#11: Look Of Love by Lesley Gore

City: Edmonton, AB
Radio Station: CJCA
Peak Month: February 1965
Peak Position in Edmonton: #3
Peak position in Vancouver ~ #14
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #27
YouTube: “Look Of Love
Lyrics: “Look Of Love

Lesley Sue Goldstein was born in 1946 in Brooklyn, New York City. She was raised in Tenafly, New Jersey, and attended the Dwight School for Girls. Lesley Gore recalls that in February 1963, “It’s My Party” was among some two hundred demos producer Quincy Jones brought to review with her in the den of her family home. On hearing the song, Gore told Jones: “That’s not half bad. I like it. Good melody. Let’s put it on the maybe pile.” The song proved to be the only demo Gore and Jones found agreeable. She recorded “It’s My Party” with Quincy Jones on March 30, 1963, while she was still a Junior (Grade 11) in high school. The singer was in tears because her boyfriend Johnny left with her best friend Judy. The song was released in early April 1963. It reached number-one on June 1, 1963, remaining for a second week on both the Billboard Hot 100 and Cashbox Top 100 Singles chart. In Canada it peaked at #1 in Vancouver, Hamilton (ON), Toronto and Montreal. While on May 30, 1963, Leslie Gore was a guest on American Bandstand.

Gore’s followup hit was a sequel to the storyline in “It’s My Party”. The crying teen girl gets her revenge when Johnny comes back in “Judy’s Turn To Cry”. The single shot to #1 in Vancouver and Hamilton (ON). It was a #5 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in the USA. Her third consecutive Top Ten hit was “She’s A Fool”, in the fall of ’63. The lyrics of the song tell of a romantic triangle. The singer is upset that the boy she likes is being treated poorly by his current girlfriend. In Canada the single peaked at #1 in Chilliwack (BC), and Winnipeg (MB), #2 in Hamilton (ON), Saskatoon (SK), and Montreal, and #3 in Vancouver (BC) and Ottawa. While on October 13, 1963, Leslie Gore made her first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. Her vocals on “It’s My Party” and “She’s A Fool” were live, not lip-synched.

Leslie Gore continued her string of Top 5 hits with “You Don’t Own Me”, released in late 1963. The song was shocking in 1963 for its anti-patriarchal stance, showing the power of one woman to deny the wishes of a man. Since then, the song has been hailed as an early feminist anthem. The song expresses emancipation, as the singer tells a lover that he does not own her, that he cannot tell her what to do or what to say, and that he is not to put her on display. The single stalled behind the Beatles’ “I Want To Hold Your Hand”. It peaked in Canada at #2 in Vancouver (BC), Hamilton (ON), and #3 in Edmonton.

In 1964, “It’s My Party” was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock & Roll Recording. She lost to April Stevens and Nino Tempo and their recording of “Deep Purple”.

But Gore’s next release was a throwback to female passivity. “That’s the Way Boys Are” backed off from the “proto-feminist manifesto” of “You Don’t Own Me” to a message of “When he treats me rough, and he acts as though he doesn’t really care. Well, I never tell him that he is so unfair.” Moreover, she takes it on the chin: “When I’m with my guy, and he watches all the pretty girls go by, and I feel so hurt deep inside, I wish that I could die…” The song was her first to miss the Top Ten, stalling at #12 on the Billboard Hot 100. Though in Hamilton (ON) the song reached #5. Perhaps the female record buyers of “You Don’t Own Me” sensed something was amiss with “That’s The Way Boys Are”.

She managed only one other Top 20 hit in 1964 with “Maybe I Know”. Again, Gore was now singing breezily, “maybe I know that he’s been a-cheatin’, maybe I know that he’s been untrue. But what can I do?” It seemed this was just “the way boys are.” The single stalled at #14 on the Billboard Hot 100. But it in Canada it cracked the Top Ten in Hamilton (ON), Winnipeg (MB), Montreal, Ottawa, Windsor (ON), Revelstoke (BC), Lethbridge (AB), and Halifax (NS).

