(Book). 1963 tail fins were in, sock hops were hot, and a fairytale white knight was president. That summer, sixteen year-old singer Lesley Gore released her debut single, "It's My Party," propelling her to Number One on the charts. For the next several years, the crowned Princess of Pop dominated the radio with a string of hits including "Judy's Turn to Cry," "She's A Fool," "Sunshine, Lollipops & Rainbows," and the rousing anthem for independence, "You Don't Own Me," making her the most successful and influential solo female artist of the 60s. But beneath the bubblegum facade was a girl squirming against social and professional pressures to simply be herself and to forge a future where she could write and perform music beyond the trappings of teenage angst and love triangles. Assembled over five years of research and interviews, this is the first and long overdue biography of Lesley Gore, one of pop music's pioneering Mothers, which chronicles her meteoric rise to fame, her devastating fall from popularity and struggle for relevance in the 1970s, and her reemergence as a powerful songwriter, political activist, and camp icon. The biography includes behind-the-scenes stories about the making of her hit records, debunks or clarifies popular myths about her career, and places her remarkable life and times within a historical context to reveal how her music was both impacted by, and contributed to, each decade of her astounding fifty-year career.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I've been a Lesley Gore fan since 1963. I mean fan club, purchased every available release from It's My Party to Pull Your Pants Up and was glad to see this finally happening. If you're a fan this book is not for you. It's mostly a rehash of decades old interviews by other writers, analysis of the song lyrics and an overall lack of appreciation for Lesley's hits and her fans. While he did interview Lesley's mother it's just poorly focused. I wanted to know about her life from day one to the end. There are dozens of good stories I've heard over the years about her hit years and those are all missing. Tolliver wasn't born until 1970 so he has no clue what life was like when she hit in 1963. There are several factual errors in the prologue that made me worry. By the time I finished I was totally deflated. He would have you believing she hated the hits and she started the feminist movement with You Don't Own Me which, according to Lesley, was never about any cause when that was recorded and released. That all came many years later. Her life didn't revolve around her sexuality but Tolliver made it seem so. Frankly, the fact she was a lesbian never mattered to me as a fan. I saw her (and worked with her) many times over the years and he completely missed the essence of her life. My advice, don't waste your money. Lesley was working on an autobiography at the time of her death. I'd love to see that completed by someone who knows how to write a biography that captures the spirit of the subject. Until then, keep waiting. This isn't the book you want.