Monday, February 16, 2015

Lesley Gore: 1946-2015



One of my favorite record dealers is a guy named Louie. Louie looks 60, but might be 80. His forte is doo-wop, and just about any rock and roll from the 50's and early 60's. It's good to look at his $3 records because if it isn't The Dubs or The Earls or one of the many "fives," like the Keys, Satins and Royales, it's going in the $3 box.

When I look, Louie sidles up to me and whispers in that "hand on the side of your mouth" kind of way, "For you, anything is a dollar." Louie's a character and last month at a record show, I found 5 Lesley Gore records, originals, in mono, in great shape. A buck a piece in Louie's $3 box.

I'm an honest record dealer...really I am... and I wanted to ask why these records were only a buck, but Louie was distracted. Some guy was looking at a Dion record for what seemed to be hours, inspecting every groove, flipping it over, moving from one type of light to another and pawing the record like he was making a pizza. Louie kept his eye on him. Finally, the guy said, "Can you do any better? There are fingerprints all over this." Louie barked, "YEAH. THEY'RE YOURS!'

When I thought the time was right, I finally asked. Louie replied, "I can't sell Lesley Gore. Maybe you can." I happily took the records and the next day, had a Lesley Gore marathon.

It's something, how one song can define you. "It's My Party" was that song and sadly, too many probably think that Lesley Gore was a one-hit wonder.

She wasn't.

I decided, a day later, to list those LPs on eBay. No one bit. Not for weeks. I relisted and relisted.

They sold today.

I hate when that happens.

My business partner and I hated it so much when we had the store, that we would read the Times obituary and if we felt particularly snarky, would shout at the first customer who walked through the door, "Sorry! All out of Pauline Kael CDs!"

That was then.

Go buy some Lesley Gore records. They are terrific!

Here's my fave.








18 comments:

Lesley said...

My brother loved her. He wasn't at all interested in that era or style, but I think the camp elelment in it and her being gay made her irresistible. Don't know if he knew anything about her. She sounds like such an interesting woman. R.I.P. Lesley Gore, now into the light...

elizabeth said...

Thanks, Sal, once again, your comments are beautifully to the point and as always you have the story-behind-the-story

Squints said...

"You Don't Own Me" was the one by her for me for a long time. I can't believe it wasn't until 1994 that I heard "Maybe I Know." THAT is a great, great record. RIP.

Kind of frightening how much the younger Gillian Anderson resembles Lesley.

cmealha said...

A lot of great stuff that has gone under appreciated.

cmealha said...

She looks more like Debbie Calabro

Dave said...

"Maybe I Know" is one of my favorite Lesley Gore songs. Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry provided some of her best songs (including "Look of Love," probably my favorite. Ellie Greenwich's version of "Maybe I Know" on her solo album, "Let It Be Written, Let It Be Sung," is superb, too.

I think Quincy Jones's work with her is some of the best pop stuff he is ever done. The tracks on her early album are kinetic (love the handclaps on most of her , and notwithstanding "It's My Party" and "Judy's Turn To Cry," often lyrically interesting.
Listen to the beautiful melody and highly unusual lyrics of "The Old Crowd" -- written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1JMk-YEhwvI

Dave F

buzzbabyjesus said...

"You Don't Own Me".
-nuff said

kevinpat said...

Lesley and I had a connection. We both loved the songs of Van McCoy. Lesley recorded a few that were relegated to album cuts. "Happiness is Just Around the Corner", "Before and After", "It's About that Time Again" and the lovely "You've Come Back", which she also sang in French "Te Viola". It was a perfect match. Simple elegance. Ms. Gore sang in this plaintive but lovely voice. No runs. No histrionics. Just to the point. It was her party and she could cry if she wanted to. But it didn't need to. She kept you with her anyway. Her contribution to the Grace of the Heart story and soundtrack is also memorable. Godspeed, Ms. Gore. VERY NICE tribute Sal!! Thank you!!!!

dogbreath said...

Back in my younger, more hirsute days while deafening myself to NWOBHM bands like Motorhead, Iron Maiden & their ilk, Lesley Gore was a guilty pleasure after "It's my party" was a UK hit for Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin. I "discovered" her original (and best) version as well as some of the other songs mentioned in the comments. Very nice tribute, Mr N.

Shriner said...

Really? Nobody is extolling the wonder that is "California Nights"?

Far and away my favorite Lesley Gore song. Better than "Maybe I Know" or "She's A Fool"

And not just because it was on Batman, either:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1dndOceK2M

Shriner said...

Whoops wrong clip:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XoNF-fzYMw

That's the full performance from Batman. As awesome today as it was when I saw it when I was twelve...

Marie said...

Sal,
I was hoping your tribute to Lesley would include my favourite song by her . . . and it did!

I hate to be mean-spirited, but I used to work in a vintage record store here in Toronto that specialized in 45s and it used to make me crazy when sad-os would troop in looking for songs by somebody who'd passed the day before. Same thing, the 45s had been sitting in the bin for months (sometimes years), with nary a glance.

steve simels said...

My fave of hers too, Sal.

Bruce Kelly said...

Hey, that's great writing!

Beside "It's My Party" the only other one I really know is the sequel song "Judy's Turn To Cry" in which Lesley (spoiler alert) kisses some other guy which gets her ex Johnny (the one Judy stole away) to punch the other guy and show his love for Lesley. First time I heard this I nearly died in delight.

William Repsher said...

Worth tracking down her mid-2000's comeback album, Ever Since -- I was keen on the track, "We Went So High," a piano ballad you wouldn't picture her doing, but she did it very well.

ralph11 said...

'You don't own me' is such a classic, awesome song. It sent shivers up my then teenage spine. And, wonder of wonders, it still does.
Ralph11

Anonymous said...

Her best by far, I think....

John

william.brown2 said...

This is her greatest cut:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aa2VqvbyBa8