Tuesday, February 17, 2015

More Love For Lesley

I first met Lesley GORE in 1970.  My Philadelphia band, WAX, was signed to BOB CREWE's CGC label (a divison of Atlantic).  We went to NYC and in BOB's all white plush office ... where he literally sat on a pedestal ... we met Lesley during our conversation with Bob Crewe.  Bob, of course, was her producer. 

Incidentally. WAX produced some amazing music business people.
Drummer RICK CHERTOFF went on to 5 Grammy Nomations as a producer ... for Cyndi Lauper, Sophie B. Hawkins, Joan Osborne ... and he also worked with Billy Joel, Mick Jagger and others
Keyboardist ROB HYMAN founded the successful Philadelphia band THE HOOTERS, and co-wrote TIME AFTER TIME for Cyndi Lauper.
Manager JOHN KALODNER became one of the most legendary A&R men in Columbia / Sony history, involved with the signings of Foreigner, Aerosmith, Cher and more.
Guitarist ... ME ... Rick Levy ... went on to manage and /or lead bands for Peter Noone, TOMMY ROE
(*Current) Jay & the Techniques, Bo Diddley, the Tokens, Freddie Cannon and many more.
More on WAX at www.meltedwaxmusic.com
(Picture left to right:  David Kagan, Rob Hyman, Rick Chertoff, Beau Jones (1946-2010) Rick Levy)

Sad news about Lesley Gore.
She had a string of great singles.

Notice that AP ignored my favorite, California Nights (what other choice does this Brian Wilson / Beach Boys fan have?). Her most ignored, unappreciated single, IMHO. Phil  
Ah, but we more than made up for it ... by not only featuring the track but also running a couple of photos of Lesley in her Pussycat costume where she worked side-by-side with Catwoman on the incredible "Batman" television series!  (kk) 

What a damn shame.  Lesley Gore was awesome!  Been listening to "Leave Me Alone" and "It's Gotta Be You" from "Boys, Boys, Boys" / the film "The Girls On The Beach".  Her songs were empowering for everyone, not just women.  A true talent who will outshine all the current pop twats who try to ascend her throne.  Hate being at this age (50 April 7th), losing the performers who really mattered.  Bye bye, Lesley ...
Ed Pond   

I saw that on the National news ... so sad. She was so pretty and I loved her voice. 
Thank you to Frannie for "California Nights" being her favorite ... I had completely forgotten about that song. R.I.P. Lesley. 
Yet another legitimate Top 20 Hit that radio has chosen to forget.  It just missed The Top Ten, peaking at #11 in Cash Box Magazine in the Spring of 1967.  (kk)  

Oh, no. That's too young ... just six years older than I am!
One of my friends gave me the 45 of "Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows" for my 13th birthday in 1965, and on the B-side was "Wonder Boy," about a girl who wishes the class nerd would notice her. Well, I was the class nerd. Were any of the girls in my class secretly singing that song about me? Probably not. (If they were, none of them ever admitted it.)
Still, it's a good song, and they even did a Scopitone of it:
What a voice that woman had!
--Jeff "Extra Brains" Duntemann K7JPD
   Colorado Springs, Colorado

And then, before I could even answer ...

My bad: "Wonder Boy" was the B-side of "Maybe I Know."
Cripes, that was 50 years ago, and I can barely remember where I put my car keys when I got home this afternoon. Jeff 

You are correct ... "Wonder Boy" was the flipside of "Maybe I Know", another GREAT Lesley Gore signle from 1964.  I believe it charted as a "tag-along B-Side" in several parts of the country. 
The B-Side to "Sunshine, Lollipops And Rainbows" is a tune called "You've Come Back" and is another one of Lesley's performances that I rank right up there with "You Don't Own Me".  I absolutely believe this could have been a Top Ten Hit all on its own had it not been stuck on the flipside of Lesley's latest single.  Give a listen to both tracks here and see what you think  (kk):

When mentioning Lesley Gore's numerous hit records let's not forget songs like MY TOWN MY GUY AND ME, THAT'S THE WAY BOYS ARE, and CALIFORNIA NIGHTS.
Tal Hartsfeld
All Top 40 Hits ... Lesley had 13 in all between 1963 and 1967 ... "It's My Party" (#1, 1963); "Judy's Turn To Cry" (#4, 1963); "She's A Fool" (#3, 1963); "You Don't Own Me" (#2, 1963); "That's The Way Boys Are" (#12, 1964); "I Don't Wanna Be A Loser" (#37, 1964); "Maybe I Know" (#10, 1964); "Hey Now" (#40, 1964); "Look Of Love" (#20, 1964); "Sunshine, Lollipops And Rainbows" (#13, 1965); "My Town, My Guy And Me" (#32, 1965); "Young Love" (#40, 1966); and "California Nights" (#11, 1967) ... not a bad track record for a young lady who launched her pop career with a #1 Record at the ripe old age of 17!!!  (kk)   

So sorry Lesley Gore is gone!  I wish you'd spotlight a couple of her seldom-heard charting records, the Greenwich / Barry "Look of Love" and the almost-never heard song from 1967, "Brink of Disaster."  Lesley at her best!
Henry McNulty
Cheshire, Conn.
Actually we featured "Look Of Love" on Monday as part of our Flashback Surveys pieces ... literally hours before the word came that she had passed away.  So  many great hits ... everybody's got their favorites whether they be obscure b-sides, movie soundtrack tunes or others.  But when you talk about the "unusual", I've gotta believe Lesley's take on the AC/DC hit "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" certainly fits the bill!!!  (kk)    

