"It's My Party" Debuted 50 Years Ago
inJune 20, 2013 - 2:38pm
50 Years ago this month, in June 1963, It’s My Party topped the Billboard charts. It really doesn’t matter how old you are, young and old alike, everyone knows at least some of the words. The phrase “It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to” has passed out of the realm of mere lyrics and has become a part of pop culture forever.
The teenaged angst expressed in the song was very fitting for the songstress responsible for the single, Miss Lesley Gore, who was only 16 at the time she recorded the song. She and producer Quincy Jones had sifted through hundreds of demos and it was the only song that they both agreed might work for her first single. But they weren’t the only ones interested in the song. When Jones heard that the more well-known Crystals had also recorded a soon-to-be-released version of the song, he quickly produced 100 copies of Gore’s version and sent them out to radio stations across the country. His move proved to be fortuitous, and in a matter of weeks, the song reached #1. Teenagers across America empathized with the birthday girl who was devastated when arch rival Judy waltzes into her party wearing her beloved Johnny’s ring.
The success of the song and America’s obsession with it caused Jones and Gore to rush into releasing a full debut album with, not surprisingly, a crying theme. It included the sequel song It’s Judy’s Turn to Cry, which made it to #5 later that summer along with the sobbing classics Cry, Cry Me a River, Cry and You Cry Alone, No More Tears Left to Cry, Misty and perhaps most fitting of all, The Party’s Over!
Party was the first number one single for producer Quincy Jones who would go on to win 79 Grammy Award nominations, 27 Grammys, and finally a Grammy Legend Award in 1991. Along with an illustrious music career of performing, writing movie scores and arranging music, he produced albums for the some of the music world’s greats including Frank Sinatra and Michael Jackson.
Miss Gore continually made new albums into the 70s and went back into the studio in 2005 for Ever Since, her first album of new recordings since 1976. She still has an active career and you can find her on her website, Facebook and Twitter. But for most of us, we will always associate her and her voice with It’s My Party. After all, we all know how she felt and “you would cry too if it happened to you.”
Ben Brown of Sienna’s Sandbox