Lesley Gore

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For the English footballer, see Les Gore.
Lesley Gore
Leslie Gore Batman 1967.JPG
Gore as a Batman guest star, 1967
Born Lesley Sue Goldstein
(1946-05-02)May 2, 1946
Brooklyn, New York City, New York, U.S.
Died February 16, 2015(2015-02-16) (aged 68)
Manhattan, New York City, U.S.
Cause of death
Lung cancer
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • actress
  • activist
Years active 1963–2014
Era 1960s
Notable work "It's My Party" , "Judy's Turn to Cry" , "You Don't Own Me".
Partner(s) Lois Sasson
Musical career
Instruments Vocals

Lesley Sue Gore (born Lesley Sue Goldstein; May 2, 1946 – February 16, 2015) was an American singer, songwriter, actress, and activist. At the age of 16, in 1963, she recorded the pop hit "It's My Party", and followed it up with other hits including "Judy's Turn to Cry", "You Don't Own Me", and "California Nights".

Gore also worked as an actress and composed songs with her brother Michael Gore for the 1980 film Fame, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award.[1] She hosted an LGBT-oriented public television show, In the Life, on American TV in the 2000s, and was active until 2014.

Early life[edit]

Gore was born Lesley Sue Goldstein[2] in Brooklyn, New York City[1] into a middle-class[dubious ] Jewish family, the daughter Leo and Ronny Gore.[3] Her father was the owner of Peter Pan, a children's swimwear and underwear manufacturer,[3] and later became a leading brand licensing agent in the apparel industry.[4] She was raised in Tenafly, New Jersey[5] and was a junior at the Dwight School for Girls in nearby Englewood when "It's My Party" became a number one hit. The song was eventually nominated for a Grammy Award for rock and roll recording.[6] It sold over one million copies and was certified as a gold record.[7]

1960s career[edit]

"It's My Party" was followed by many other hits for Gore, including the sequel, Judy's Turn to Cry" (US No. 5); "She's a Fool" (US No. 5); the protofeminist million-selling "You Don't Own Me",[7] which held at No. 2 for three weeks behind The Beatles' "I Want To Hold Your Hand"; "That's the Way Boys Are" (US No. 12); "Maybe I Know" (US No. 14/UK No. 20); "Look of Love" (US No. 27); and the Grammy-nominated "Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows" (US No. 13), from the 1965 movie, Ski Party.[8] In 1965 she appeared in the beach party film, The Girls on the Beach in which she performed three songs: "Leave Me Alone", "It's Gotta Be You", and "I Don't Want to Be a Loser".

Gore was given first shot at recording "A Groovy Kind of Love" by songwriters Carole Bayer and Toni Wine, with a melody from a sonatina by Muzio Clementi,[9] but Shelby Singleton, a producer for Mercury subsidiary Smash Records, refused to let Gore record a song with the word "groovy" in its lyrics.[8] The Mindbenders went on to record it, and it reached No. 2 on the Billboard charts.[10]

Gore recorded composer Marvin Hamlisch's first hit composition, "Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows", on May 21, 1963 while "It's My Party" was climbing the charts.[8] Her record producer from 1963 to 1965 was Quincy Jones. Jones' dentist was Marvin Hamlisch's uncle, and Hamlisch asked his uncle to convey several songs to Jones.[8] "Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows" was released on the LP Lesley Gore Sings of Mixed-Up Hearts but did not surface as a single until June 1965.[8] Hamlisch composed three other Gore associated songs: "California Nights",[11] "That's the Way the Ball Bounces" and "One by One". "That's the Way the Ball Bounces" was recorded September 21, 1963 at A&R Studios in New York; it was released as the B-side of "That's the Way Boys Are" and appeared on the LP Boys Boys Boys. "One by One" was an unreleased track recorded on July 31, 1969 in New York and produced by Paul Leka; it first appeared on the Bear Family five-CD anthology of Gore's Mercury work entitled It's My Party (1994).[1][8]

Gore was one of the featured performers in the T.A.M.I. Show concert film, which was recorded and released in 1964 by American International Pictures, and placed in the National Film Registry in 2006. Gore had one of the longest sets in the film, performing six songs including "It's My Party", "You Don't Own Me", and "Judy's Turn to Cry".[12]

