The 60s were a time that changed a lot about popular culture, but who would have thought it could have changed how we saw our birthdays? In 1963, a sweet 16-year-old’s first song hit number one and became a birthday song that epitomised the era.
Lesley Gore was Quincy Jones’ first protege and sang about crying at her party after her boyfriend disappears and cheats on her. The line “It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to” became a pop culture reference that still endures today.
A young Gore said that legendary producer Quincy was determined to produce a demo of her voice and showed her “It’s My Party”. When she heard it, she said, “That’s not half bad. I like it. Good melody. Let’s put it on the maybe pile”.
It turned out to be the only song Jones and Gore liked and was a number one smash, with various placings in charts across the world. Due to the song’s success, Lesley recorded a sequel song called ‘Judy’s Turn to Cry’, where her character in ‘It’s My Party’ gets her revenge.
Sadly, Lesley Gore died in 2015 of lung cancer aged 68.
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We remember her as the vivacious teenager who stole our hearts when many of us were still too young to understand the meaning of the song.