It's My Party (Lesley Gore song)

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"It's My Party"
It's My Party single cover.jpg
Original US single cover
Single by Lesley Gore
from the album I'll Cry If I Want To
B-side "Danny"
Released April 1963
Format 7" vinyl
Recorded March 30, 1963
Genre
Length 2:19
Label Mercury
Songwriter(s)
  • Walter Gold
  • John Gluck Jr.
  • Herb Weiner
  • Seymour Gottlieb
Producer(s) Quincy Jones
Lesley Gore singles chronology
"It's My Party"
(1963)
"Judy's Turn to Cry"
(1963)
"It's My Party"
(1963)
"Judy's Turn to Cry"
(1963)
EP cover
EP cover

"It's My Party" is a pop song recorded by multiple artists since the 1960s. In 1963, American singer Lesley Gore's version hit #1 on the pop and rhythm and blues charts in the United States.[1] It was the first hit single for producer Quincy Jones.

Theme[edit]

The song lyrically portrays the discomfiture of a teenage girl at her birthday party when her boyfriend Johnny disappears, only to surface in the company of Judy, another girl, who is "wearing his ring," to indicate she's replaced the birthday girl as his love interest.[2]

The song's chorus, "It's my party, and I'll cry if I want to... You would cry too if it happened to you!" became a part of American pop cultural language as a phrase used to describe being utterly humiliated and miserable during an event that is supposed to be a happy occasion.

"It's My Party" is in the key of A major.[3] The song's effectiveness is enhanced by several musical touches producer Quincy Jones incorporated, including Latin-sounding rhythms, double tracked vocals and effective horn parts.[2] Allmusic critic Jason Ankeny wrote of the song, "'It's My Party' remains one of the most vivid evocations of adolescent heartbreak ever waxed — Quincy Jones produced the record, although you'd swear it was Aaron Spelling instead."[2]

Background[edit]

"It's My Party" was credited to John Gluck, Wally Gold and Herb Weiner, staff writers at the Aaron Schroeder Music firm in 1962. The lyrics were actually written by Seymour Gottlieb, a freelance songwriter. He gave the lyrics to Herb Weiner, with whom he partnered in writing songs, to peddle. It was based on actual events relating to Gottlieb's daughter Judy's ‘Sweet 16’ party, before which she cried over the prospect of her grandparents being invited.[4] The demo for the song was cut by Barbara Jean English, a girl group veteran (the Clickettes, the Fashions), who was then working as a receptionist at the firm. She also worked with Jimmy Radcliffe, serving as the firm's in-house demo singer. Radcliffe produced the demo, and, according to English, "tried to persuade Musicor [the label owned by Aaron Schroeder] to release it as a record, or to take me into a master studio and redo it, but they weren't interested."[5]

The first recording of the song was in 1962 by The Chiffons for their One Fine Day album. It was also recorded by Helen Shapiro for her Helen in Nashville album in February 1963 with Shapiro's regular producer, Norrie Paramor, and also Al Kasha. Shapiro would recall: "Right from the first time we heard the song on the rough demo back in London, we thought we were going to sock them between the eyes with that one";[5] however, Shapiro's version was not one of the cuts chosen as an advance single from the album and by the time of the album's release that October the "It's My Party" track was perceived as a cover of Lesley Gore's hit.

Lesley Gore recalls that "It's My Party" was among some two hundred demos producer Quincy Jones brought to review with her in the den of her family home in February 1963. On hearing "It's My Party," Gore told Jones: "That's not half bad. I like it. Good melody. Let's put it on the maybe pile." The song proved to be the only demo Gore and Jones found agreeable. With Jones producing and Claus Ogerman handling arranging and conducting duties, Gore recorded 'It's My Party' at Bell Sound Studios in Manhattan on 30 March 1963.[5][6]

In March 1963 Phil Spector heard the demo of "It's My Party" while visiting Aaron Schroeder's office. Wally Gold would recall: "He [Spector] said, 'Great, I love it. I’m gonna do it with the Crystals.' We [the song's writers] were really excited, because that would ensure that the record was #1!"[7] Schroeder apparently only learned of the Lesley Gore recording of "It's My Party" when Quincy Jones invited him to hear the completed track, which Schroeder found formulaic; believing that Spector would be able to cut a much stronger version of the song with the Crystals and not wanting to lose Spector's good will, Schroeder attempted to convince Jones to suppress the track. Schroeder didn't mention Spector's version to Jones but Jones and Spector both happened to attend a concert with Charles Aznavour at Carnegie Hall on the evening of 30 March 1963 and when they met outside it came up in conversation that Spector had recorded a version of "It's My Party" with the Crystals.[note 1] Jones skipped the concert instead spending that night—a Saturday—at Bell Sound Studios making a test pressing of the track comprising one hundred copies. Over the next two days Jones mailed these out to radio programmers in key markets across the US. Gore heard her record played on the radio for the first time that Friday; the official release of "It's My Party" came later in the month, with the disc ascending to #1 nationally in four weeks.[5][7] Jones was abroad at the time of "It's My Party"'s release. On his return he expressed dismay when Aaron Schroeder advised him that the rush release of "It's My Party" had precluded coining a more pleasant name for the singer than "Lesley Gore," to which Schroeder replied: "Didn't anybody tell you?...Quince, the record's number one. Do you really give a damn what her last name is?"[5][not in citation given]

