You knew Lesley Gore, even if you didn’t know the 68-year-old singer by name.
Gore was the voice behind the timeless hit “It’s My Party”.
And so you’ve heard Lesley belt the tune in many movies or television shows. Perhaps you heard the song and felt Lesley Gore was speaking for you, especially if you found yourself unlucky in love on your big day.
Lesley Gore’s character may have come out on the losing side of romance in her big hit, but did you know that there is a sequel to “It’s My Party”?
Leslie also sang the song “Judy’s Turn To Cry”, which is on the same album as her hit “It’s My Party”. It’s through that song we learned that the heartbroken birthday girl gets the last laugh in the end over her rival Judy.
If you’re a fan of the campy ’60s Batman, you may know Lesley Gore as the villainous Pussycat in 1967. Pussycat was an ally of Catwoman, and Gore appeared as the role for the episodes “That Darn Catwoman” and “Scat! Darn Catwoman.”
On the show, Lesley sang “California Nights” and “Maybe Now”, the former of which ended up being a major hit and her first top 20 single since “Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows.”
In addition to music about teen love, Lesley Gore has been praised as a voice for the feminist cause.
Although the song most associated with the feminist movement has long been “I Am Woman” by Helen Reddy, Lesley Gore proved to be ahead of her time with “You Don’t Own Me”, an anthem for independent women everywhere.
Gore struck a cord with a generation of young women and the single managed to make it all the way to No. 2. It was the Beatles song “I Wanna Hold Her Hand” that held the woman’s rights-friendly ballad out of the top spot.
A major secret for much of Lesley Gore’s life was the fact that she was gay. During a 2005 interview with Ellen DeGeneres, Gore admitted that it was something she knew about in her twenties.
When asked by Ellen whether or not she’d ever officially “come out”, Lesley said that she “just never found it necessary”.
“I really never kept my life private. Those who knew me, those who worked with me were well aware.”
“For a couple of years now I’ve been hosting [the PBS series] In the Life, and that was just kind of my way of saying, here I am and this is what I feel I should be doing now, and it was sort of a natural evolution for me as opposed to, you know, this great gong in the head.”
Gore is survived by Lois Sasson, her partner of 33 years.
One final thing you may not know about Lesley is that she lent her songwriting skills to the 1980 movie Fame, penning multiple songs for the soundtrack. She wrote “Out Here on My Own” with her brother Michael Gore. Although she was nominated for an Academy Award, it was Michael who won an award the movie’s eponymous theme song.
Lesley Gore may be gone, but her contributions to music and the furthering of feminist and LGBT causes have ensured that she will never be forgotten.
Do you know of any little known facts or fun tidbits about Lesley Gore? Feel free to share!
[Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons]