It's My Party: The Mercury Anthology

Lesley Gore

Polygram, 1996

REVIEW BY: David Bowling


Lesley Gore was a typical high school student during the early ‘60s, until she walked into a recording studio with producer Quincy Jones and cut the single “It’s My Party,” which subsequently topped the American pop charts during March of 1963. Before the year was finished, she produced three more top five singles, which would make her a very unique teenager indeed.

Today, Lesley Gore is best remembered for her series of single releases issued between 1963 and 1967. She had All-American looks and appeal and was a female teen idol in her day. She appeared on such TV shows as my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 The Ed Sullivan Show, American Bandstand, The Tonight Show, Hullabaloo, and Shindig. While her career never hit the same commercial peaks she hit during the ‘60s, she has continued to tour regularly and has issued four studio albums since 1972, including 2005’s Ever Since.

The best introduction to her music is It’s My Party: The Mercury Anthology. The 52 tracks, contained on two discs, span her career with the Mercury label. It contains all of her single releases for the label, including the seventeen that reached the charts, plus the B-sides and a few album tracks.

Much of her material was from a much simpler time and these songs reflect that fact. “It’s My Party” and the follow-up “Judy’s Turn To Cry” dealt with teen angst. “Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows,” “California Nights,” “Summer and Sandy,” and “My Town, My Guy, and Me” were all catchy pop tunes which were perfect radio fare. “She’s A Fool” was a rare release with bite as it was an early pro-feminist commentary.

Gore’s final material for the label was recorded during 1969 and was an attempt to adapt to the changing music industry. “98.6/Lazy Day” and her last single “Wedding Bell Blues,” which became a huge hit for The Fifth Dimension, failed to chart, and she ultimately moved on to other labels and projects.

I saw Lesley Gore in concert sometime during the early ‘80s. It was one of those oldies packages, and I remember Lou Christie and Rick Nelson were also on the bill. I’m sure that performance thirty years ago is similar to what would be presented by her today.

Lesley Gore may not have issued any material that changed music history, but her songs were well-crafted and still enable the aging baby boom generation to return to a simpler time and remember. Sometimes, that is legacy enough.

Rating: B+

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