A single that was passed over in 1964 was “Sometimes I Wish I Was A Boy” from her Girl Talk album. In the song she listed some of the cultural norms in the mid-sixties that she felt gave females a raw deal:

I’ve been standing by the jukebox, hoping he’d ask me to dance.
How I wish I could run to him and hug him, but a girl musn’t make an advance.

Oh he’s dancing with another, and he’s holding her so tight.
Wish I had nerve to cut right in and stop it, but a girl has to be polite.

…Sometimes, yes sometimes I wish I were a boy.

In December 1964, Mercury Records released “Look Of Love”.

Look Of Love by Lesley Gore
“Look Of Love” was written by Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry.

Jeff Barry was born Joel Adelberg in 1938, in Brooklyn. Raised in a Jewish family, Adelberg attended Erasmus Hall High School in New York City where he met Neil Diamond and Barbara Streisand. During high school, Adelberg was part of a vocal group with other three schoolmates, Scott Gilman, Freddy Barnet and Johnny Devereau. It was named The Tarrytones. However, they never recorded a record and disbanded after their graduation. After high school Adelberg served in the U.S. Army for a year stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky, while singing with military bands. When he signed a contract to write and record with RCA, Adelberg changed his name to Jeff Barry. “Jeff” was inspired by actor Jeff Chandler (also born to a Jewish family and whose birth name was Ira Grossel). Barry recorded “Hip Couple”, a minor hit in Allentown (PA) in 1959. Jeff Barry’s writing credits include the 1960 Top Ten hit for Ray Peterson titled “Tell Laura I Love Her”.

In 1961, Jeff Barry wrote “Shake Shake Sherry”. There were versions released by the Flairs and by the Redwoods. Both the Flairs and the Redwoods were actually Jeff Barry who sang all the vocals on “Shake Shake Sherry”, and layered the vocal tracks so that he sounded like a group. And both singles were released on the Epic label. And both recordings were identical: Jeff Barry = The Flairs = The Redwoods. The single was a number-one hit in Vancouver (BC).

In 1963 Jeff Barry was the bass vocal along with his spouse, Ellie Greenwich, to form the Raindrops. As a duo, they were the only ones on the recordings of “What A Guy” and “The Kind Of Boy You Can’t Forget” in 1963, and some minor hits in 1964. Ellie’s younger sister Laura joined them on stage for live performances. In 1964, Barry and Greenwich co-founded Red Bird Records. In 1965 the Raindrops recorded “Hanky Panky”, which was successfully covered by Tommy James & The Shondells in 1966. In 1965, Barry recorded “I’ll Still Love You”, a minor regional hit in Detroit.

Meanwhile, Barry had success writing a hit for Helen Shapiro in the UK, called “Tell Me What He Said”. He began to team up with Ellie Greenwich and their professional relationship led to romance and they were married on October 28, 1962. They teamed up with Phil Spector and wrote songs for The Crystals (“Da Doo Ron Ron”, “Then He Kissed Me”), The Ronettes (“Be My Baby”, “Baby I Love You”) and The Chiffons (“I Have A Boyfriend”).  They went off as a duo to write songs for The Dixie Cups (“Chapel of Love”), The Jellybeans (“I Want to Love Him so Bad”), The Shangri-Las (“Leader of the Pack”), Leslie Gore (“Maybe I Know”), Manfred Mann (“Doo-Wah-Diddy”), Hanky Panky (“Tommy James & The Shondells”), Neil Diamond (“Girl You’ll Be a Woman Soon”; “Cherry, Cherry”; “Red Red Wine”; and “Thank the Lord for the Night Time”), The Beach Boys (“I Can Hear Music”) Ike and Tina Turner (“River Deep- Mountain High”). Barry produced The Monkees  singles”I’m a Believer” and “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You”, both written by Neil Diamond.

