Lesley Gore, (1946-2015), was a teen idol during the 1960’s. Beginning in 1963 at the age of 16, she placed close to 20 songs on the Billboard Hot 100. Songs such as the number one “It’s My Party,” “Judy’s Turn To Cry,” “She’s A Fool,” “You Don’t Own Me,” and “California Nights” taped into teen angst, love, and life. By the end of the decade her commercial peak was past and she moved on to writing, acting, and appearing on the oldies circuit.
She recorded nine studio albums 1963-1967, but only four more during the next 48 years. Love Me By Name reunited her with producer Quincy Jones. It was an attempt to take her career in an adult direction and for the most part it succeeds.
Love Me By Name is an impeccably produced and recorded album of music. What adds to the interest is the fact Gore co-wrote all 12 of the tracks.
The styles move in a number of directions. “Immortality: is probably the album’s best track. It is a smooth pop song that updates her teen sound. The single version of the song is included as a bonus track. A little longer than the album track, it was re-imagined for the mid-1970’s dance floor.
“Paranoia” allows her to travel in a rock and roll direction for one of the few times in her career. It is a dark piece complete with blazing guitars. “Can’t Seem To Live Our Good Times Down” moves in a completely different direction. It is an easy-listening pop extravaganza with strings, brass, and background vocals. “Along The Way” falls into the light jazz category thanks to the harmonica play of Toots Thielmans.
Love Me By Name is a versatile and satisfying album that deserved a better commercial fate. It is proof that Lesley Gore created good music after her teen years were past.