Hi Kent - 
So sad to hear of Lesley Gore's passing. I will never forget the concert I saw with her and Lou Christie in Wheeling, IL.  She sounded great and still could hit those notes! 
I enjoyed all her songs with "You Don't Own Me" my favorite.   She is now in Rock and Roll Heaven with all the other Greats. 
I always wanted to see those two together ... man, what a line-up!  One of those I had hoped Ron might bring to The Arcada ... but now never to be.  So sad.  (kk)  

Speaking of Lou Christie, FH Reader Shelley Sweet-Tufano sent us this posting from Lou's Facebook Page:   

This is truly the last thing I would want to do, to say goodbye to someone whom I have admired my whole career.  Lesley Gore and I met in 1963 when we both had our first hit record.  Lesley was a protected new star who seemed way above it all until you had some time alone with her. She was fun, smart and talented with a sense of humor that was her secret glory.  Her taste in music surpassed any teen angel that was on the charts at the time. Raised on jazz, show tunes and standards ... Lesley could sing them all and did.  The smokey timber of her unforgettable sound was hers and hers alone. I loved her independence, loved singing with her, loved every hit record she had ... especially "The Look Of Love".
Be at Peace
Your friend,
Lou Christie

FH Reader / Photographer Tom Apahty sent in a few shots of Lesley Gore performing at Lock 3 in Akron, Ohio, back in 2007.  Thanks, Tom!!!  (kk)

Please share the following message with your Forgotten Hits readers. 
Dear Everyone, 
It is Monday, February 16, 2015, and my heart is breaking as I type this message. A few hours ago came the shocking news of the passing of beloved pop singer Lesley Gore.
I interviewed Lesley exactly five months ago -- September 16, 2014 -- for my tribute show called "Bob Crewe: The Master And The Music."
On the Home Page of the Jersey Girls Sing website I've put up a mini-tribute to Lesley.
Clicking on the link below will bring you to our Home Page.
You will hear a 14-second sound bite from our interview. Lesley thanks me and talks about her career: in those brief seconds she speaks volumes.  
It is followed immediately by one of her big hit singles. 
As I listen to this I find it so unbelievable that she would leave us exactly five months to the day following our conversation. 
Ronnie Allen    

Sad News: 60's pop sensation LESLEY GORE has passed away at the age of 68! 
PIC:  LESLEY visited with Philadelphia's first R&R star, CHARLIE GRACIE (2012) after their performance at the Mohegan Sun Resort / Casino in Connecticut.
CHARLIE remembers LESLEY as: "warm and highly professional and committed to her craft. She was always a great little artist and will be sorely missed. I'm happy we had the chance to work together on a few occasions. God Rest and Keep Her Soul."


Vintage Vinyl News ran a series of comments from several of Lesley's friends and contemporaries ... along with a list published by Billboard Magazine ranking Lesley's All-Time Top Ten Hits ...   

Lesley Gore touched a lot of lives, whether it be through the teen angst of It's My Party or the empowerment of You Don't Own Me. All of that admiration is coming out this afternoon as discussions of "Lesley Gore" have reached number 2 on the Twitter Trending chart in the U.S. and discussions of You Don't Own Me has been as high as number 7.  

A number of her friends and colleagues also have written their thoughts on Twitter and Facebook:

Neil Sedaka:  I am saddened to hear about the loss of my friend Lesley Gore. I fondly remember attending her Sweet Sixteen party in New Jersey. She was a great person and a phenomenal talent, who had opened for me on many occasions. She recorded a few of my songs ("Magic Colors" and "Summer Symphony") and was a great songwriter in her own right. I'm glad I had the chance of knowing her.  

Ronnie Spector:  I am shocked to hear of Lesley Gore's passing.  We knew each other for 52 years. The first time we met, 1963 at the Brooklyn Fox Theatre.  Lesley was the one artist from the early 60's that I regularly would bump into at an event or out on the road. We were together 3 months ago at the Alzheimer's Association fundraiser at the Waldorf. She came to my 'Beyond the Beehive' show when it was in NYC, and that meant the world to me. Of course it is nice when someone you came up with in the business is complimentary, but it was special cause Lesley was so ahead of her time. You Don't Own Me was such a heavy song, she really made it into an anthem, more than what it was when it was a hit in the 60's. But that was Lesley. A few years back we did a co-bill together. She sat down at the piano and played this touching song, just her voice and piano. She was an artist. She had a joyful sound, a ton of hits, so much a part of the 1960's, but Lesley was so much more than that. I am going to miss her terribly. My thoughts and prayers are with her family.  

Brian Wilson:  I’m sad to hear about Lesley Gore passing away. She sang sweetly and her songs bring back great memories. Love and Mercy, Brian.  

Jill Sobule: I will miss you so much Lesley Gore.  She was so kind, unpretentious, smart as a whip, universally beloved and...could sing. #lesleygore I am blessed to have been your friend.  

Darlene Love:  Sad to hear that Lesley Gore passed away today. :(  

Reba McEntire:  Lesley Gore passed today. Loved her!!! #RIP.  

Kansas:  RIP Lesley Gore. "It's My Party" was written by Wally Gold who played a not so small part in the history of KANSAS.  

Kate Taylor:  Rest in Peace l'il Miss Leslie Gore.   Thank you for all the great tunes. It's your party and you can do what ever you want.  

Howie Mandel:  R I P Leslie gore. A big part of my career

Billboard has also published their list of the top ten singles by Leslie Gore:
  1. It's My Party (1963)
  2. You Don't Own Me (1964)
  3. She's a Fool (1963)
  4. Judy's Turn to Cry (1963)
  5. California Nights (1967)
  6. That's the Way Boys Are (1964)
  7. Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows (1965)
  8. Maybe I Know (1964)
  9. Look of Love (1965)
  10. My Town, My Guy and Me (1965)