Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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It’s My Party

First recorded by Helen Shapiro (February 1963).
Also recorded by The Crystals (unreleased 1963), The Paris Sisters (1966).
Hit version by Lesley Gore (US #1/R&B #1 March 1963).

From the wiki: “The first recording of the song was by Helen Shapiro for her Helen in Nashville album recorded in February 1963 with Shapiro’s regular producer Norrie Paramor, and Al Kasha. Shapiro would recall: ‘Right from the first time we heard the song on the rough demo back in London, we thought we were going to sock them between the eyes with that one’; however Shapiro’s version was not one of the cuts chosen as an advance single from the album … so, by the time of the album’s release in the UK that October (and the album’s first single, ‘Woe is Me’, in the US in May 1963), Shapiro’s ‘It’s My Party’ recording was perceived as a cover of Lesley Gore’s hit single even though Shapiro’s version was the first recorded.

“Lesley Gore recalls that ‘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 in February 1963. On hearing ‘It’s My Party’ 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. With Jones producing and Claus Ogerman handling arranging and conducting duties, Gore recorded ‘It’s My Party’ at Bell Sound Studios in Manhattan on 30 March 1963.

“In March 1963 Phil Spector also heard the publisher’s demo of ‘It’s My Party’ while visiting Aaron Schroeder’s office. Co-writer Wally Gold would recall: ‘He [Spector] said, ‘Great, I love it. I’m gonna do it with the Crystals.’ We [the song’s writers] were really excited, because that would ensure that the record was #1!’

“Jones and Spector both happened to attend a concert with Charles Aznavour at Carnegie Hall on the evening of 30 March 1963 and when they met outside it came up in conversation between them that Spector had recorded a version of ‘It’s My Party’ with the Crystals. Jones skipped the concert, instead spending that night — a Saturday — at Bell Sound Studios making a test pressing of the track comprising one hundred copies.

“Over the next two days Jones mailed these out to radio programmers in key markets across the US. Gore heard her record played on the radio for the first time the following Friday; the official release of ‘It’s My Party’ came later in April with the disc quickly ascending to #1 nationally in four weeks.

“In 1966, producer (and former Spector arranger) Jack Nitzsche recorded The Paris Sisters (‘I Love How You Love Me’) performing a slow-tempo version of ‘It’s My Party’. It was released as the B-side to the single ‘My Good Friend’, the lead single off the group’s final official album, Sing Everything Under the Sun!!!.”

The Crystals, “It’s My Party” (1963):

[unavailable]

Lesley Gore, “It’s My Party” (1963):

The Paris Sisters, “It’s My Party” (1966):

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