On It’s My Party Day, October 11, go ahead, cry if you want to! This is the day for enjoying everything that goes into a Sweet 16 party, savoring the memory of a high school crush, wanting to be a teen pop star, and finding out what you never knew about the life and career of Lesley Gore. She followed her dream, developed her talent, and died with almost nothing in her bank account.
History of It's My Party Day
The party in the song was actually a Sweet 16 party, and it wasn’t Lesley Gore’s. When songwriter Seymour Gottlieb told his daughter, Judy, that she had to invite her grandparents to her party, she had a fit. More accurately, she cried. When Gottlieb told her, “Don’t cry,” she came back with, “It’s my party, and I’ll cry if I want to!”
Her retort inspired Gottlieb to sit down and write the lyrics to a song, which he sent to his writing partner, who sent them to a composer. The song became a treacly threnody about a girl who sees her boyfriend leave her party with another girl, instead of about having her grandparents hanging out with her friends.
It was the Chiffons who first recorded “It’s My Party.” Helen Shapiro also recorded it, but her version wasn’t released before Gore’s.
As kids, Lesley and her younger brother, Michael, entertained guests at their parents’ parties by belting out Rodgers and Hart and Gershwin tunes at the piano. By 15, Lesley knew she wanted to be a professional singer and talked her parents into getting a vocal coach. When her mother protested that she didn’t want to have to drive from Tenafly, New Jersey, into Manhattan once a week, the coach arranged to pick up his protégé at the George Washington Bridge.
Lesley cut some demos, and through her cousin, they reached Quincy Jones, a young producer at Mercury Records. She recorded ‘It’s My Party’ on March 30, 1963. That night, Jones ran into legendary producer Phil Spector at Carnegie Hall, and when he learned that Spector planned to record the song with the Crystals, Jones left the concert, pressed 100 copies, and sent them out to radio stations the next day.
Lesley Gore’s record reached #1 in about a month.
It's My Party Day timeline
Six-month-old Lesley Gore can hum all the songs she hears.
Pop star Lesley gets a check for about $16,000 from Mercury Records — her total compensation from then until 1989.
Lesley's brother wins the Academy Award for Best Original Song for the theme song from "Fame," which is nominated against "Out Here On My Own," from the same film, which they wrote together.
Lesley realizes her lifelong ambition to sing on Broadway when she stars in ‘Smokey Joe's Café.’
It's My Party Day FAQs
How much was Lesley Gore worth when she died in 2015?
Although she hit it big when she was just 16, became a successful singer and songwriter, hosted a PBS show, was nominated for an Oscar, and starred on Broadway, she left this world with just $50,000. She made it known that from 1963 to 1989, she received only one check from Mercury Records — the first one, for about $16,000.
Besides "It's My Party," what are some other songs that start with the chorus?
Among many other hit tunes that open with the chorus are “Build Me Up Buttercup,” by The Foundations; “Can’t Buy Me Love,” by The Beatles; “Only Love Can Break a Heart,” by Gene Pitney; and “What the World Needs Now is Love,” by Jackie DeShannon. And, of course, there’s “Judy’s Turn to Cry,” Lesley Gore’s sequel song, in which that party-poacher Judy gets what’s coming to her.
How did It's My Party Day originate?
No one is sure who came up with the idea, when it happened, or why, but we can be sure somebody had Lesley Gore’s song on the brain. Of course, the song is just the impetus to party, and it doesn’t even have to be anybody’s birthday to start planning ahead for the event or just go by the seat of your pants right now.
How to Celebrate National It's My Party Day
Have a party
All you need is friends, food and age-appropriate beverages. And music! A good start would be Lesley Gore's ‘It's My Party,’ followed by her other hits, ‘Judy's Turn to Cry,’ and the defiant ‘You Don't Own Me.’
Crank up the Karaoke
Karaoke is online now! Use your phone to download an app, and turn it into a karaoke machine. Get a party pass for two days of unlimited access to a catalog of thousands of songs.
Make a list of all the famous parties you can think of. For example, the Communist Party, the Know-Nothing Party, and the Donner party.
5 Facts About Crying That Will Blow Your Mind
Tears are chemically different
There is scientific evidence that emotional tears have more protein than tears shed when chopping an onion.
Tears come from the heart
For centuries, people believed that when emotions ran high, tears originated in the heart, which generated water vapor to cool itself off, then rose into the head, where condensation occurred in the eyes and produced tears.
Tears come from glands
In 1662, Niels Stensen, a Danish scientist, discovered that tears come from the lacrimal gland in each eye.
Tears come from flying monkeys
The world's foremost expert on crying, Dutch professor Ad Vingerhoets, recounts numerous theories about why we weep, including an idea in the 1960s that because humans evolved from aquatic apes, we developed tears to help us survive in saltwater.
Tears and blood are wet
An unsubstantiated theory from a biochemist in 1985 said that crying was the body's way of removing toxic substances that build up in the blood when we're stressed.
Why We Love National It's My Party Day
Everybody loves a party
Somewhere about four years of age, we all catch on to the tradition of celebrating birthdays with parties that stretches our greedy imaginations into our futures. It's a tradition that originated with the Egyptians, who marked the anniversary of the day the pharaoh was transmogrified into a god upon taking the throne.
‘It's My Party’ straddles music ages
Lesley Gore's hit song came to be in the waning days of what we remember as Elvis Presley's rock 'n' roll age. It rocketed up the charts just ahead of the British invasion, which ushered in the music of The Beatles, whose innovations would change the sound of popular music forever and transcend teendom.
We love nostalgia
Sure, we should live in the present, but a walk down memory lane turns out to be good for you, emotionally and physically. For example, nostalgia literally makes you feel warmer in cold temperatures; makes you more optimistic; counteracts memory loss; makes you feel you belong and makes you feel younger.
It's My Party Day dates