Slacker Logo

Lesley Gore

ON AIR
Advertisement
Advertisement

Bio

The most commercially successful solo singer to be identified with the girl group sound, Lesley Gore hit the number one spot with her very first release, "It's My Party," in 1963. Produced by Quincy Jones, who fattened the teenager's sound with double-tracked vocals and intricate backup vocals and horns, she reeled off a few more big hits in 1963 and 1964, including "Judy's Turn to Cry," "She's a Fool," "You Don't Own Me," "That's the Way Boys Are," and "Maybe I Know." She wasn't the most soulful girl group singer by a long shot, but she projected an archetype of female adolescent yearning. Her best songs survive as classics, particularly the irresistibly melodic "Maybe I Know" and "Look of Love" (both written by Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry) and "You Don't Own Me," an anthem of independence with a feminist theme that was considerably advanced for early 1964. So what was Quincy Jones doing producing a white suburban teenager who had never recorded before? A couple of demos she recorded with her vocal coach made their way to Mercury's president, who recommended her to Jones, the label's A&R head. For their first session, Gore and Jones picked "It's My Party" out of a pile of about 200 demos. The "It's My Party" single was rush-released when Jones found out that Phil Spector had plans to record the same song with the Crystals. "It's My Party" and the weaker sequel, "Judy's Turn to Cry," have given Gore a somewhat unfair bratty image. Those are the hits that are remembered the most, but much of her subsequent material was both more mature (or, perhaps more accurately, less immature) and stronger. The singles were also very well produced, with orchestral arrangements (by Claus Ogerman) that hewed closer to mainstream pop than Phil Spector's Wall of Sound. Retrospectives of Jones' career usually downplay or omit his work with Gore, although it was among his most commercially successful; he's known now for recordings that are, well, funkier. But his success with Gore did a lot to build his already impressive résumé within the industry. Gore appeared on the legendary T.A.M.I. Show alongside such heavyweights as the Rolling Stones, James Brown, and Smokey Robinson, but after 1964 her star plummeted rapidly. Mercury was still investing a lot of care in her sessions throughout the rest of the '60s, and her material and arrangements showed her capable of greater stylistic range than many acknowledged. But after the mid-'60s, Jones no longer worked with the singer on a regular basis. "Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows" (1965) and "California Nights" (1967), both of which were co-written by Marvin Hamlisch, would be her only Top 20 entries after 1964. She played the cabarets after her days as an active recording artist, and eventually had some success as a songwriter for other performers. Shortly after the turn of the century, Gore returned to recording, collaborating with multi-instrumentalist Blake Morgan. In 2005, she released the critically acclaimed Ever Since, which landed songs on CSI: Miami and Showtime's The L Word as well as Jeff Lipsky's film Flannel Pajamas, which debuted at Sundance in 2006. Lesley Gore died of lung cancer in New York City in February 2015; she was 68 years old. ~ Richie Unterberger
Read All Read Less

Albums by
Lesley Gore

false

    12 songs

    On Air

    I'll Cry If I Want To

    12 songs

    On Air

    Someplace Else Now [CD]

    10 songs

    On Air

    It's Her Party

    12 songs

    On Air

    Boys, Boys, Boys

    12 songs

    On Air

    My Town, My Guy & Me

    12 songs

    On Air

    Sings All About Love

    12 songs

    On Air

    Girl Talk

    12 songs

    On Air

    Sings of Mixed-Up Hearts

    2 songs

    On Air

    It's My Party/Judy Turn to Cry

    18 songs

    On Air

    Hits & Rarities 1964-1969

    12 songs

    On Air

    20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: Best of Lesley Gore

    11 songs

    On Air

    Best of Lesley Gore [PSM]

    52 songs

    On Air

    It's My Party: The Mercury Anthology

    18 songs

    On Air

    The Golden Hits of Lesley Gore

    25 songs

    On Air

    Boys, Boys, Boys

    25 songs

    On Air

    California Nights [Bonus Tracks]

    25 songs

    On Air

    Girl Talk [Bonus Tracks]

    10 songs

    On Air

    Ever Since

    10 songs

    On Air

    The Canvas Can Do Miracles

    10 songs

    On Air

    Love Me by Name

    18 songs

    On Air

    The Essential Collection

    147 songs

    On Air

    It's My Party!

    6 songs

    On Air

    Her Very Best

    12 songs

    On Air

    Someplace Else Now

See All Albums

Artists Related to
Lesley Gore

On Air

The Paris Sisters

On Air

Billie Davis

On Air

The Chiffons

On Air

The Angels

On Air

The Ronettes

On Air

The Cookies

On Air

The Shangri-Las

On Air

The Shirelles

On Air

Sandie Shaw

On Air

Jackie Trent

On Air

Cilla Black

On Air

The Honeys

On Air

The Ad Libs

On Air

Petula Clark

On Air

Shelley Fabares

On Air

The Jelly Beans

On Air

Connie Francis

On Air

Lulu

On Air

The Exciters

On Air

Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans

On Air

The Crystals

On Air

Little Eva

On Air

Dusty Springfield

On Air

The Poni-Tails

See All Related Artists

Loading Sliders...
  1. + -