Friday, February 20, 2015

Farewell to a Sweet Singer

This week on February 16th, New Jersey pop singer Lesley Gore died of cancer at the age of 68. In 1963 when she was 16 years old, Gore recorded the hit "It's My Party," and followed it up with other hits including "Judy's Turn to Cry" and "You Don't Own Me." She 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.

Gore was a junior at an all-girls' school when "It's My Party" (produced by Quincy Jones) became a #1 hit. It was later nominated for a Grammy Award for rock and roll recording, sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. Here's a cute live performance of the tune that continues to have quite a legacy.

Gore's second most successful hit was "You Don't Own Me," released in late 1963 and reached #2 on the Billboard chart right behind The Beatles' "I Want To Hold Your Hand." The song's lyrics became an inspiration for younger women and played in a major factor in the rise of the second wave feminist movement. Here's more live footage from the T.A.M.I. Show concert film in 1964.
Gore recorded composer Marvin Hamlisch's first hit composition, the Grammy-nominated "Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows" (#13), and as well as other Hamlisch tunes like "California Nights," which reached #16 on the Billboard chart in 1967 (produced by Bob Crewe). A shorten version of the song was lip-synced by Gore on an episode of the TV series Batman. She played Pussycat, the Catwoman's protégé, who also wanted to be a singer. From the January 19, 1967 episode, "That Darn Catwoman," here's a clip of "California Nights."

Farewell to a sweet singer we will never forget!

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