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In the percolating 1960’s, Lesley Gore exploded onto the charts with her sad but rockin’ “It’s My Party,” which soared to number one when she was all of 16. A creamy-smooth vocalist with a beguiling twinkle, Lesley followed that with a slew of other teenybopper hits, from the sequel song “Judy’s Turn to Cry” to the proto-feminist anthem “You Don’t Own Me”–but she chose to enter Sarah Lawrence College rather than pursue all the multimedia offers being thrown her way, singing mainly on the wacky weekends.
That was fine–she kept on making it her party and paved the way for other musical permutations to come. Years later, in 1980, Lesley emerged on the Fame soundtrack with “Out Here On My Own,” a plaintive ballad she co-wrote with her brother Michael Gore, which got an Oscar nomination for Best Song. (The title tune, “Fame,” by Michael G. and Dean Pitchford, won the trophy, but we love the Lesley/Michael tune just as much–even more so when we’re “feeling blue”.)
Lesley’s career developed extra interest in 2005, when she not only released new music, but she revealed on the record what I’d long heard buzzed about–she’s a lesbian! In fact, she lives with her longtime partner–but no one owns her!
Of course you can own a piece of Leslie’s gift by going to see her in New York in May.