It’s My Party by Ester Beniashvili - Illustrated by Ester Beniashvili - Ourboox.com
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It’s My Party

by

Artwork: Ester Beniashvili

  • Joined Dec 2021
  • Published Books 1

“It’s my party” is a pop song recorded by multiple artists since the 1960s. The song was written and composed by Walter Gold, John Gluck Jr., Herb Weiner and Seymour Gottlieb.

It was the first hit single for producer Quincy Jones.

 

The song was a hit single for amateur teen singer Lesley Gore, reaching No. 1 for two weeks on June 1, 1963 on the pop and rhythm and blues charts in the United States.

 

In this e-book, We will try to undrstand what makes “It’s my party” a popular song.

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It’s My Party by Ester Beniashvili - Illustrated by Ester Beniashvili - Ourboox.com

A little bit of a backstory

 

The lyrics of the song were based on actual events relating to Gottlieb’s daughter Judy’s ‘Sweet 16’ party.

 

Judy recalled to the New York Daily News in 2015: “My parents insisted that my grandparents had to be invited. I of course, being a bratty teenager, said I didn’t want them there. I burst into tears, and my father said, ‘Don’t cry’.

She responded by exclaiming: “It’s my party, and I’ll cry if I want to”.

From this line Gottlieb crafted a lyric of teenage innocence lost.

 

 

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It’s My Party by Ester Beniashvili - Illustrated by Ester Beniashvili - Ourboox.com

The first recording of the song was in 1962 by The Chiffons for their One Fine Day album.

 

It was also recorded by Helen Shapiro for her Helen in Nashville album in February 1963.

 

However, Shapiro’s version was not one of the cuts chosen as an advance single from the album and by the time of the album’s release that October the “It’s My Party” track was perceived as a cover of Lesley Gore’s hit.

 

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Lesley Gore was 16 years old when she recorded this song, which led the media to call her “The Teen Queen”.

 

In late February 1963, Quincy Jones brought a stack of demo tapes to her house and they spent an afternoon listening to one after another. The only one they both liked was “It’s My Party,” so they decided to record it.

 

On June 1 the song went to #1, making her teenage life far less ordinary.

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The making of the Song

 

“It’s My Party” is in the key of A major. The song’s effectiveness is enhanced by several musical touches producer Quincy Jones incorporated, including Latin-sounding rhythms, double tracked vocals and effective horn parts.

 

The song was recorded using 4-track technology.

As Gore remembers it, there were about 15 musicians in the studio with two microphones hung overhead. There were about eight backup singers around another microphone, and she was in the booth. Two of the four tracks were for the band, another for the backup singers, and the fourth for Leslie’s vocals.

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The Lyrics

 

In the tale of this song, the lead character’s birthday party does not turn out to be the happy occasion she thought it would be. In the middle of the party, Johnny, the guy she’s interested in, dumps her and departs with a girl named Judy who is “wearing his ring” to indicate she replaced the birthday girl as his love interest. Since it’s her party, she feels she has every right to cry.

 

The song’s chorus, “It’s my party, and I’ll cry if I want to… You would cry too if it happened to you!” 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.

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[Chorus]
It’s my party, and I’ll cry if I want to
Cry if I want to, cry if I want to
You would cry too if it happened to you

[Verse 1]
Nobody knows where my Johnny has gone (Johnny has gone)
But Judy left the same time
Why was he holding her hand
When he’s supposed to be mine?

[Chorus]
It’s my party, and I’ll cry if I want to
Cry if I want to, cry if I want to
You would cry too if it happened to you

[Verse 2]
Play all my records, keep dancing all night (Dancing all night)
But leave me alone for a while
‘Til Johnny’s dancing with me
I’ve got no reason to smile

[Chorus]
It’s my party, and I’ll cry if I want to
Cry if I want to, cry if I want to
You would cry too if it happened to you
[Verse 3]
Judy and Johnny just walked through the door (Walked through the door)
Like a queen with her king
Oh, what a birthday surprise
Judy’s wearin’ his ring

[Chorus]
It’s my party, and I’ll cry if I want to
Cry if I want to, cry if I want to
You would cry too if it happened to you

[Outro]
Oh-oh, it’s my party, and I’ll cry if I want to
Cry if I want to, cry if I want to
You would cry too if it happened to you
It’s my party, and I’ll cry if I want to

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Why is it a popular song?

 

Could be due to a combination of several reasons:

 

Feelings – Anyone can relate to the feeling of being unhappy during what is supposed to be a happy event.

 

Empathy for the character – We were all teenagers once and we are able to connect to the tragedy of unrequited love. We have sympathy for the narrator and to the situation she is in becuase we all been there at least once in our lives.

 

Storytelling – The song talks about what’s important at the time for a young teenager. Many can relate to a time when  finding a lover was infinitely more important than what was going on in the rest of the world. And more than that, to a situation where there is unrequited love.

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Melody – It’s upbeat even though the story is tragic. It’s catchy, repetitive and easily recognizable.

 

Hook – The phrase “It’s my party, and I’ll cry if I want to… You would cry too if it happened to you!” is easily remembered.

 

Singer and voice – Leslie Gore’s expressive voice and attitude that she carried in the song makes you belive she is truly the one with the unrequited love. She has the voice of a teenager who easily tells the plot and feelings of the situation.

 

 

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Other versions

 

In 1963, a Swedish-language version of the song, “Leva livet”, with lyrics by Stikkan Anderson, reached number five in the Swedish hit parade Svensktoppen and became a signature song for the singer, Lill-Babs.

 

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In 1977, Carroll Baker had a number one country hit in Canada with her version of “It’s My Party”.

 

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In 1981, a remake by British artists Dave Stewart and Barbara Gaskin was a UK number-one hit single for four weeks, becoming the first version of the song to reach number one in the UK.

 

 

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In 2015, Melanie Martinez released “Pity Party”. The song integrates lyrics in the chorus from “It’s My Party”.

 

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Why it’s back in 2021?

 

The current viral audio going around on the app Tiktok is a mix of Gore’s original song and Martinez’s version of the lines, but the theme of the use remains the same as the original song intended: Certain behaviors are justified when something terrible happerns even though you are told that the behavior is not okay.

 

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In conclusion

 

In my opinion, “It’s My Party” was and still is a popular song because it has a catchy melody, a hook that is easily remembered and an uncomplicated story that anyone can identify with and understand and even feel sympathy for the narrator in the situation.

 

The weird thing is, everyone sympathises with and roots for the narrator. But in “It’s My Party” it doesn’t actually state that the narrator and Johnny are, or ever were, a couple. The line in the song is “he’s supposed to be mine”, not “he is mine”, Which implies that she wishes he was with her, not with Judy.

 

In the end, “It’s My Party” remains one of the most vivid evocations of teenage heartbreak and that with the pop cultural obsession with the song and its tragic nature makes “It’s My Party” a popular song.

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