Later Barry, having divorced Greenwich, co-wrote with Andy Kim a song for The Archies called “Sugar, Sugar”, that became a smash hit in 1969.

In 1970, Barry cowrote with Robin McNamara a song called “Lay a Little Lovin’ On Me”, which climbed into the Top Ten. Into the mid-seventies Barry cowrote “I Honestly Love You” for Olivia Newton-John. It became a number-one hit. Barry also co-wrote “Montego Bay”, a hit for Bobby Blum and later Amazulu in the 1980’s.

Barry was also sought after to create theme songs for TV shows and into the next few decades he wrote the theme songs for over a dozen TV shows. These included Murphy Brown, Will and Grace, Ally McBeal, Miami Vice, St. Elsewhere, Benny Hill, Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, Cheers and Roseanne.

Eleanor Louise Greenwich was born in 1940 in Brooklyn, New York. Though her father was Roman Catholic and her mother was Jewish, Greenwich was not raised in either religion. Her family moved to Levitttown, New York, and at the age of nine she began to listen to music by the Four Lads, Teresa Brewer and Johnnie Ray. “When I was 14, I met [song arranger and bandleader] Archie Bleyer who liked my songs but told me continue my education before trying to invade the songwriting jungle.” She recorded a song at age 17 titled “Cha-Cha-Charming” and “Silly Isn’t It”. This led to her decision to make songwriting her profession. She met Jeff Barry, and the pair began to write songs together. In 1962 they were married.

Barry and Greenwich teamed up with Phil Spector to co-write “Da Doo Ron Ron” and “Then He Kissed Me” for the Crystals, and “Chapel of Love” for the Dixie Cups. Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich co-wrote “Do Wah Diddy Diddy”, “Maybe I Know” (Leslie Gore), “Hanky Panky” (Tommy James and the Shondells), “Leader of the Pack” (Shangri-Las) and “I Can Hear Music” (Beach Boys).

In record industry magazines, Billboard said of “Look Of Love” that the song was “in the vein of [Gore’s] early hits,” and predicted that it “will he a fast chart climber.” While Cashbox described “Look Of Love” as “a most attractive multi-voiced reading of a hand-clappin’ jump’er that’s sure to make the teeners’ sit up and take notice real quick.”

As the song was climbing the pop charts, Leslie Gore sang “Look Of Love” live on The Ed Sullivan Show on January 31, 1965. “Look Of Love” is a song about signals that someone is in love. But the song is sung from the point-of-view of an ex-girlfriend. The “ex” is inspecting her ex-boyfriends’ adoration of his new girlfriend. It seems the ex-girlfriend is prying a bit too close: “Here I am all by myself. I’m watching him with someone else. I’ll bet he doesn’t even know I’m here. Wish I could hold back my tears. Look at the way he kisses her, look at him hold her tight.” So what is the setting for this observation? Is the ex-girlfriend peaking through a window into the ex-boyfriend’s home (living room, bedroom)? Is she hiding in a closet in his home? Or is she hiding in the shadows at a high school dance? Or making herself scarce at a weekend party, where she holds back her tears, while taking a bit too much interest in “the way he kisses her?”

It might have been apparent to some radio listeners that the ex-girlfriend wasn’t going to get “over” her ex-boyfriend by taking such a keen interest in his romantic moves toward his new girlfriend. Still, the lyrical drama was offset by the upbeat major key in which the song was sung.

“Look Of Love” peaked at #2 in Davenport, IA, #3 in Edmonton, AB, #4 in Babylon, NY, #6 in Duluth, MN, #7 in Flint, MI, and Gainesville, FL, #8 in Battle Creek, MI, Newport News, VA, Calgary, and Boise, ID, and #9 in Toledo, OH, Corvallis, OR, Wilkes-Barre, PA, Winnipeg, MB, and San Francisco.

