The song's chorus, "It's my party, and I'll cry if I want to", became a part of American pop cultural language as a phrase used to describe being utterly humiliated and miserable during an event that is supposed to be a happy occasion.
In March 1963, Phil Spector went to the music publishing firm owned by friend Aaron Schroeder. The staff included Wally Gold, co-writer of Elvis Presley's then biggest hit ever, "It's Now or Never". Spector knew that firm was reliable for good songs, so he visited often.
That day, Phil heard a demo of a song that Wally had written with John Gluck and Herb Weiner: "It’s My Party". Phil Spector wanted to record it, which excited Shroeder.
What they didn't know what that someone else had already chosen the song for her first record: 16-year old Lesley Gore.
In February, a month before, Quincy Jones, who had discovered her and became her producer, and would later produce albums for Michael Jackson, brought her the song, among 200 to 300 other demos to Lesley’s family home in Tenafly, New Jersey. They both agreed on "It’s My Party", and it was recorded by the end of March 1963.
Gore's label found out that Spector was also recording "It’s My Party" by coincidence. Quincy Jones was in Paris, France, and ran into Phil Spector, who, not knowing that Jones had recorded the song, told Jones about his recording of "It’s My Party"
Because of that, Lesley's version was rush-released, and became a hit. Spector's unfinished masterpiece was never released, and Phil never came to Shroeder's publishing firm again.
The song was featured in the 1990 film Problem Child.
Chart position: #1 (US), #1 (US R&B), #9 (UK).
It was #1 for two weeks in June 1963. It was preceded at #1 by "If You Wanna Be Happy" (Jimmy Soul) and succeeded by "Sukiyaki" (Kyu Sakamoto).
It stayed at #1 on the R&B charts for three weeks. It was preceded at #1 on the R&B charts by "Another Saturday Night" (Same Cooke) and was succeeded by "Hello Stranger" (Barbara Lewis).
The Top Ten Songs: July 8, 1963 (US Billboard Hot 100).
- "It's My Party" (Lesley Gore)
- "Sukiyaki" (Kyu Sakamoto)
- "Da Doo Ron Ron" (Crystals)
- "I Love You Because" (Al Martino)
- "You Can't Sit Down" (Dovells)
- "Two Faces Have I" (Lou Christie)
- "If You Wanna Be Happy" (Jimmy Soul)
- "Still" (Bill Anderson)
- "Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer" (Nat King Cole)
- "Surfin' U.S.A." (Beach Boys)
Written by: Wally Gold, John Gluck and Herb Weiner.
Also by: Dave Stewart and Barbara Gaskin, whose version was a UK number one hit single for four weeks in 1981; Bryan Ferry; the Chiffons; the Paris Sisters; Brenda Lee.
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