Lesley Gore, best known for her song It’s My Party, has died at the age of 68. She reportedly had lung cancer, and was in New York City hospital at the time of her death. Her partner Lois Sasson said that she was a “wonderful human being.” Not only was she a great feminist, but also a great humanitarian and a giving and caring person.
The singer was a young star that did not go the way of many others now. Raised in New Jersey, she was a high school junior when she was signed onto Mercury Records by Quincy Jones. Her first single is her most well-known, and has been used in a number of movies and TV shows, including Casper and Supernatural. The song was later covered by Amy Winehouse on the tribute album for Jones. It made the Billboard Hot 100 in 1963, and led to the release of Judy’s Turn to Cry, which also had more than a million copies sold.
Another of her most well-known tracks was You Don’t Own Me, released in 1964. She helped empower many young girls who had dealt with fickle boyfriends, encouraging them to become independent and love themselves. It was a number two record on the Hot 100, and has since been rerecorded by Joan Jett and Dusty Springfield. Gore believed the song had an “important humanist quality” when she first heard it.
Gore has died at the age of 68, but her legacy still lives on. She became a feminist as she aged, becoming more aware of “our whole awareness.” She started to understand why You Don’t Own Me became a feminist anthem, because there is nothing better than telling someone not to tell people what to do.
Gore did not put her music before her education. When her pop career was at its peak, she was studying English and American literature full-time at Bronxville’s Sarah Lawrence College. She graduated in 1968, and occasionally played in concerts or on TV during vacations and at weekends. She believed it foolish to go into an unpredictable field rather than focus on school.
She made the right decision. During the 1970s and 1980s, psychedelia took over and Gore’s string of hits were a thing of the past. She continued to perform, but she was not as successful as she had been when she started. During the early 1970s, she did pen a number of her own songs, working with Ellen Weston, and released her 1972 album Someplace Else Now.
She penned Out Here on My Own with Michael Gore, her brother, which became the 1980 hit for Irene Cara in Fame. The song was nominated for an Oscar. Since then, a number of her tracks have been played on hit TV shows, including CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and The L Word.
A number of fans and celebrities have taken to social media to share their condolences. A funeral service will be held on February 19, to remember Gore who has died at the age of 68.
By Alexandria Ingham