Lesley Gore Biography

Lesley Goldstein, 2 May 1946, New York City, USA, and raised in Tenafly, New Jersey. Having secured a recording contract with Mercury Records on the basis of a privately financed demonstration disc, Gore enjoyed a sensational debut when ‘It’s My Party’ topped the US chart in May 1963, reached number 9 in the UK and grossed sales in excess of one million. This tale of adolescent trauma has retained its timeless appeal - the singer’s birthday celebrations are irrevocably marred on losing boyfriend Johnny to Judy - and it remains one of the era’s most memorable releases. The vengeful follow-up, ‘Judy’s Turn To Cry’, reached US number 5 and earned another gold disc, but successive releases, including ‘She’s A Fool’ (US number 5), ‘You Don’t Own Me’ (US number 2), a powerful call for independence, ‘That’s The Way Boys Are’ (US number 12) and ‘Maybe I Know’ (US number 14), confirmed that the singer was not simply a novelty act. Gore made several appearances in teen-orientated movies including The Girls On The Beach and Ski Party, and television shows including Batman, but her career was marred by periods of inactivity.

After a few singles on the Crew label Gore re-emerged in 1972 with Someplace Else Now, released on Motown Records’ MoWest subsidiary. Three years later she was briefly reunited with producer/songwriter Quincy Jones, who had produced her early Mercury recordings, on the exceptional A&M Records single, ‘Immortality’. Gore established herself as a songwriter of note with her contribution to the Fame soundtrack, earning an Oscar nomination for ‘Out Here On My Own’, which was co-written with her songwriter brother Michael. Her own recordings have subsequently been few and far between, with an album for the short-lived 51 West label in 1981, a single five years later on the Manhattan label, and a new album in 2005 for the Engine Company label. She has continued to tour to packed audiences on the cabaret circuit, while her acting career includes highlights such as 1999’s appearance on Broadway in Smokey Joe’s Cafe.

Despite the frailty exhibited on her debut single, Lesley Gore is now viewed by commentators as an early champion of women’s rights, despite the fact that the songs which made her famous were penned by a male writing team.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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