It's My Party

Album: I'll Cry if I Want To (1963)
Charted: 9 1
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  • Gore was 16 when she recorded this song, which led the media to call her "The Teen Queen." She took some voice lessons in New York City and recorded some piano demos with her instructor, which somehow got to Quincy Jones - at the time an up-and-coming producer.

    Jones liked what he heard and decided to record her. In late February 1963, he brought a stack of demo tapes to her house and they spent an afternoon listening to one after another. The only one they both liked was "It's My Party," so they decided to record it.

    Jones booked a standard 3-hour session at Bell Studios in New York City, and had Paul Anka write two more songs for Gore to record. They completed all three at the session on March 30, and Gore went back to ordinary teenage life. Just six days later, "Party" was released as Gore's first single, and she heard it on the radio for the first time. On June 1 the song went to #1, making her teenage life far less ordinary.
  • In the tale of this song, the lead character's birthday party does not turn out to be the happy occasion she thought it would be. In the middle of the party, her boyfriend Johnny departs with a girl named Judy. Since it's her party, she feels she has every right to cry.
  • Gore almost missed out on her party, as after she recorded the song with Quincy Jones, Jones went to an event at Carnegie Hall where he ran into Phil Spector, who told him about a great song he was planning to record with his group The Crystals: "It's My Party."

    Jones didn't mention that he had recorded the song that day, but the following Monday, he picked up the tape from the recording studio and had 100 copies pressed, which he sent to the top 100 radio stations in America. The song was rush-released and quickly climbed the charts. The Crystals never did record the song.
  • This was recorded using 4-track technology, which meant you needed to record a bunch of musicians at once. As Gore remembers it, there were about 15 musicians in the studio with two microphones hung overhead. There were about eight backup singers around another microphone, and she was in the booth. Two of the four tracks were for the band, another for the backup singer, and the fourth for Leslie's vocals. It took them about three hours to do four songs.
  • Gore's second single, "Judy's Turn to Cry," is a sequel to this song which told the story of the lead character forgiving Johnny and reuniting with him. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jerro - New Alexandria, PA
  • This was Gore's first single and only #1. She did have big hits with "She's A Fool" and "You Don't Own Me," but her chart success tapered off in the mid-'60s and her last Top 40 was "California Nights" in 1967.
  • Some Lesley Gore trivia: On the TV series Batman, she played Pussycat, who was Catwoman's version of Robin, but more evil. Also, she came out as a lesbian in 2005.
  • For a huge hit song, this one has some pretty obscure writers. It was composed by John Gluck, Wally Gold and Herb Weiner, who were staff writers at a music agency. The first to record the song was Helen Shapiro, but her version was relegated to an album cut.
  • It seems odd that an esteemed producer like Quincy Jones would play demos tapes for a teenager and get her input on which one to record, but it's what makes Jones such an appealing collaborator - he knew if Gore wasn't onboard with the song, he would have a hard time coaxing a great performance out of her.
  • Gore was driving when she heard this song on the radio for the first time. She had never heard her voice through a car radio before, and didn't recognize it as her. "I said to myself, 'Wow, somebody else has recorded by song," she told Performing Songwriter.

    As she was singing along, Gore realized that it was indeed her song. She drove a quick two blocks to her friend's house, honked for her to come out, and listened to the end of the song with her pal.
  • The lyrical phrase, "It's my party, I'll cry if I want to," has been referenced by a number of singers and rappers. Drake, for instance sings, "It's my birthday, I'll get high if I want to," on his 2011 song "Take Care" and Icona Pop nodded to the track on their single, "My Party." Even The Beatles sung of not wanting to spoil the party.
  • The song was written by freelance song writer Seymour Gottlieb with John Gluck, Wally Gold and Herb Weiner, who were all staff writers employed at the Aaron Schroeder Music firm. Gottlieb's lyrics were based on actual events relating to his daughter Judy's sweet 16 party. Judy recalled to the New York Daily News in 2015. "My parents insisted that my grandparents had to be invited. I of course, being a bratty teenager, said I didn't want them there. I burst into tears, and my father said, 'Don't cry.'"

