Monday, February 16, 2015

Lesley Gore Left Us a Perfect Song

A quick google search and all the headlines are the same: "It's My Party" singer, Lesley Gore, Dead." It's sad when anyone dies and although I wouldn't say I was a huge fan or anything, this headline is sad for a whole other reason.

Batman and Robin, Lesley Gore, Pussycat
Holy empowerment!
"It's My Party" may well be her biggest hit and it's fine for a teeny bopper song of the era. I can't really find anything wrong with it, necessarily. It's a fun ode to teenage drama and I love that. It's almost proto-goth if you squint. But no, there's a much better, more important and always relevant song I would choose. A song that set the standard, in my mind at least, for badass, empowered Rock chics to this day. Fuck it, just listen, it's god damned perfect in every single way.

I get chills thinking how awesome it must have been for teenage girls to see one of their own (she was only 17 when this came out) declare in no uncertain terms that she is not anybody's damn property. This was 1963, so we're not talking poodle skirt 50s here, but make no mistake, the 60s was not all about sudden rebellion and everyone jumping on board with female voices, even at the height of the civil rights movement. At least that's how Brian Williams and I remember it. No, this was a big deal. I mean compare this to "It's My Party," a typical story about a girl crying about a boy. I imagine thousands of girls were singing this in their rooms, imitating Lesley's low and authoritative whisper that grows into an soaring and almost menacing triumph. Menacing to the status quo, at least.

Of course, the song's been covered by many. Dusty Springfield and Joan Jett come to mind. Hell if I were a singer, I'd cover it. It applies to everyone. It's one of those songs I secretly wish my daughters would one day perform when they form a band and do everything I wish I could have done. Oh, secret's out I guess. Only if they want to, though, I don't own them. Here's one cover I just found today from Poli├ža, a band I already kind of liked, but suddenly like a whole lot more. Great stuff.

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