Music Friday Tribute: ‘Judy’s Wearin’ His Ring’ in Lesley Gore’s 1963 Classic, ‘It’s My Party’

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you classic songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today we honor the legendary Lesley Gore, who, as a 17-year-old in 1963, exploded onto the music scene with her #1 pop hit, “It’s My Party.”

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Gore lost her battle with lung cancer on Monday. She was 68.

“It’s My Party” is the heartbreaking account of a teenage girl being humiliated at her own birthday party. The girl’s boyfriend, Johnny, leaves the party for a while with her rival, Judy, and when they return later, Judy is wearing his ring.

Gore sings, “Oh, Judy and Johnny just walked through that door / Like a queen with her king / Oh what a birthday surprise / Judy’s wearin’ his ring.”

The catchphrase of the song, “It’s my party. I’ll cry if I want to,” was originally credited to the Brill Building writing team of John Gluck, Wally Gold and Herb Weiner. But, later, the line was rightfully attributed to part-time songwriter Seymour Gottlieb, and specifically, his daughter, Judy.

The 67-year old Judy Solash told the Daily News on Wednesday that she was teenager living in Brooklyn when a disagreement over her Sweet 16 guest list sparked an emotional exchange with her dad. Seymour thought it was proper to invite Judy’s grandparents and the birthday girl had other ideas.

Here’s how the song was born, according to Solash: “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.'”

Judy, famously answered, “It’s my party, and I’ll cry if I want to.”

Gottlieb, a restaurant owner and lyricist, passed the catchy phrase to his songwriter friend Weiner, who later composed the song with Gluck and Gold. When the song became a chart-topping hit, Weiner agreed to share his portion of the song’s royalties with Gottlieb.

Gore, who was born Lesley Sue Goldstein, was only 16 when she recorded “It’s My Party” for producer Quincy Jones. She followed this chart-topper with other memorable songs, such as “Judy’s Turn to Cry” and “You Don’t Own Me.”

Please check out the video of Gore’s live version of “It’s My Party.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along.

“It’s My Party”
Written by John Gluck, Wally Gold and Herb Weiner. Performed by Lesley Gore

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

Nobody knows where my Johnny has gone
Judy left the same time
Why was he holding her hand
When he’s supposed to be mine?

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

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

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

Oh, Judy and Johnny just walked through that door
Like a queen with her King
Oh what a birthday surprise
Judy’s wearin’ his ring

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

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

Image: Lesley Gore publicity shot

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