Leslie Gore was back in the Top Ten in 1965 in Toronto, Winnipeg (MB) and Calgary (AB) with “Sunshine, Lollipops And Rainbows”. The song was featured in the 1965 movie Ski Party, in which Gore appeared alongside James Brown, Frankie Avalon, and the Hondells. “Sunshine, Lollipops And Rainbows” stalled at #13 on the national charts in the USA.

Look Of Love by Lesley Gore

Poster for 1965 movie, Ski Party 

That same year, Leslie Gore appeared in The Girls on the Beach, alongside the Beach Boys and the Crickets. On March 19, 1966, Leslie Gore performed a couple of songs on The Donna Reed Show, including “It’s My Party”.

In 1966, Leslie Gore recorded a cover of the 1957 Sonny James hit “Young Love”. It stalled at #50 on the Billboard Hot 100, but made the Top Ten in St. John’s (NFLD). That year Gore was offered a song titled “A Groovy Kind Of Love”. But Smash Records wouldn’t let her record a song with the word “groovy” in it. Instead, it was offered next the to Mindbenders and became a #2 hit.

Gore performed on two consecutive episodes of the Batman television series  – January 19 and 25, 1967 – in which she guest-starred as Pussycat, one of Catwoman’s minions. In the January 19 episode “That Darn Catwoman”, she lip-synched to the Bob Crewe-produced “California Nights”, and in the January 25 episode “Scat! Darn Catwoman”, she lip-synched to “Maybe Now”. In 1967, Leslie Gore had her last notable charting hit with “California Nights”. It peaked at #16 on the Billboard Hot 100, and made the Top Ten in Winnipeg (MB) and Narnia (ON). On January 31, 1968, Leslie Gore was a mystery guest on What’s My Line?

Her last Top 40 release on any chart was a medley in 1969 of the tune by Keith titled “98.6” together with the Spanky & Our Gang song “Lazy Day”. It climbed to #36 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. Over her career, Leslie Gore appeared on Hullabaloo, Shindig!, The Lloyd Thaxton Show, Hollywood-A-Go-Go, Merv Griffin Show, The Joey Bishop Show, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, The Rolf Harris Show, The David Frost Show, The Dick Cavett Show, Dinah!, and many more.

She appeared in Smokey Joe’s Cafe on Broadway in the mid 1990s. In 1998, Leslie Gore appeared in an episode of Murphy Brown.  The plot concerned Frank recreating American Bandstand for Murphy’s 50th birthday, with the guests Dick Clark, Fabian, Lesley Gore, Chubby Checker, and Sally Field. In 2002 she had two appearances on Hollywood Squares.

In 2015, Leslie Gore died at the age of 68 after battling lung cancer. She was survived by her partner of 33 years, Lois Sasson. In an interview years before she died, Gore said that she never hid her sexual orientation but was careful not to “put it in anybody’s face.” “Times were very different then, so, you know, I just tried to live as normally as humanly possible. But as truthfully as humanly possible. There were was very little acceptance of gay people. I think the record industry, by and large what’s left of it, is still totally homophobic.”

Lesley Gore, It’s My Party singer, dies aged 68,” BBC, February 17, 2015.
Leslie Gore, “It’s My Party” and “She’s A Fool”The Ed Sullivan Show, October 13, 1963.
Leslie Gore, “The Look Of Love“, The Ed Sullivan Show, January 31, 1965.
Leslie Gore, “Cry Me A River/Hey Jude“, The Ed Sullivan Show, April 26, 1970.
Dave Tipmore, “It’s My Comeback and I’ll Try if I Want To,” Village Voice, April 14, 1975.
Leslie Gore, “Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows,” The Mike Douglas Show, August 4, 1965 (from 8:25).
Paul Zollo,”Around the Bramble Patch: Jeff Barry,” Americansongwriter, August 2020.
Bruce Weber, “Ellie Greenwich, Pop Song Writer, Dies at 68,” New York Times, August 26, 2009.

Look Of Love by Lesley Gore
CJCA 930-AM, Edmonton (AB) Top Ten | February 14, 1965

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