Sunday, November 21, 2010
Lesley Gore was a singer-songwriter of the girl group era. Even if you know nothing about Gore you probably know her 1963 song "It's My Party" well enough to sing it. That tune was recorded when she was only sixteen-years-old and it has become part of the canon of girl group music. "It's My Party" is also noteworthy for launching the career of Quincy Jones, who signed Gore to Mercury Records and produced that first single for her when he was thirty-years-old.
In 2005, Gore came out of the closet and revealed she had a partner for over twenty years. Certainly this added a new dimension to Gore's lyrics, but even before the admission, Gore's tunes were proto-feminist "fuck yous" to anyone who dared do her wrong, man or woman.
This story of Gore as closeted pop princess was threaded into Allison Anders' film Grace of My Heart, a fictional history of American pop music starring Illeana Douglas and John Turturro. Although it wasn't too well received at the time, I find the movie to be one of the lost treasures of the 90s indie film boom. Hey, a modest treasure is still a treasure.
Hit the jump to see Lesley Gore performing a searing live version of "You Don't Own Me" for The TAMI Show, a 1964 concert film.