LESLIE GORE – ’60s Teenage Voice of Heartache,Feminism-One of First Female Rock Stars

Leslie Gore on Cousin Brucie’s 60’s show , Sirius XM, not long before we left her. One of many qualities of Gore is her ability improvisation. Notice her stylized changes to Maybe I Know and , also, her ‘blues’ singing. Yes, Leslie hits alot of colorful ‘black’notes such as the high ‘-5’ note on othe fade out of ‘It’s My Party.’

Interview with Leslie Gore

Leslie Gore on Mike Douglas Show 1970s

Lesie at Palm Springs Follies 2000s

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leslie gore best of

 Wonderful tribute to mid-60s pop -rock sensation , Leslie Gore who passed last week, from an oldies fan, newsman James Rosen.  Rosen may be  too young to  remember the heyday but who is right  on an interesting critique about an ‘outisder,’ if you will, who  somehow perservered in the midst of the British Invasion and a male-dominated music scene. 

Opinion: In tribute to Lesley Gore, singular chronicler of teenage angst

FEBRUARY 22, 2015    LAST UPDATED: SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2015, 1:21 AM
 

If it is true for us all, as Kurt Vonnegut wrote for himself in 1970, that “high school is closer to the core of the American experience than anything else I can think of,” then the Lesley Gore songbook offered a definitive chronicle of the American experience

TEENAGE life as a crucible of romantic passion and emotional anguish. Parties as theaters of betrayal and jealousy. Rings worn by unworthy others. Boyfriends stolen, infidelities exposed; reputations destroyed, identities concealed.

Such was the tormented portrait of everyday life for affluent white schoolgirls in mid-20th-century America that was sketched in song by Lesley Gore, with the aid of her brilliant (and African-American) producer, Quincy Jones, in the pre-Beatles AM-radio heyday of the early 1960s. If it is true for us all, as Kurt Vonnegut wrote for himself in 1970, that “high school is closer to the core of the American experience than anything else I can think of,” then the Lesley Gore songbook offered a definitive chronicle of the American experience – and the unexpected announcement of Gore’s death last week, from lung cancer at the age of 68, should have occasioned a greater sense of loss, a wider tribute, from the public at large. CONTINUED 

 

