, and was again at the top of the charts. Written by songwriters John Madara and David White, You Don't Own Me went to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was really one of the early pro-woman songs, asking to be taken seriously as a person, not someone's possession. And once again, Jones was the producer on the song.

The next song made it's official debut in the 1965 film Ski Party, a beach-style film starring Frankie Avalon, Dwayne Hickman, Yvonne Craig, and Deborah Walley. The song was written by Marvin Hamlisch, and Howard Liebling, long before Marvin was working on his most famous work, Broadway's A Chorus Line. But in keeping with the bright and light motif of the film, Gore sang Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows, which went to #13 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Gore continued to make music that was in the charts for the rest of the 1960s. During the 70s, 80s and 90s, she made appearances on oldie tours and television shows. And in 2004, Gore co-hosted the PBS show In The Life, and came out as a lesbian, having been with her partner for more than 20 years. To learn more about Lesley Gore, visit her official website here. You can also find her 2005 release, Ever Since, on iTunes and Amazon. You can also find The Best of Lesley Gore on iTunes and Amazon.

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