Most of the obituaries for Lesley Gore, who died Feb. 16 at the age of 68, listed “It’s My Party” as the classic teen angst song, long before Taylor Swift or Debbie Gibson tried the same thing. But honestly, I’ve never really paid that much attention to the lyrics outside of the chorus.
Ah, the chorus. That moving chorus with the chromatic steps up and down the scale breaks your heart. Raising just one note by a half-step creates tension and sadness in the song – more than any words about Johnny and Judy could achieve.
It was a classic girl group song – so much so that Phil Spector wanted it for his own. Quincy Jones’ version with Gore beat him to the punch, though, and it’s Gore who is forever associated with this monster hit.
Gore had a sequel to the song – “Judy’s Turn to Cry” – but like movies, the original was better than the sequel. After her singing career, she turned to songwriting, and was nominated for an Academy Award in 1980 for co-writing the music to the movie “Fame”.
But enough trivia. I’ll shut up now and let you enjoy one of the best songs of the early 1960s.