    She responded by exclaiming: "It's my party, and I'll cry if I want to."
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Comments: 27

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn May 16th 1975, Lesley performed "It's My Party" on the NBC-TV program 'The Midnight Special'*...
    Exactly twelve years earlier on May 16th, 1963 the song was at #26 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; ten days later on May 26th, 1963 it would peak at #1 {for 2 weeks} and it stayed on the chart for 13 weeks {See post below}...
    On the same 'TMS' show she also performed three other songs; "Judy's Turn to Cry" {#3 in 1963}, "You Don't Own Me" {#2 for 3 weeks in 1964}, and "Maybe I Know" {#14 in 1964}...
    Sadly, Ms, Gore, born Lesley Sue Goldstein, passed away just recently on February 16th, 2015 at the age of 68...
    * The show's theme for this episode was a 'retro tribute' to pop acts of the late 1950s and early 1960s.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn December 13th 1981, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin's covered version of "It's My Party" entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #96; and 4 weeks later on January 24th, 1982 it peaked at #72, the following week it stayed at #72 and that was its 8th and final week on the Top 100...
    Across the pond it fared better, for on October 17th, 1981 it reached #1 {for 4 weeks} on the United Kingdom's Singles chart.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn May 30th 1963, Lesley Gore performed "It's My Party" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
    Twenty-nine days earlier on May 1st she first performed the song on 'Bandstand'....
    And on this May 30th appearance on 'Bandstand' the song was at #1 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart...
    (See next post below).
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn May 1st 1963, Lesley Gore performed "It's My Party" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
    Four days later on May 5th, 1963 it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #60; and on May 26th it peaked at #1 (for 2 weeks) and spent 13 weeks on the Top 100 (and for 7 of those 13 weeks it was on the Top 10)...
    After spending 2 weeks at #1 it fell to #2, and stayed there for 3 straight weeks...
    On June 9th, 1963 it also reached #1 (for 3 weeks) on Billboard's R&B Singles chart...
    It was her debut record on the Top 100 and her next three releases all made the Top 10; "Judy's Turn To Cry" (#5), "She's A Fool" (#3), and "You Don't Own Me" (#2 for 3 weeks)...
    The day after this appearance on 'Bandstand' she celebrated her 17th birthday, she was born on May 2nd, 1946, her birth name is Lesley Sue Goldstein.
  • Crystal from Okc, OkI think this song is good. It's catchy. Ironically my moms name is Judy and she went to school with a Guy named Johnny.
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesThe weird thing is, everyone sympathises with and roots for the narrator. But in "It's My Party" it doesn't actually state that say that the narrator and Johnny are, or ever were, a couple. To me it actually comes across that the narrator has fancied Johnny like mad for a long time, but he is in love with Judy, and the narrator is depressed and jealous because Johnny proposes to Judy on the narrator's birthday, after she had secretly hoped that she and Johnny would hook up. The line is "he's supposed to be mine", not "he is mine", and this is her saying I wish he was with me, not her. Personally I always took the song to be about an unrequited crush, rather than a relationship that came to an end because Johnny cheated. Just my opinion
  • Jan from Leuven, Belgium* The first real recording of the record was done by Helen Shapiro in 1963. * Phil Spector wanted to release a single-version by The Crystals but Quincy Jones was aware of this and rush-released the Lesley Gore version. * Richard Anthony not only had a hit with the French version: the Italian version 'La mia Festa' was a number one hit in Italy.
  • Luke from Dayton, Ohshes sayin 'ill cry if i want to' because of the song "Big Girls dont Cry" by The Four Seasons.
  • Mike from Franklin County, PaThis song was used in the movie "Problem Child" ; where Jr. (the problem child) did several tricks at a little girl's birthday party , to pay het back for being snobbish and stingy .
  • Misha from Fresno, Cawow i love the song and i would of killed my boyfriend if he was with another girl if we were still going out. i fell so bad for Lesley it must of been hard to handle. but i love the song. Lesley is my fav. 60's popstar.she inspiers me.
    -Misha Swift
  • Steve Dotstar from Los Angeles, CaHAH..Judy's Turn To Cry was probably done on the same session as this song...and it was an excellent production and song(although not as great as It's My Party)
    I'm sure Quincy was involved....I believe it was Gary Chester on drums ...It's My Party
    is a blockbuster sound! Love it, Mr.Q!
  • Cyberpope from Richmond, CanadaWhile sobbing on the toilet, Leslie Gore answered her mother's concerned inquiry with, "It's my potty & I'll cry if I want to!"
  • Irwin Resnick from New York, NyThis song is not about a teenage party where teens are playing records and having fun. It is a girl who was devastated by her boyfriend, and she is now having a private "PITY PARTY," thinking about all the things that her boyfriend was doing with another girl!

