Lesley Gore

Lesley Gore: It's still her party.
Mike Errico
Lesley Gore: It's still her party.

In the underrated Allison Anders movie Grace of My Heart (in which Ileana Douglas starred as a singer/songwriter loosely based on Carole King), Bridget Fonda has a cameo as a teen-dream 1960s pop singer who's a closeted (duh) lesbian. The song Fonda's character sings in the movie, "My Secret Love," was co-written by Lesley Gore, a '60s pop queen who definitely knows from whence she writes. Between 1964 and 1967, Gore scored several iconic hit singles that beautifully encapsulated teen-gal angst: "It's My Party," "Judy's Turn to Cry," and the demanding-respect anthem "You Don't Own Me" (the latter covered by Joan Jett). Her last major hit was the summer breeze-y, vaguely Beach Boys-like "California Nights," which Gore sung for her guest spot on the Batman TV series in the '60s (Gore played one of Catwoman's henchpeople). Changing times — the self-consciously arty "heaviness" of late-'60s rock — consigned Gore to the oldies circuit. But she never went away and never was "typecast." Gore returned to recording, releasing Ever Since in '05, songs from which could be heard on episodes of CSI and The L Word. You go, Lesley.

 
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