 Leslie Gore didn’t write any of her many hits. She was handed songs and lyrics to mouth, which as a ‘good girl’ of an innocent era went along with.  In fact, Leslie , herself , didn’t even know she was gay until later, in her mid twenties, according to a 2011 NPR interview.  Yet she would be able to deal with the conflict and even continue to sing those early songs despite the contradiction with her later-discovered lifestyle.  Though she would later become an advocate for women’s issues,  she did it in a low key way.  She said she preferred things ‘natural’and when confronted by some that she had never ‘come out’ she said she never DIDN’T come out.  By participating in programs like ‘In this Life’  she openly embraced the lesbian /gay lifestyle.  She never thought it necessary to make a big issue of her gayness. She didn’t seem the type to  NOT do it as a career move – her biggest days were already behind her – but she simply ‘lived her life the way I want’ (per the lyrics of ‘You don’t own me’ which was a more low-key, natural existence.
Gore was well-liked by fellow performers, male and female alike. ‘Lightning’ Lou Christie, was a close friend of Gore’s and sang with and recorded a duet with her (see list tribute statement below) and there were many others like Dion, Ronnie Spector, etc (whose comments you can see @ https://www.facebook.com/OldiesCountry) . As noted in Rosen’s article, Gore was a frequent guest of popular DJ ‘Cousin’ Brucie on his Sirius XM oldies show.  Though looking back her life was , no doubt, not always easy , going through formative years ‘miscast,’as it were.  Yet, things worked out, and at least one of those hit songs, ‘You Don’t Own Me’  Gore could later look back at with pride as the lyrics were anything but offensive to her later beliefs. Who knows? Maybe even early in her career she gave voice to help choose that record with latent feelings inside.  Glad she did if she did. But even without the , perhaps, biographical song, Gore should be proud with her career, during which she stayed on the charts as long as the Beatles, with  10  Top 40 hits spanning 1963-1967.tribute from Lou christie
I wouldn’t know that other early hits ‘imprisoned’Gore, as Rosen states. It no doubt was an ironic aspect to Gore’s career, but I think Gore just went along with it, accepting that was the way that was, just like when a singer ‘covers’ a song with lyrics that apply to the opposite gender, i.e. the Beatles singing ‘Boys.’   So what if Rosen missed a point or two.  Sometimes one can only guess what another was feeling.  His was an excellent tribute, again, from someone ‘out of the era’  but probably comes very close to understanding, if not all the way.
 Later, Gore WOULD write some of her own songs, including the interestingly existential ‘Immortality’ on a more personal breakthrough album in the 1970s.  She was working on a memoir at the time of her death, we are told.  Perhaps her long time partner – who better?- can help finish it and we can learn more about this seemingly wonderful singer and person, Leslie Gore, survivor. 
We actually  heard several tributes to Gore besides that of Cousin Brucie, Sirium XM. Wild Wayne of the Memory Machine, WWUH, Connecticut, did a wonderful show Sunday, where he took us, in chronological order, through all Gore’s big hits with stories to along with the songs. Rockin Jim did a short tribute on his Grinder’s Graveyard, normally a rhythm and blues show on KPOO, San Francisco February 16. I had to flip back and forth to catch Cousin Brucie’s tribute, which was on at the same time. Wish we had those recorded and available.  I’m sure there were others, too.  Let us know. There certainly were a lot of tributes, many of which can be seen on our facebook page by scrolloing down around Feb 19 . Let us now if you heard othershttps://www.facebook.com/OldiesCountry
california nights single
Often overlooked, California Nights was Leslie Gore’s last big hit, charting at #16 in 1967 -it was a haunting, Spector-esque compostion by Marvin Hamlisch, who had written her previous hit, a very different ‘Sunshine, Lollipops’ the year before. Sadly, Hamlisch also recently passed at an early age.
With this song, Gore was able to say on the charts thorughout the British Invasion/Beatles era, 1964-1967, an accomplishment not many American artists would match.
See Leslie perform debut the song as Pussycat before her Batman friends
Almost too unsettling to put the news of loss of yet another of our pop/rock and roll and formitive years heros/heroins described by so many as a wonderful, caring and giving person in addition to being a great singer with many songs that See More
I was just thinking back to one of several concerts at which I saw Leslie Gore perform.
Many articles have talked about her personality and lifestyle, but somewhat overlooked has been her great voice and musicality. Add that to great production from a young Quincy Jones and you had some truly fine songs, call it rock and roll or pop. The blend of guitar with horns and rythm was truly magical to a young kid, like myself at the time.  In those later concerts at which I saw Gore perform – like at Circle Star theater in the round, San Carlos, CA probably late 1980s – I was struck how even better Gore sounded live with blaring sax and skip-beat (as I call it) rythms provided by the Monte Carlo band from Los Angeles, as I recall.  Most artists sounded better on their records. As good as her records are, Gore sounded EVEN BETTER in person I would discover. Her recent performances at Cousin Brucie’s Palasades Park Reunion were extroardinary with a great , updated arrangement of ‘It’s My Party.’
Photo: Almost too unsettling to put the news of loss of yet another of our  pop/rock and roll and formitive years heros/heroins described by so many as a wonderful, caring and giving person in addition to being a great singer with many songs that have brought us much joy over the years... We will be paying tribute often in days to come. You no doubt Know by now, we lost the great LESLIE GORE much too young...official photo from http://www.LesieGore.com

LESLIE GORE – ’60s Teenage Voice of Heartache,One of First Female Rock Stars

 

Lesley Gore – The Old Crowd
The most commercially successful solo singer to be identified with the girl group sound, Lesley Gore hit the number one spot with her very first release, “It…
 as catwoman 2
Leslie as ‘Catwoman’ in Batman, late 60s
 aug 28, 1964 survey featuring #17 Mayabe I Know kewb
 Climbing the Charts at KEWB, Oakland, CA, it’s MAYBE I KNOW by Leslie Gore, August 1964

Lesley Gore: the pitch-perfect pop star who gave a voice to teenage girls –GUARDIAN

 

 

 

NBC – Singer-songwriter Lesley Gore, who topped the charts in 1963 at age 16 with her epic song of teenage angst, “It’s My Party,” and followed it up with the hits “Judy’s Turn to Cry,” and the feminist anthem “You Don’t Own Me,” died Monday. She was 68.

 

 

 

boys boys boys album

One of her many albums, this featuring single ‘That’s the Way Boys Are’

 

 

 

leslie gore and the beatles live poster

 

 

 

 

Leslie Gore also played the role of ‘Catwoman’ on the ’60s show ‘Batman’ -L.A. TIMES

 

 

 

girls on the beach move starring role

Can you name the songs that Leslie Gore sang in this 1965 movie, ‘The Girls on the Beach’?

 

 

 

 

A bevy of famous ladies sing along to this 50-year-old classic. Wow. This song is magic.

 

 

 

 

Gore was one of the first to bring feminism to music with ‘You Don’t Own Me’ in the mid 60s, later reinterpreted for reproductive rights

 

 

 

 

 

Leslie Gore passes: ‘She was a wonderful human being – caring, giving, great person, great woman, great feminist…’  

 

 

 

LOU CHRISTIE, a good friend who performed often and even recorded at least one song with Leslie Gore, from a spokesperson:
‘Wanted to tell everyone that Lou lost a VERY GOOD FRIEND !!! Lesley Gore died today at the age 68.!!! R.I.P Leslie will be truly missed.A Great Talent !!!’

