It’s my party, and I’ll cry if I want to
Cry if I want to, cry if I want to
You would cry too if it happened to you [1]

Those are the beginning words to the song “It’s My party” written and performed by Lesley Gore back in 1963. I was a freshman in college then and the advent of the song was not one of the milestones that I recall, but the tune does stay with one and the notice of her death the other day brought back that tune again and again [2].

Some characters from fiction, like Sherlock Homes and Dr. Watson, have an immortal existence. They stay the same age and live in the same place forever. This is also true for actors who play these fictional characters. We will always hear Clark Gable tell Vivian Leigh that he doesn’t give a damn in a dimension where the old South still lives.

It is curious that these entertainment figures, who are so remote and removed from my daily life, actually live in the same time stream and world as I do. They have lives and they die. Why aren’t they like Bogey and Bacall who are always young and smoking (when that was OK) on some far away Caribbean island?

I recalled that about three years ago I did a column about aging singers and thought this would be a good time to bring back a “Golden Oldie”  [3].


Funny this column is about rock and roll and when I was thinking about old rockers, my offhand guess was that Jerry Lee Lewis might be about the oldest available. In fact his web site says, “… of all the great musicians who created rock & roll in Memphis Tennessee at Sun Records in the 1950’s, The Killer, Jerry Lee Lewis would be the last man standing” (

Not trusting the veracity of Killer’s web site, I looked him up. He was born in 1935 in Ferriday, Louisiana. Now I knew that because my wife has family in Ferriday and they were all familiar with the Lewis family. There are no coincidences but my wife’s Ferriday aunt passed away this week at the age of 90. She was a wonderful woman and had lived in Ferriday since the 1940’s. The photo is of the Ferriday post office from about 1995.

The thing about musicians who now are in their 70’s and up is the amazing preservation (in many cases) of their singing voices. PBS does specials with old musical groups (like The Osmonds – 50th Anniversary Reunion and Magic Moments: The Best of 50s Pop) and while the singers were grayer and wider than I recall from my youth, their voices still sounded sweet. Even those guys who sang in falsetto (like in Big Girls Don’t Cry by the Four Seasons) could still hit the high notes after 50 years.

So, I wondered if this was just luck or if singers take an active role in maintaining their voices. The Texas Voice Center (in Houston) offers analysis and therapy to keep the professional singer’s voice up to snuff. “… our bodies change as we age and subsequently, so can our voices. The voice can begin to sound weak, hoarse or even raspy” ( This is apparently due to a loss of fatty tissue in the vocal folds and injecting one’s own tummy fat into them can correct the raspiness   (

Finally then I ran across the notion of “The Elder’s Voice” which has nothing to do with singing but seemed relevant never-the-less. Try out this web site for another aspect of raising one’s voice in the latter years –


Guess What? You can still see Jerry Lee Lewis performing with Chubby Checker (of all people) at the  NYCB Theatre in Westbury, NY on April 10, 2015. Rock ‘n Roll forever!


  1. Lyrics for “It’s My Party” by Lesley Gore.
  2. Bacle, A. ‘It’s My Party’ singer Lesley Gore dies at 68. Entertainment Weekly, Feb. 16, 2015.
  3. The original post is from week 30, Jerry Lee Lewis is Old and Still Rockin’.

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