In 1980, WCBN-FM, the University of Michigan freeform student radio station, played "It's My Party" for 18 hours straight the day after Ronald Reagan was elected.[8]

Charts[edit]

Dave Stewart and Barbara Gaskin version[edit]

"It's My Party"
Single by Dave Stewart with Barbara Gaskin
B-side "Waiting in the Wings"
Released August 1981[13]
Format 7" vinyl
Recorded 1981
Genre
Label Stiff
Songwriter(s)
  • Wally Gold
  • John Gluck Jr.
  • Herb Weiner
Producer(s) Dave Stewart
Dave Stewart with Barbara Gaskin singles chronology
"It's My Party"
(1981)
"Johnny Rocco"
(1982)
"It's My Party"
(1981)
"Johnny Rocco"
(1982)

In 1981, a remake by British artists Dave Stewart and Barbara Gaskin was a UK number one hit single for four weeks and was also a major hit in Austria (#3), Germany (#3), the Netherlands (#20), New Zealand (#1), South Africa (#3) and Switzerland (#6). The track reached #72 in the US. This was the first version of the song to reach #1 in the UK.[6] The video for the Stewart/Gaskin version contained a cameo by Thomas Dolby as Johnny, Judy being played by Gaskin in a blond wig.

Other cover versions, sampling, and references[edit]

The sequel: "Judy's Turn to Cry"[edit]

Because of the pop cultural obsession with the song and its tragic nature, Gore recorded a sequel titled "Judy's Turn to Cry". In this song, the teenage girl narrator gets her revenge on Judy. In the lyrics the narrator explicitly finds "foolish" how much she cried when she saw Johnny and Judy together, and seems determined to start anew. But after she kisses another boy at another party, Johnny gets jealous, punches the other boy and returns to her.[2] Following just two months on the heels of "It's My Party," the sequel reached number five on the charts.

Charts[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ As with "He's a Rebel", the Crystals' hit for which it was intended as the follow-up, "It's My Party" was actually recorded not by the Crystals but the Blossoms, who cut the track at Gold Star Studios. Darlene Love says the Spector version was "kinda slow with me and my sister Edna [Wright] singing together on lead. Much more R&B than Lesley Gore's version."[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 803. 
  2. ^ a b c d Ankeny, J. "It's My Party". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-07-20. 
  3. ^ McClary, S., Knapp, R., Baur, S. & Warwick, J.C. (2008). Musicological identities: essays in honor of Susan McClary. Ashgate. p. 71. ISBN 978-0-7546-6302-7. 
  4. ^ Tumposky, Ellen (February 18, 2015). "Brooklyn Woman recall origins of Gore's 'It's My Party'". Daily News. New York. Retrieved February 18, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f "It's My Party". Cha Cha Charming Magazine. Archived from the original on June 12, 2007. 
  6. ^ a b Bronson, F. (2003). The Billboard book of number 1 hits (5 ed.). Random House. p. 130. ISBN 978-0-8230-7677-2. 
  7. ^ a b Shannon, Bob. "Behind The Hits: Stories: It's My Party". Archived from the original on February 6, 2008. Retrieved September 17, 2011. 
  8. ^ "CBN History". Retrieved February 16, 2012. 
  9. ^ a b c Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  10. ^ Cash Box Top 100 Singles, June 8, 1963
  11. ^ a b Musicoutfitters.com
  12. ^ Cash Box Year-End Charts: Top 100 Pop Singles, December 28, 1963
  13. ^ "45cat - Dave Stewart With Barbara Gaskin - It's My Party / Waiting In The Wings - Stiff - UK - BROKEN 2". 45cat.com. Retrieved 17 February 2015. 
  14. ^ "RPM Country Tracks for April 2, 1977". RPM. Retrieved November 14, 2013. 
Preceded by
"If You Wanna Be Happy" by Jimmy Soul
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single (Lesley Gore version)
June 1, 1963 – June 8, 1963
Succeeded by
"Sukiyaki" by Kyu Sakamoto
Preceded by
"Another Saturday Night" by Sam Cooke
Billboard Hot R&B Singles number-one single
June 15, 1963 – June 29, 1963
Succeeded by
"Hello Stranger" by Barbara Lewis
Preceded by
"She's Just an Old Love Turned Memory" by Charley Pride
RPM Country Tracks number-one single (Carroll Baker version)
April 2, 1977
Succeeded by
"Heart Healer" by Mel Tillis
Preceded by
"Prince Charming" by Adam and the Ants
UK number-one single (Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin version)
October 17, 1981 - November 7, 1981
Succeeded by
"Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" by The Police