That Philly Sound Artists
Click to Join That Philly Sound Mail List


It's My Party
Judy's Turn to Cry
You Don't Own Me



a brief history

Lesley Gore was born in New York City in 1946 and was raised in Tenafly, New Jersey. While she was in high school, Quincy Jones discovered her singing in a hotel and signed her to Mercury Records. With Quincy and Mercury Records she recorded the enormous hits IT’S MY PARTY, JUDY’S TURN TO CRY and YOU DON’T OWN ME.


YOU DON’T OWN ME reached #1 on Cashbox and #2 on Billboard, second only to The Beatles. It has appeared on some of the biggest grossing soundtrack albums of all time, including “Dirty Dancing” and “Hairspray”. In 1996, the movie “The First Wives Club” not only featured the song in the movie but made it the theme of the movie. It was recorded by Bette Midler, Diane Keaton and Goldie Hawn. YOU DON'T OWN ME remains the song that defined women’s liberation during the 60s, and it continues to this day to be one of the most recognized and well-loved songs of that era.


John's memories

In 1963, Dave White and I were approached by Mercury Records. They liked our songs and productions and wanted to sign us to find and develop new talent for their record label. They flew us to Chicago where we were introduced to all of the top brass. In the meeting were Quincy Jones, Irving Green, Shelby Singleton, Irwin Steinberg and the whole executive staff from each department.

Dave and I were in awe, to say the least. The talent around the table was enormous. At the end of our meeting, Dave and I played them a new song we had been working on, Dave on piano and me singing the vocals. It was called YOU DON’T OWN ME. They flipped over it. We left that day feeling pretty good!

About a month or so later, Dave and I met Lesley Gore while we were attending the Mercury Records Convention at Grossingers Hotel and Resort in the Catskills. Lesley was getting ready to record a new album with Quincy Jones and was looking for new material. Dave and I played YOU DON’T OWN ME to her. She loved it and brought it to Quincy who, having heard it a month before, agreed to put it in the album. We worked with the arranger on the album, Claus Ogermann.

On the day of the recording, Dave and I walked into the studio. They had already begun rehearsals on the song, but the sound was different than we had envisioned it. We told Quincy and in his ever-generous fashion, he sent us out onto the floor to work with Claus on the song. After it was finished, Quincy asked everyone in the studio that day to write on a piece of paper which song on the album they thought would be a hit. Everyone wrote YOU DON’T OWN ME. That was one of the great moments of my life.


what happened next?

Lesley Gore went on to record over two dozen chart records.  She earned an Oscar nomination for the song, "Out Here On My Own," for the movie, "Fame," cowritten with her brother, Michael Gore.  Many of the songs she has written have been covered by Dusty Springfield, Patti Austin aned Bernadette Peters.  She has acted on television and onstage in musicals and dramas, and continues to work on the concert circuit and as a cabaret star.  Lesley and brother, Michael, are currently working on an updated version of the movie, "Fame."




home | john madara | artists | people & places | shop | links | contact us | sitemap