    Most men have never heard about these "private, personal parties" that women have in order to deal with all their emotional hurt!
  • Johnny from Chicago, IlLesley Gore was my first crush. Too bad she is a lesbian. Story of my life, as it were.
  • Chenel from Salamanca, Nyshe should've kicked judy's a**!
  • Anthony from Phila, PaI believe that British pop singer Helen Shapiro did the song first.
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesThanks for that Rob - I have to admit that I've never heard of the other Dave Stewart, I assumed it was the one from the Eurythmics on the 80s cover, as it was the same era when the Eurythmics were making an impact
  • Rob from London, EnglandFurther to note about Dave Stewart - it wasn't Dave Stewart from the Eurythmics. Dave "It's My Party" Stewart was keyboardist with Hatfield Of The North, who Barbara Gaskin was a backing singer for. Gaskin and Stewart still record together.
  • Mark from Lancaster, OhAt the time, there was a good deal of discussion about the fact that 'It's my party' was an excellent song, but that the sequel, 'Judy's turn to cry,' was simply horrible. Nobody knew why, but I wonder if perhaps Quincy Jones was absent for the sequel. We worried a lot about this sort of thing in the early 1960's.
  • Rick from Clare, MiThis, for those who remember the late 50's and early 60's, is one of the great songs that doesn't deal in deep social/political themes, but talks about what's important at the time for a young teenager. Leslie Gore is one of the most underrated performers out there, as well. Her expressive voice and attitude that she carried in her songs are both unmistakable. She wasn't all just teenage fluff, either. (Is there such a thing as teenage fluff, i.e. unimportant teenage feelings? Seems to me that there was a time when I, too, felt that finding a girlfriend was infinitely more important than what was going on in the rest of the world.) Check out "You Don't Own Me" (sung well before the advent of Women's Liberation), and also "California Nights", which contains a line (Oooh, baby..love you baby...ooohhh...bayybbeeee-eeeeeee); if that isn't a musical/lyrical orgasm while making love with your partner, I don't know what is. The tune "Maybe I Know" with, again, female teenage angst as its theme, has great chord and lyrical structure changes and I never get tired of listening to it. All in all, I'll bet the beer money that there were a lot of teenage girls at the time who were thinking "Yeah, she understands me", and I wonder if there still are.
  • Geir T. from UmeÃ¥, SwedenThis song has been turned into both Norwegioan and Swedish songs. The Swedish one, "Leva Livet", is relatively close to the original in what it's about, while the Norwegian one, Vazelina Bilopphoggers' "Spikre Paller" is about someone having been sent to a work camp for driving while drunk.
  • Dennis from Antelope, CaLesley ended up doing some work for the German-American partnership program and sang a little jingle... "Hallo Pardner, Danke Schoen". This was late 1970's when I was stationed there. Very distinctive voice.
  • Keith from Slc, UtThis song lent its name to a "protest" alternative political group in California, the Itsmy Party. Their party motto was "I'll vote if I want to." I kid you not!
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesAlso a No.1 in the 1980s for ex-Eurythmics member Dave Stewart in collaboration with Barbara Gaskin - Dave's biggest hit without Annie Lennox, although he made No.2 in 1990 with "Lily Was Here", a collaboration with Candy Dulfer
  • Gabriel from Trujillo, Venezuela- South AmericaIn 1964 french singer Richard Anthony made a version of this song but with a little different meaning:

    Richard Anthony
    C'est ma fête

    C'est ma fête
    Je fais ce qui me plaÃ?t
    Ce qui me plaÃ?t
    Ce qui me plaÃ?t
    J'ai dÃ?cidÃ?
    Ce soir de m'amuser

    Il y a juste une annÃ?e aujourd'hui
    Que nous nous sommes quittÃ?s
    Je vais passer cette nuit
    A boire et à danser

    C'est ma fête
    Je fais ce qui me plaÃ?t
    Ce qui me plaÃ?t
    Ce qui me plaÃ?t
    J'ai dÃ?cidÃ?
    Ce soir de m'amuser

    Sur le passÃ? j'ai tracÃ? une croix
    J'ai dÃ?chirÃ? tes photos
    J'ai l'intention d'être heureux malgr� toi
    Et cela au plus tôt

    C'est ma fête
    Je fais ce qui me plaÃ?t
    Ce qui me plaÃ?t
    Ce qui me plaÃ?t
    J'ai dÃ?cidÃ?
    Ce soir de m'amuser

    Eh les amis allons-y tous en ch?ur
    Car tout va pour le mieux
    Ne croyez pas que je pleure
    Ou que je sois malheureux

    C'est ma fête
    Je fais ce qui me plaÃ?t
    Ce qui me plaÃ?t
    Ce qui me plaÃ?t
    J'ai dÃ?cidÃ?
    Ce soir de t'oublier

    C'est ma fête
    Je fais ce qui me plaÃ?t
    Ce qui me plaÃ?t
    Ce qui me plaÃ?t
    J'ai dÃ?cidÃ?
    Ce soir de m'amuser

  • Jonnie from St. Louis, MoOne of the most interesting things about this and some of Lesley's follow-ups is that the arranger/producer on most of these early sessions was none other than Quincy Jones !

    Jonnie King,WSSM Radio/St. Louis
  • Annabelle from Eugene, OrI could never stand this song! My Uncle Ian always makes fun of me every year with this song, only because his birthday falls on the same day!
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