Lesley Gore was born Lesley Goldstein in New York City on May 2, 1946. Soon after, her family readopted their original Russian name, Gore. Lesley’s childhood interest in singing led to professional vocal lessons and then a one night job fronting a band led by her cousin, Allen. As it happened, in the audience that night was Irving Green, the president of Mercury Records. Some demos were cut that impressed booking agent Joe Glaser. They also impressed Green enough for him to turn Lesley over to one of his staff producers, Quincy Jones.
Gore and Jones picked through more than 200 songs before deciding on “It’s My Party” as her first to record — on March 30, 1963. One week later, while riding home from school, the 17 year old heard her debut disc on the radio. Mercury had rush-released it after discovering that The Crystals were planning on recording the very same tune.
“It’s My Party,” complete with doubletracked vocals and a catchy, intricate arrangement, became a sensation, hitting #1 that June. It’s storyline — in which Lesley, at her own birthday celebration, discovers that another girl has snatched her boyfriend — was continued in Gore’s next hit, which arrived in July. In that, it was “Judy’s Turn To Cry” when Lesley won back her wandering Johnny. Eight more mostly equally effervescent Top 40 hits followed over the next four years, including “She’s A Fool,” “Maybe I Know,” “Look of Love” and “That’s The Way Boys Are.”
While at Mercury, Lesley was on the Hit Parade a total of 19 times with songs that were all recorded before her 21st birthday.
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