In 1963, a Sixteen year old named Lesley Gore had to top single; "It's my Party." It was a fantastic song, describing a girl who sees her boyfriend dancing with another girl at her very own party.
As she was the right age, in the right setting, many felt her songs were 'autobiographical'. Not just for her, but for other girls of her generation. She tapped into the reality of a teenager in early 1960s America.
At that time, pre Vietnam, pre Women's Liberation, pre all images that the '60s' provoke, girls were very much in the 1950s mode. Caring about fashion, hair style, boy friends, and being virgins when they married.
In those days, being sixteen and having a boyfriend was in pre-engagement mode. Girls would 'go steady' at 16; (meaning they dated no one else) get engaged at 18, and be married by 20.
This pattern, very close to that in arranged marriages, was the world Lesley Gore and her fans grew up in, so that singing "It's my Party" or "Judy's Turn to Cry" or "You Don't Own Me", weren't just lyrics, they were statements to her geneation.
Despite being a music star, Lesley continued her education. She graduated High School and went to Sarah Lawrence College, and graduated.
She slipped out of the spotlight on and off for about ten years, then resurfaced with a new album. Her fame was not repeated for those she had spoken to no longer existed.
The Girls who would have cried at their parties were now anti-war protesters more interested in issues and their own lives than marriage. Virginity was no longer of the same value.
Lesley stopped peforming and became a song writer. She was very successful, doing the score for 'Fame' (the movie).
Some people speculate that her first prolonged absence was due to her education. This seemed correct as she was in college.
Others believe that her subsequent disappearances was due to her sexual orientation. She came out publically in 2004 and hosted a television show on the topic.
She died of lung cancer on February 16, 2015 at NYU Hospital in New York City. She was sixty eight years old.
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