Here's to crying when you want to. The AP reports that Lesley Gore died of cancer today at NYU Langone Medical Center at the age of 68, leaving behind her long-term partner Lois Sasson.
Gore's career was long, varied and productive. She was 16 when she recorded her best-known song, 1963's "It's My Party," an important paean to the female prerogative to be a brat, particularly when someone—looking at you, Johnny—is doing you dirty in the public sphere. Gore followed it up with "You Don't Own Me," also produced by Quincy Jones, a chune that contains many words to live by:
You don't own me, I'm not just one of your many toys/ You don't own me, don't say I can't go with other boys/ And don't tell me what to do/ And don't tell me what to say/ And please, when I go out with you/ Don't put me on display
Cause you don't own me, don't try to change me in any way/ You don't own me, don't tie me down 'cause I'd never stay/ Oh, I don't tell you what to say/ I don't tell you what to do/ So just let me be myself/ That's all I ask of you
I'm young and I love to be young/ I'm free and I love to be free/ To live my life the way I want/ To say and do whatever I please
She'd go on to attend college at Sarah Lawrence, majoring in literature; she would also continue to put out pop music as well as write songs for film, including the Oscar-nominated "Out Here On My Own" for Fame. Gore performed her own music up until recent years, and hosted episodes of the LGBT-centric PBS series "In the Life." Here's the song that started it all:
Thanks for the melodies, Lesley Gore.
Image of Gore at 18 via AP.