Lesley Gore & Lou Christie….Friends Forever..
America’s Sweetheart–Lesley Gore
‘Here is a song I (unnamed person says he) wrote with Lesley that was never recorded.’ A shame. Still think it could be a hit. What a thrill to hear it with a full band.’ It’s an interesting later single that reflects back on a career that wasn’t always so rosy for Leslie when she was known ‘as ‘America’s Sweetheart’ in the mid-60s. 
I’M GOING OUT THE SAME WAY I CAME IN – A good 60s driving song with Spector and Four Seasons overtones and arly feminist lyrics. Hadn’t heard this one before.
california nights single
Often overlooked, Califronia NIghts was Gore’s last big hit, charting at #16 in 1967 -it was a haunting, Spector-esque compostion by Marvin Hamlisch, who had written her previous hit, a very different ‘Sunshine, Lollipops’ the year before. Sadly, Hamlisch also recently passed at an early age.
With this song, Gore was able to say on the charts thorughout the British Invasion/Beatles era, 1964-1967, an accomplishment not many American artists would match.

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LESLIE GORE – ’60s Teenage Voice of Heartache,One of First Female Rock Stars

 

Rachelle Spector – A Reason to Reconsider Phil Spector Case

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Rachelle Spector – A Reason to

Reconsider Phil Spector Case

 


 http://www.jazzwax.com/2013/04/interview-rachelle-spector.html

A new story develops behind the Phil Spector Case and Saga. I thought that when Spector lost his case and was sent to prison for all practical purposes the rest of his life that he was through. In fact, I wondered if a man of his split personality and small and somewhat frail stature could survive in a prison of murderers.  Perhaps Spector HAS a chance – and it may be because of a devoted wife. Laugh if you will… as many have already in the articles we’ve seen.  

 

Interesting story coming out  about Rachelle Spector, the wife of the infamous Phil Spector. She’s been with Spector off and on for about 10 years and has most recently wrote a song for him, ‘P.S. I Love You,’ which she is promoting in what we see in a fairly quiet, tasteful way. Limited interviews and with something to say, in our opinion.  One such recent interview appears here, from Jazzwax.com


   One has to at least have an open mind about what Ms. Spector is doing…basically a one person publicity effort to change public opinion about the man, from that of an abusive, ego-maniacal husband and producer to someone with a charming and softer side if it is allowed to come out.  I personally saw some of this latter side in the rare , movie -interview,Agony and Ecstacy of Phil Spector,which is available thru normal video channels. I suggest skeptics watch this and keep an open mind re Spector. His case resulted in a hung jury first time and then a non -unanimous jury; his is not a simple closed case.   I haven’t seen lawyers or publicists speaking for Rachelle Spector. She seems to be doing it all on her own.  Whatever you think of her, I hope she can maintain her dignity,   composure – and sanity amongst the TMZ’s of the world  and stay clear of papparazi who may want to tarnish her and and Phil Spector’s reputation further. The man’s already in jail, essentially for life; what more do you want from him? 




Yes, I’m a fan of Spector’s music, and , with that, I’ve taken the time to learn about the man, his difficult background and problems he’s had ‘fitting in.’  He’s not the first.  Phil Spector is an interesting character of whom many people have come to appreciate after looking at the whole man. Sure, it’s easy to laugh him off as some  crazed and wigged-out reclusive music producer from another era .  Perfect fodder for an insensitive  media today  that will make life-threatening  fun of people  at the drop of a hat . Bullying can happen to older folks, too.  It’s no wonder we’re  moving more and more to a homogenized society that no longer allows for unique personalities, that can easily make fun of  talented people because they don’t look or act the part that we’re ‘supposed to’.  So much for that caring, ‘transparent’ society they try to tell us we’re living in. No wonder suicide rates are skyrocketing as is violence in America..  Maybe the ‘intolerant ‘ 1950s that allowed for real characters wasn’t all that intolerant  after all. (al be it , in the South).  just ask older folks today who’ve lived through it all and they’ll tell you more and more why they call it ‘the good old days.’






Here’s what would appear a decent woman, Rachelle Spector, who has known Spector well for 10 years. She’s sacrificing the prime of her life to support him . She could certainly find another rich man who could do more for her now than   Phil can do from behind bars.  It was a terrible thing that happened to Lana Clarkson. But to automatically write off Phil Spector as a crazed murderer based largely on past reputation is wrong, triial or no trial. Rachelle Spector has a long, uphill battle.   Many would have walked away years ago but she hasn’t.  At the very least let’s try to appreciate this person who HAS stood by her man through thick and thin. How much longer she can do it must be in question. Without her still in his life, Phil Spector could easily become yet another   victim of not only our out of control prison system but of our increasingly intolerant culture.

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