Gore performed on two consecutive episodes of the Batman television series (January 19 and 25, 1967), in which she guest-starred as Pussycat, one of Catwoman's minions.[1] In the January 19 episode "That Darn Catwoman", she lip-synched to the Bob Crewe-produced "California Nights", and in the January 25 episode "Scat! Darn Catwoman" she lip-synched to "Maybe Now".[10] "California Nights", which Gore recorded for her 1967 album of the same name, returned her to the upper reaches of the Hot 100.[8] The single peaked at number 16 in March 1967 (14 weeks on the chart). It was her first top 40 hit since "My Town, My Guy and Me" in late 1965 and her first top 20 since "Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows".[1]

Gore also performed the single "We Know We're in Love" ten months earlier on the final episode of The Donna Reed Show, which aired on March 19, 1966.[8]

After high school, while continuing to make appearances as a singer, Gore attended Sarah Lawrence College, studying British and American English literature. At college, folk music was popularly lauded as 'chic' whereas pop music was often derided as 'uncool.'[1] "Had I been tall with blonde hair, had I been Mary Travers, I would have gotten along fine."[13] She graduated in 1968.[14][15]

Later career and "Ever Since"[edit]

Gore composed songs for the soundtrack of the 1980 film Fame, for which she received an Academy Award nomination for "Out Here on My Own", written with her brother Michael.[16] Michael won the Academy Award for Best Original Song for the theme song of the same film. Gore played concerts and appeared on television throughout the 1980s and 1990s.[8]

Gore co-wrote a song, "My Secret Love", for the 1996 film Grace of My Heart. The film includes a subplot about a young singer named Kelly Porter, who is based in part on Gore and is played by Bridget Fonda. The character, who is a closeted lesbian, performs "My Secret Love" in the film.[17][18]

In 2005 Gore recorded Ever Since (her first album of new material since Love Me By Name in 1976), with producer/songwriter Blake Morgan, with the label Engine Company Records. The album received favorable reviews from The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Billboard Magazine and other national press.[8] The album also included a revised version of "You Don't Own Me", about which the New York Daily News wrote: "In Lesley Gore's new version of 'You Don't Own Me'—cut more than 40 years after its initial recording—she lends a pop classic new life."[19] Gore commented: "Without the loud backing track, I could wring more meaning from the lyric". And: "It's a song that takes on new meaning every time you sing it."[20]

Personal life[edit]

Beginning in 2004, Gore hosted the PBS television series In the Life, which focused on LGBT issues.[21] In a 2005 interview with After Ellen, she stated she was a lesbian and had been in a relationship with luxury jewelry designer Lois Sasson since 1982.[21] At the time of her death, the couple had been together for 33 years.[22] Gore died of lung cancer on February 16, 2015, at the NYU Langone Medical Center in Manhattan, New York City; she was 68 years old.[23][24] Her New York Times obituary described her as a teenage and feminist anthemist.[25] Following her death, Neil Sedaka commented that she was "a phenomenal talent" and "a great songwriter in her own right."[25]

Gore's funeral was held on February 19, 2015 in New York City.


Studio albums[edit]

Year Album details Chart positions
1963 I'll Cry If I Want to
  • Released: June 1963
  • Label: Mercury MG 20805 (Mono) / SR 60805 (Stereo)
Lesley Gore Sings of Mixed-Up Hearts
  • Released: November 1963
  • Label: Mercury MG 20849 / SR 60849
1964 Boys, Boys, Boys
  • Released: April 1964
  • Label: Mercury MG 20901/ SR 60901
Girl Talk
  • Released: October 1964
  • Label: Mercury MG 20943 / SR 60943
1965 My Town, My Guy & Me
(Originally titled For Girls In Love)
  • Released: September 1965
  • Label: Mercury MG 21042 / SR 61042
1966 Lesley Gore Sings All About Love
  • Released: January 1966
  • Label: Mercury MG 21066 / SR 61066
1967 Off and Running
  • Cancelled
  • Label: Mercury MG 21080 / SR 61080
California Nights
  • Released: February 1967
  • Label: Mercury MG 21120 / SR 61120
Magic Colors
  • Cancelled (Was scheduled for November 1967 release)
  • Label: Mercury SR 61148
1972 Someplace Else Now
  • Released: 1972
  • Label: Mowest MW 117
1976 Love Me By Name
  • Released: May 1976
  • Label: A&M SP 4564
1982 The Canvas Can Do Miracles
  • Released: July 1, 1982
  • Label: 51 West Q16261
2005 Ever Since
  • Released: June 28, 2005
  • Label: Engine Company 506014
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.

