Sunday, January 09, 2011

New Year: It's My Party - Helen Shapiro Paris Sisters

Welcome to 2011, and for many, the year went downhill with the ball dropping in Times Square and 5,000 blackbirds dropping in Arkansas. Nine days in, and it's the usual political ineptness, economic catastrophes, and mindless mass-slayings with politicians shrugging off gun control legislation even as one their own was gunned down in Arizona.

Well, as Lesley Gore learned many years ago, any party can turn into a disaster, and if the party is the Republican, Democratic, Tory, Conservative, Labour, or Whig...there's a good chance you'll end up crying.

Gore's 1962 hit about a jilted girl crying at her party, was written by, oddly enough, three guys: John Cluck, Wally Gold and Herb Weiner. Soulful Barbara Jean English cut a demo of it, but demo singers were rarely taken seriously (she would later mount a decent career). The song was handed to British songbird Helen Shapiro, and also to producers Phil Spector and Quincy Jones. Phil had one of his girl-groups record it while Quincy masterfully chose it for unknown teen Lesley Gore and gave it a throbbing pop spin.

Gore's version became a huge hit, because it deserved to be. Many times two or more versions of a song were released at the same time and the better one won. She's never been given enough credit for being one of the perfect voices for teen angst (and the reverse, as heard on the bitter "Don't Make Me Over" and bitch-slapping "Judy's Turn to Cry.")

To say Gore's version is best doesn't imply that other versions aren't valid, and that some will be more appealing to a few listeners. Shapiro's way differs from Gore. And so does the simpering, whispering, hurt take from the Paris Sisters. No matter how it's sung, the message is the the happiest moment, tragedy can strike. Or to quote a line from a song by Andy Bown, "it's just a spiral from contentment to despair." Happy New Year.




Sister Hairy Hymen said...

The Paris sister link is dead and goes to a ad site.

Ill Folks said...

Thanks sis, replaced the corrupted link. Very odd.

Speaking of odd, any out there remember when Howie Mandel told about the kiddie birthday where a kid was found sobbing in the bathroom? The kid explained..."It's my potty and I'll cry if I want to."

A stand-up genius, our Howie.