Lesley Gore’s Girl Talk

When I visited Lesley Gore in her new pad on the Upper East Side, she was still reeling from a fire that burned down the apartment she had lived in for many years. “I’m only just beginning to feel like I’m coming out of a dark, seriously ugly time,” she said, explaining that what remained of her belongings was still in storage and that she was still hard at work getting her new apartment in order. Despite enduring what she considers the toughest year of her life, she credits the fire with giving her a “good kick in the butt” and focusing her on a number projects she had put on the back burner—including writing her memoirs. “There’s no question that it’s not what happens to you in life, it’s how you deal with it,” she said. 

I was on assignment from Ace Records, who was reissuing her Girl Talk album from 1964, along with 13 bonus tracks. I brought my Girl Talk LP with me, and handed it to Lesley hoping she could take me back to that time. She went through each track, highlighting Van McCoy’s “You’ve Come Back” as one of her favorite songs of all time and the experience of hearing “Little Girl Go Home” for the first time in Paris, over lunch with Charles Aznavour. She really lit up when remembering the sessions with Ellie Greenwich, who co-wrote a number of the tracks on Girl Talk, as well as arranged all the background vocals. “”She could’ve done anything, let me tell ya! She was just such a talent!” She was surprisingly open about the not-so-pretty side of the ’60s, what it was like to be female in the male-dominated music biz, and how she kept her chin up when the hits dried up.

It was a real pleasure interviewing Lesley, and I worked my ass off on the liner notes, determined to do justice to her journey from New Jersey teenager to mega-star to outspoken women’s rights activist, songwriter, and artist. You can read the full piece in the booklet of Ace Records’ Girl Talk, available directly from Ace Records or Amazon.com.


3 Responses to Lesley Gore’s Girl Talk

  1. Julio Niño says:

    Hola, sheila.
    “Welcome Back” is one of my favorites among Van´s compositions. The first question I posted in Spectropop more than a decade ago was about this song. I remember that the first time I heard that song it left me totally bewitched. It has a very strange structure, it grows like a wave and when you are totally hypnotized it suddenly ends, leaving you with the sensation of having fallen in love with a ghost. Van used that same structure in othert songs, in the haunting “Follow Your Heart”, for instance. I´ve often wondered if Van recorded a demo of “Welcome Back”. He probably did but I haven´t heard it. If it exists it must heaven. Maybe Lesley would remember if she listened to a demo of the song sung by Van when she recorded the song. Anyway, Lesley´s is my favorite version of this song. She also recorded it in French (as “Te Voilà”), but I prefer the English version.
    I´m wondering now if Lesley got to know Van personally, maybe she had some memories or even some gossip to share about him. I always perceive a wall of secrets around Van´s personal life. Although maybe I´m fantasizing, of course.
    Lesley recorded several songs by Van, another favorite of mine is “It´s Just About That Time” (a sort of Bossanoverie, a subgenre I love and collect.It would be a marvelous subject for a compilation, but probably it will never happen). Lesley´s is the only version of this song I´m aware of, but maybe there are others.
    I would love to read your liner notes for that Ace´s compilation. I already have all the songs in it, I think, but I´ll have to buy the record because you made me feel very curious about that interview.
    Julio Niño.

  2. Tony Leong says:

    “Say Goodbye” always gives me chills!! Though the tracks were done in a couple of long sessions, none of the material sounds rushed like most LP’s from that time!! “Girl Talk” and “My Town, My Guy and Me” are my favorite Lesley Lp’s from that period. “Boys BOys Boys” also had its’ moments!

    Tony Leong

  3. Julio Niño says:

    Hi, Tony “Say Goodbye” is beautiful ¿Do you know if Larry Marks the writer of that song (I think) is the same Larry Marks who sang the original Scooby-Doo theme song?

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