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Songs and their sequels

Sometimes in music, a song inspires a sequel.

There have been occasions where it was less a sequel than an answer song, like when Jody Miller recorded “Queen of the House” as an answer song to Roger Miller’s “King of the Road.”

I have often thought of a trio of songs from the same artists, released in the same year, which kind of go together. The second one was designed as a sequel to the first, but I’ve always thought of the third song as being a sequel to the sequel.

The singer was Lesley Gore, the year was 1963, and the song was her first single, one most people have heard of – “It’s My Party”.

The theme is simple: She’s having a birthday party and starts wondering where her boyfriend Johnny has disappeared to. Her question is answered when Johnny comes back to the party with Judy, and she is wearing his ring.

So that means Johnny isn’t Lesley’s boyfriend anymore, and can anyone blame her when she says, “It’s my party, and I’ll cry if I want to”.

The song took a whole four weeks to make it to the top of the charts, which meant a second song was needed – NOW.

John Gluck, Wally Gold and Herb Weiner had the writing credits for “It’s My Party”, but it was Beverly Ross and Edna Lewis who wrote “Judy’s Turn to Cry”. (No, it’s no coincidence both songs involved crying.)

“Judy’s Turn to Cry” involves Johnny changing his mind (again) and coming back to Lesley. (More on that later.)

“Judy’s Turn to Cry” made it to Number five on the Billboard charts, another hit, and it has been noted that because the songs are actually stylistically and musically different, radio stations frequently played the two back-to-back.

We’re still in 1963, and after Lesley releases “She’s A Fool”, which doesn’t quite fit the other two but was still a Top Five hit for her, she came out with one more song that year, and that’s the one I think of as being a followup thematically to her first two hits.

You see, in “Judy’s Turn to Cry”, Johnny comes back to her after she kisses another boy at a different party. Johnny jumps up and hits the other guy, which Lesley takes to mean he still loves her.

But consider the title of her fourth single – “You Don’t Own Me”. I think of that as her realizing that Johnny seems to be thinking “I can give my ring to another girl with no problem, but if my first girl (the one I dumped) gets involved with another boy, that’s a different story.”

“You Don’t Own Me” turned out to be Gore’s last Top 10 hit on the Billboard charts, peaking at Number 2.

That’s a pretty good year by anyone’s standards  – a Number One hit, a Number Two and two Number Fives, all off the same albums, and her first four singles.

I have listened to the three songs consecutively, and it does sound like they fit together.

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