Lesley Gore

"When I first heard that song ('You Don't Own Me') at the age of 16 or 17, feminism wasn't quite a going proposition yet ... what a wonderful thing to be able to stand up on stage and shake your finger at people and sing 'you don't own me.'" -- Lesley Gore
Lesley Gore was a high school girl singing with a college band when she was discovered by Quincy Jones while performing at the Prince George Hotel in Manhattan. Jones brought her into Mercury records to record some tracks. The session went well, but Lesley left not expecting any immediate results. The label learned that The Crystals were planning to release "It's My Party" and hurried the record into production, and a promo was played on rado station WINS in New York. Lesley was shocked to hear her record on the radio. The record was officially released at the end of April and on June 8th was ranked #1 on the Billboard chart, making Lesley Gore at age 17 the third youngest singer to top the charts (behind Brenda Lee and Little Peggy March). Later in 1963, Lesley had a follow-up hit with the sequel, "Judy's Turn To Cry" (#5) and then at the end of the year, "She's A Fool" (#5). In early 1964 she would take "You Don't Own Me" all the way to #2 -- kept out of the top spot by ... you guessed it, The Beatles! Unlike her other "bubblegum" hits, "You Don't Own Me" took on a more serious aspect over the years, becoming somewhat of a feminist anthem, especially after being used in the movie, "First Wives Club" in 1996. That would be the last of Gore's top ten singles, but she would continue to record and eventually write music, including contributions to the soundtrack of the musical, "Fame."
title week debuted highest ranking weeks on chart
It's My Party 5/18/1963 1 11
Judy's Turn to Cry 7/20/1963 5 9
She's a Fool 10/19/1963 5 11
You Don't Own Me 1/11/1964 2 10
That's the Way Boys Are 4/4/1964 12 7
Maybe I Know 8/15/1964 14 6
Sunshine Lollipops & Rainbows 7/17/1965 13 7