Compilation albums[edit]

Year Album details Chart positions
1965 The Golden Hits of Lesley Gore
  • Released: 1965
  • Label: Mercury MG 21024 / SR 61024
1968 Lesley Gore Golden Hits, Vol. 2
  • Released: 1968
  • Label: Mercury SR 61185
1986 The Lesley Gore Anthology
1994 Lesley Gore: It's My Party
1998 Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows: The Best of Lesley Gore
  • Released: June 16, 1998
  • Label: Rhino R2 75325
2000 20th Century Masters – The Millennium Collection
  • Released: September 26, 2000
  • Label: Mercury 548077
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.


Year Single (A-side, B-side)
Both sides from same album except where indicated
Peak chart positions Album
US Billboard US
Hot 100
1963 "It's My Party"
b/w "Danny" (from Boys, Boys, Boys)
1 1 1 9 1 I'll Cry If I Want to
"Judy's Turn to Cry"
b/w "Just Let Me Cry"
5 10 4 19
"She's a Fool"
b/w "The Old Crowd"
5 26 6 28 Lesley Gore Sings of Mixed-Up Hearts
1964 "You Don't Own Me"
b/w "Run, Bobby, Run"
2 2 4
"Je Ne Sais Plus (You Don't Own Me)"
b/w "Je N'Ose Pas (Run, Bobby, Run)"
Non-album tracks
"That's the Way Boys Are"
b/w "That's The Way The Ball Bounces"
12 14 16 Boys, Boys, Boys
"I Don't Wanna Be a Loser"
b/w "It's Gotta Be You"
37 12 42
"Maybe I Know"
b/w "Wonder Boy"
14 10 20 37 Girl Talk
"Hey Now" /
"Sometimes I Wish I Were A Boy"


1965 "Look of Love"
b/w "Little Girl Go Home"
27 20 89
"All Of My Life"
b/w "I Cannot Hope For Anyone" (Non-album track)
71 95 The Golden Hits of Lesley Gore
"Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows"
b/w "You've Come Back" (from Girl Talk)
13 19 53 Lesley Gore Sings of Mixed-Up Hearts
"My Town, My Guy and Me"
b/w "A Girl In Love"
32 39 88 My Town, My Guy & Me
"I Won't Love You Anymore (Sorry)"
b/w "No Matter What You Do" (from My Town, My Guy & Me)
80 61 92 Lesley Gore Sings All About Love
1966 "We Know We're in Love"
b/w "That's What I'll Do"
76 69
"Young Love"
b/w "I Just Don't Know If I Can" (Non-album track)
50 57 24
"Off and Running"
b/w "I Don't Care" (from My Town, My Guy & Me)
108 98 75 California Nights
"Treat Me Like a Lady"
b/w "Maybe Now"
1967 "California Nights"
b/w "I'm Going Out (The Same Way I Came In)"
16 11
"Summer and Sandy"
b/w "I'm Fallin' Down" (from Magic Colors, unreleased)
65 54 Lesley Gore Golden Hits, Vol. 2[30]
"Brink of Disaster"
b/w "On A Day Like Today"
82 87 Magic Colors (unreleased)
"Magic Colors"
b/w "It's A Happening World"
1968 "Small Talk"
b/w "Say What You See"
124 Non-album tracks
"He Gives Me Love (La, La, La)"
b/w "Brand New Me" (Non-album track)
119 91 Lesley Gore Golden Hits, Vol. 2[30]
"I Can't Make It Without You"
b/w "Where Can I Go" (from Magic Colors, unreleased)
"I'll Be Standing By"
b/w "Look The Other Way"
Non-album tracks
1969 "Take Good Care (Of My Heart)"
b/w "I Can't Make It Without You" (from Golden Hits, Volume 2)
"Take Good Care (Of My Heart)"
b/w "You Sent Me Silver Bells" (from Magic Colors, unreleased)
"98.6-Lazy Day"
b/w "Summer Symphony"
"Wedding Bell Blues"
b/w "One By One"
1970 "Why Doesn't Love Make Me Happy"
b/w "Tomorrow's Children"
"Come Softly to Me"
b/w "Billy 'N Sue's Love Scene"
Both tracks by "Billy & Sue": Lesley Gore & Oliver
"When Yesterday Was Tomorrow"
b/w "Why Me, Why You"
1971 "Back Together"
b/w "Quiet Love"
1972 "She Said That"
b/w "The Road I Walk"
Someplace Else Now
1975 "Immortality"
b/w "Give It To Me, Sweet Thing"
Love Me by Name
"Sometimes" (with The Brothers Johnson)
b/w "Give It To Me, Sweet Thing"
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.

