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Music / Lesley Gore

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"You don't own me
I'm not just one of your many toys
You don't own me
Don't say I can't go with other boys

And don't tell me what to do
Don't tell me what to say
And please, when I go out with you
Don't put me on display"
— "You Don't Own Me"

Lesley Sue Goldstein (May 2, 1946 – February 16, 2015), known professionally as Lesley Gore, was an American singer, songwriter, and actress. In 1963, at the age of 16, she recorded the pop hit "It's My Party" (a US number one), and followed it up with other hits including "Judy's Turn to Cry", "She's a Fool", "You Don't Own Me", "Maybe I Know" and "California Nights".

Gore also worked as an actress, making an appearance on The '60s TV series Batman, and composed songs for the soundtrack of the 1980 film Fame, for which she received an Academy Award nomination for "Out Here on My Own", written with her brother Michael.

In 2005, Gore came out as a lesbian. It was later revealed that, although she had stayed closeted to the general public, she was out to practically everyone in the music business during her career.

She died of lung cancer on February 16, 2015 at the age of 68.


  • I'll Cry If I Want To (1963)
  • Lesley Gore Sings of Mixed-Up Hearts (1963)
  • Boys, Boys, Boys (1964)
  • Girl Talk (1964)
  • My Town, My Guy & Me (1965)
  • Lesley Gore Sings All About Love (1966)
  • California Nights (1967)
  • Someplace Else Now (1972)
  • Love Me By Name (1975)
  • The Canvas Can Do Miracles (1982)
  • Ever Since (2005)

Sunshine, lollipops and tropes:

  • Concert Film: She was one of the biggest stars in the 1964 all-star concert film T.A.M.I. Show.
  • Crying at Your Birthday Party:
    • "It's My Party (And I'll Cry If I Want To)" is about the singer getting dumped by her boyfriend Johnny for another girl in her birthday and Johnny arriving to the party with said other girl, driving the singer into a Heroic BSoD as she sees them enjoy themselves.
    • A sequel song (appropriately-named "Judy's Turn to Cry") has the singer realize how silly it is for her to react that badly, kissing another boy at the party - who Johnny promptly punches, reuniting with her while dumping Judy.
  • Female Empowerment Song: "You Don't Own Me", to the point that it's often cited as a factor in the second wave of feminism, and most appearances of the song in media treat it as such. It's about how her lover doesn't own her thoughts or body.
  • Girl Next Door: Her image in The '60s was as a wholesome girl.
  • Green-Eyed Epiphany: "Judy's Turn to Cry" (the sequel to "It's My Party") has the singer get Johnny back this way. She kisses another guy and it makes Johnny realize that he still wants to be with her.
  • Ironic Birthday: In "It's My Party", the singer loses her boyfriend Johnny to Judy, who shows up at the birthday party wearing his engagement ring.
  • Operation: Jealousy: How the singer gets back with Johnny in "Judy's Turn to Cry". She kisses someone else at a party, and Johnny socks him.
  • Transatlantic Equivalent: Is often considered an American equivalent of the UK's Sandie Shaw and vice versa, as both were 60s Girl Next Door singers.

In media:

  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs features "Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows" playing when Flint first makes its rain food over Shallow Falls.
  • In Eddsworld, Tord has a particular hatred for "Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows".
  • At the end of The First Wives Club, the three "first wives" — Bette Midler, Diane Keaton and Goldie Hawn — break into singing "You Don't Own Me" in triumph over their selfish ex-husbands.
  • The title of the 2007 Slasher Movie It's My Party and I'll Die If I Want To is clearly based on "It's My Party" and its refrain, "It's my party and I'll cry if I want to..."
  • Gore appears as a character in an episode of The Playboy Club played by Colbie Caillat, singing her hit, "It's My Party".
  • In The Simpsons episode "Marge on the Lam" in which Marge and her feminist neighbor go on a rebellious spree down the highway in a stolen Ford Thunderbird (in an obvious Thelma & Louise parody), the neighbor goes to put in a tape of what she believes is "Welcome to the Jungle" by Guns N' Roses, but mistakenly puts on "Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows" instead. (Made doubly funny later on when Chief Wiggum and Homer make the same mistake, but end up enjoying the Lesley Gore song)
  • A cover of "You Don't Own Me" by Australian singer Grace (later known as Saygrace) featuring G-Eazy, produced by Quincy Jones (who also produced Gore's original recording) and released as Grace's debut single in March 2015, one month after Gore's death, was used in the third trailer for Suicide Squad. Considering that Gore herself had appeared in another DC Comics property (the '60s Batman TV series) one could consider it as things coming full circle.
  • "Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows" also appeared in a scene of episode 9 of The Umbrella Academy, when Hazel was having a scuffle with Cha-Cha to save Agnes.