That's the Way Boys Are

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"That's the Way Boys Are"
That's the Way Boys Are cover.jpg
Single by Lesley Gore
from the album Boys, Boys, Boys
B-side "That's the Way the Ball Bounces"
Released March 1964
Format 7"
Recorded 1964
Label Mercury
Writer(s) Mark Barkan
Ben Raleigh
Producer(s) Quincy Jones
Lesley Gore singles chronology
"You Don't Own Me"
"That's the Way Boys Are"
"I Don't Wanna Be a Loser"

"That's the Way Boys Are" is a song written by Mark Barkan and Ben Raleigh and initially sung by Lesley Gore and released in 1964 as a single and on Gore's 3rd album Boys, Boys, Boys. The single reached #12 on the Billboard Hot 100, being kept out of the top 10 by songs by British Invasion bands The Beatles and The Dave Clark Five.[1][2][3][4][5] The song was produced by Quincy Jones and arranged by Claus Ogerman.[1]

Music critic William Ruhlmann called the song "a well-crafted reflection from a sympathetic and understanding female perspective on the obtuse mating habits of boys." Author Richard Aquila noted that the lyrics "voice the era's acceptance of sexual double standards," in contrast with the theme of Gore's previous single, "You Don't Own Me".[4] Aquila regards "That's the Way Boys Are" as one of several examples of Lesley Gore songs that regard women as dependents or passive objects, along with earlier singles "It's My Party" and "Judy's Turn to Cry."[4] Musicologist Walter Everett described the song as one of the many 1960s sexist songs that "perpetuated a boys will be boys tolerance for male but not female infidelity."[6] Music critic Greil Marcus also remarked on the way "That's the Way Boys Are" backs off from the "proto-feminist manifesto" of "You Don't Own Me" to a message of "he may treat you like garbage, but they're all like that, and we love 'em for it!"[7] Rulmann described the music as "a bouncy, contemporary sound that compared favorably to the Phil Spector Wall of Sound style without being as ornamented."[1]

Subsequent to its initial release, "That's the Way Boys Are" has been released on compilation albums including The Golden Hits of Lesley Gore in 1965, It's My Party: The Mercury Anthology in 1996, Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows: The Best of Lesley Gore in 1998, 20th Century Masters – The Millennium Collection in 2000 and The Ultimate Collection 1963-1968: Start the Party Again in 2005.[1] It has also been included on multi-artist compilation albums such as Growin' Up Too Fast: The Girl Group Anthology in 1996 and Mad Men: A Musical Companion (1960-1965) in 2011.[1]

"That's the Way Boys Are" was covered by Y Pants.[7][8][9] Greil Marcus commented that the Y Pants version has more tension than Lesley Gore's version, and that the Y Pants version starts with a sad, sweet a cappella vocal but progresses to horrible screaming.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d e Ruhlmann, W. "That's the Way Boys Are". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-07-27. 
  2. ^ "Lesley Gore Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-07-27. 
  3. ^ Studwell, W.E. & Lonergan, D.F. (1999). The classic rock and roll reader: rock music from its beginnings to the mid-1970s. Psychology Press. p. 252. ISBN 978-0-7890-0151-1. 
  4. ^ a b c Aquila, R. (2000). That old-time rock & roll: a chronicle of an era, 1954-1963. University of Illinois Pres. pp. 114–116, 234. ISBN 978-0-252-06919-2. 
  5. ^ Allio, J. "Lesley Gore Discography: 1963-2011". Lesley Gore International Fan Club. Retrieved 2011-07-27. 
  6. ^ Everett, W. (2008). The foundations of rock: from "Blue suede shoes" to "Suite : Judy blue eyes". Oxford University Press. p. 366. ISBN 978-0-19-531023-8. 
  7. ^ a b c Marcus, G. (1999). In the fascist bathroom: punk in pop music, 1977-1992. Harvard University Press. pp. 217–218. ISBN 978-0-674-44577-2. 
  8. ^ "Y Pants". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-07-27. 
  9. ^ "That's the Way Boys Are". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-07-27.