Monday, February 16th, the world lost legendary recording artists Lesley Gore to lung cancer. She passed away in Manhattan at 68 years old. A sunny and soulful talent discovered at only 16, Lesley was the voice of numerous hits throughout her career including “It’s My Party” and “You Don’t Own Me”. Not only was she an original teen sensation, with radio hits that pre-dated Beetlemania, but she was an advocate for feminism and gay rights as an adult.
Quincy Jones, who originally signed Lesley to Mercury Records issued the following statement: “I am heartbroken at the news today of the passing of Lesley Gore. I discovered Lesley, almost on a dare, in 1963 when she was 16 years old and I was Vice President of Mercury Records and we would go on to make 16 hit songs together including ‘It’s My Party,’ ‘Judy’s Turn to Cry,’ ‘You Don’t Own Me,’ and ‘Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows.’ Lesley was an incredibly soulful singer/songwriter even at that young and that was why the world embraced her songs the way it did. It is important to remember that at one point, the only group that surpassed her in the pop charts was The Beatles. It was a privilege to have been a part of Lesley’s life personally and professionally from those early days until now, and although I will miss her deeply, her essence will remain with us always through her music.”