Lesley Gore, the singer famed for theÂ ’60s hit singlesÂ “It’s My Party” and “It’s Judy’s Turn to Cry,” is still performing, and comes to the the Dakota Jazz Club and Restaurant for four shows Sunday, Jan. 10 and Monday, Jan. 11. The shows are 7 and 9:30 p.m. both nights.
The teenage Gore (neé Lesley Goldstein, from Tenafly, New Jersey) rocketed to fame in 1963, with “It’s My Party,” which was produced by newcomer Quincy Jones, and got a crash course in the perfidious music business. As she told the Cleveland Jewish News last year, her records back then earned millions for her record company, promoters and agents; but all she got was a paltry $17,000.
“I had to wait 25 years before I got another dime for my hit songs, and I only was able to collect the money owed me because I had a good lawyer,” she told the newspaper. “Although my parents were supportive, they did not understand the record business, and no one, including my agent at the time, was looking out for my best interest.”
As Gore told the Cleveland Jewish News, the popularity of her confessional songs prompted many fans to write letters expressing their personal problems and struggles with dysfunctional families. It was a bit much for the high school student to absorb.
In 2005, Gore became an item in the press again when she came out as a lesbian. In an interview with AfterEllen.com, she discussed being with a partner for the past 23 years, hosting the PBS series In the Life, and how her travels around the country prompted her decision to come out.
“I meet a lot of young people in the Midwest,” Gore told AfterEllen, “and I saw what a difference a show likeÂ In the Life can make to their lives in some of these small towns where, you know, there are probably two gay people in the whole damn town. It’s made a real inroads for them. They come and they talk to me about this stuff, so I know how important it is.”
Gore has released a number of albums as a singer-songwriter, after her first encounter with pop stardom. On the 2005 releaseÂ Ever Since (Engine Company), she recorded a moody version of “You Don’t Own Me,” which hit No. 2 on the pop charts in 1963 (the original of the feminist declaration is a track on the album Lesley Gore Sings of Mixed-Up Hearts).
Apparently, Gore still sings her old hits in performances these days. — Mordecai Specktor
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