Television appearances[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Lesley Gore, who sang 'It’s My Party,' dead at 68". New York Daily News.com. Retrieved February 16, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Lesley Gore : Biography". Biography.com. Retrieved June 29, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Laing, Dave (February 17, 2015). "Lesley Gore obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved February 21, 2015.  "Daughter of Ronny and Leo, she was born Lesley Sue Goldstein into a middle-class Jewish family in New York City and grew up in Tenafly, New Jersey."
  4. ^ Salmans, Sandra (May 24, 1981). "Finding the Products for Famous Names". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-03-07. 
  5. ^ Fine, Arlene. "It’s Lesley Gore’s party at Cain Park", Cleveland Jewish News, July 31, 2008. Accessed September 18, 2011."
  6. ^ Retro, Ricky. "It's her party, and it's Spector's turn to cry", The Star-Ledger, May 24, 2004.
  7. ^ a b Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 159. ISBN 0-214-20512-6. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "'It's My Party' singer-songwriter Lesley Gore dies at 68". MSN.com. Retrieved February 16, 2015. 
  9. ^ Clementi, Muzio. Sonatina, Opus 36, Number 5 [see movement III, Rondo, measures 1–12]
  10. ^ a b c Hoekstra, Dave. "Our favorite Lesley Gore moments", Chicago Sun-Times, March 11, 2007. Accessed May 31, 2007.[dead link]
  11. ^ PBS "American Masters: Marvin Hamlisch" edition
  12. ^ Vincent, Alice. "Lesley Gore: Nine things you didn't know". The Independent, February 17, 2015.
  13. ^ David Tipmore (April 14, 1975). "It's My Comeback and I'll Try If I Want To". Village Voice. p. 126. Retrieved June 24, 2014. 
  14. ^ Patricia E. Davis, "Lesley Core In Comeback With Her College Degree", Pittsburgh Press, June 6, 1969.
  15. ^ Jon Bream, "It's Lesley Gore's party", Star Tribune, January 10, 2010.
  16. ^ Jones, Chad. "It's still her party, and Lesley Gore's not crying", Oakland Tribune, April 21, 2006. Accessed May 31, 2007.[dead link]
  17. ^ Glitz, Michael. "Singing Her Own Tune: Lesley Gore Is on Her Second Run of Celebrity-From the "It's My Party" Songbird of the '60S to the out Singer-Songwriter of 2005's Quietly Haunting Indie CD Ever Since." The Advocate, January 17, 2006. ("Gore could have been out more prominently in the mid '90s in connection with the movie Grace of My Heart, which included a subplot about a Gore-like teen idol (played by Bridget Fonda) who was gay. Gore worked on the character's song--'My Secret Love'--until she was comfortable having her name on it as a cowriter. But she felt wary that she'd been brought in too late for a real collaboration, and when she wasn't even invited to the premiere, Gore was convinced the filmmakers had used her primarily for publicity. 'It turned into the opposite of what I would have wanted,' she says."
  18. ^ Childs, T. Mike. The Rocklopedia Fakebandica (St. Martin's Griffin, 2014), ISBN 978-1466873018, p. 167. Excerpts available at Google Books.
  19. ^ nydailynews.com
  20. ^ nydailynews.com
  21. ^ a b "Interview with Lesley Gore", After Ellen, June 3, 2005
  22. ^ "Lesley Gore, the singer, dies aged 68"[1], February 17, 2015
  23. ^ "Lesley Gore Dead: ‘It’s My Party’ Singer-Songwriter Dies at 68 – Variety". Variety. Retrieved February 16, 2015. 
  24. ^ ABC News. "'It's My Party' Singer-Songwriter Lesley Gore Dies at 68". ABC News. Retrieved February 16, 2015. 
  25. ^ a b "Lesley Gore, Singer of Teenage Anthems, Dies at 68" By The Associated Press February 16, 2015 New York Times
  26. ^ a b "Billboard chart positions > albums". AllMusic. Retrieved January 18, 2010. 
  27. ^ "UK Singles Chart Run – Lesley Gore". Polyhex. Retrieved January 18, 2010. 
  28. ^ Steffen Hung. "Forum – CHART POSITIONS PRE 1989, part 2 (ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts)". australian-charts.com. Retrieved June 29, 2014. 
  29. ^ a b c "Billboard chart positions > singles". Allmusic. Retrieved January 18, 2010. 
  30. ^ a b [2][dead link]

External links[edit]