Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Partyobit: Lesley Gore

Lesley Gore, teen pop star, has died.

Gore had the original hit with It's My Party at the age of 16; she was smart enough to know what the music industry was like and decided she'd be better off getting an education, as the Washington Post remembers:

“The record company wasn’t thrilled, my agent wasn’t thrilled — but I sensed very early just how fickle this business is,” she told the Sacramento Bee in 2006. “I had a good brain in my head and I saw it as an opportunity to cloister myself.”
She was wise, in the long run: by the time she graduated, music had moved on and her last hit was in 1967.

She released little since, but continued to play live. After 30 years, she released a new album - 2005's Ever Since - but was shrewd enough to know what people really wanted to hear:
“If I’ve learned anything in this business,” she told the New York Times[...] “how stupid would it be not to do ‘It’s My Party’ when people come to hear it?”
She was one of the ever-changing hosts for PBS's LGBT series In The Life. In 2005, she spoke with After Ellen about her experience of coming out. She didn't realise she was gay during her years at the top of the charts:
AE: Would you say that people knew you were gay back when you were first performing? You were pretty young, about 17, right?
LG: Well, I didn’t know until I was in my twenties, so if they knew it, they knew it before I did. [Laughs] You know, maybe someone did think that. I don’t know, but I certainly didn’t know it until I was in my twenties.
AE: Once you did know, did you have to go to lengths to conceal it in the music industry?
LG: Well, I don’t think I went to lengths. I just kind of lived my life naturally and did what I wanted to do. I didn’t avoid anything, I didn’t put it in anybody’s face. Times were very different then, so, you know, I just tried to live as normally as humanly possible. But as truthfully as humanly possible.
Gore died February 16th of lung cancer; she is survived by Lois Sasson, her partner of 33 years.