Friday, February 20, 2015

Music Friday Tribute: ‘Judy’s Wearin’ His Ring’ in Lesley Gore’s 1963 Classic, ‘It’s My Party’

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you classic songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today we honor the legendary Lesley Gore, who, as a 17-year-old in 1963, exploded onto the music scene with her #1 pop hit, “It’s My Party.”


Gore lost her battle with lung cancer on Monday. She was 68.

“It’s My Party” is the heartbreaking account of a teenage girl being humiliated at her own birthday party. The girl’s boyfriend, Johnny, leaves the party for a while with her rival, Judy, and when they return later, Judy is wearing his ring.

Gore sings, “Oh, Judy and Johnny just walked through that door / Like a queen with her king / Oh what a birthday surprise / Judy's wearin' his ring.”

The catchphrase of the song, “It’s my party. I’ll cry if I want to,” was originally credited to the Brill Building writing team of John Gluck, Wally Gold and Herb Weiner. But, later, the line was rightfully attributed to part-time songwriter Seymour Gottlieb, and specifically, his daughter, Judy.

The 67-year old Judy Solash told the Daily News on Wednesday that she was teenager living in Brooklyn when a disagreement over her Sweet 16 guest list sparked an emotional exchange with her dad. Seymour thought it was proper to invite Judy’s grandparents and the birthday girl had other ideas.

Here's how the song was born, according to Solash: "I, of course, being a bratty teenager, said I didn't want them there. I burst into tears, and my father said, 'Don't cry.'"

Judy famously answered, "It's my party, and I'll cry if I want to."

Gottlieb, a restaurant owner and lyricist, passed the catchy phrase to his songwriter friend Weiner, who later composed the song with Gluck and Gold. When the song became a chart-topping hit, Weiner agreed to share his portion of the song’s royalties with Gottlieb.

Gore, who was born Lesley Sue Goldstein, was only 16 when she recorded “It’s My Party” for producer Quincy Jones. She followed this chart-topper with other memorable songs, such as “Judy’s Turn to Cry” and “You Don’t Own Me.”

Please check out the video of Gore’s live version of “It’s My Party.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along.

"It's My Party"
Written by John Gluck, Wally Gold and Herb Weiner. Performed by Lesley Gore.

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

Nobody knows where my Johnny has gone
Judy left the same time
Why was he holding her hand
When he's supposed to be mine?

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

Play all my records, keep dancing all night
But leave me alone for a while
'Til Johnny's dancing with me
I've got no reason to smile

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

Oh, Judy and Johnny just walked through that door
Like a queen with her king
Oh what a birthday surprise
Judy's wearin' his ring

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

Oh 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

Image: Lesley Gore publicity shot

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Recreational Divers Discover 2,000 Ancient Gold Coins Off the Coast of Israel

Five recreational divers discovered 2,000 ancient gold coins off the coast of Israel — a find that's being touted as the largest single cache of currency ever recovered in that country. The treasure weighed a total of 13.2 pounds and was in pristine condition despite being submerged for 1,000 years.


The amazing discovery took place at Caesarea, a coastal city about 30 miles north of Tel Aviv that was built by Herod the Great in the year 25 B.C.

The divers originally believed they had come across coins from a children’s game, but, upon closer inspection, realized they had stumbled upon something special. According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the divers reported their find to the head of the Caesarea Diving Club, who, in turn, alerted the Israel Antiquities Authority. Using metal detectors, the Authority's divers were able to secure 2,000 coins with a precious metal value of $258,000. Due to their rarity and historical significance, their value is likely many times that amount.


The treasure included coins in two denominations, dinars and quarter dinars. The coin insignias revealed they were from the Fatimid Period, when the Fatimid Kingdom ruled North Africa and Palestine. The earliest coin was minted in Sicily in the second half of the 9th century and the latest coin was minted in 1036.

A spokesman from the Israel Antiquities Authority surmised that the coins were probably from a treasury boat that sank just after 1036.


“The ship may have been carrying tax money on its way to the central government in Egypt, or perhaps the coins were meant to pay the salaries of soldiers in the Fatimid garrison stationed in Caesarea,” Jacob Sharvit, head of the authority’s marine unit, told Haaretz.

Robert Kool, an Antiquities Authority coin expert, said that the preservation of the dinars was excellent and that they needed no cleaning in the lab. “That is because gold is a noble metal, which is not impacted by water or air,” he noted.

Kool told Haaretz that some of the coins bore bite marks, which was a common way for ancient merchants to test the quality of the metal.

Marine archaeologists, under the direction of the Israel Antiquities Authority, are planning to investigate the treasure site to find out more about the wreck.

The amateur divers were praised as “model citizens” for their honesty in turning over the ancient coins to Israeli authorities rather than trying to keep the coins for themselves.

Photos: Getty Images

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Lady Gaga Accepts Heart-Shaped Engagement Diamond on Valentine’s Day; Ring’s Value Estimated to Be $500K

Lady Gaga surprised her 5.6 million Instagram followers on Monday with the announcement of her Valentine’s Day engagement to actor Taylor Kinney and a peek at her unusual heart-shaped diamond.


The 28-year-old six-time Grammy winner posted a close-up of her new engagement ring featuring what’s estimated to be an 8-carat heart-shaped center stone. Her caption read, “He gave me his heart on Valentines’s Day, and I said YES!”


Kinney, 33, who is most famous for his role as Lieutenant Kelly Severide in the TV shows Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D., posted a sweet photo of himself and his famous fiancĂ©e, along with the caption, “She said YES on Valentine’s Day.”

Depending on the stone’s quality, the ring could be worth upwards of $500,000, according to a report by

Jewelry expert Shari Fabrikant of Robert Fabrikant Inc., who is often called on to value celebrity engagement rings, told that the heart-shaped center stone appears to be about 8 carats in size and of very fine quality.

“The setting is simple with a few round diamonds down the side,” she said. “If the stone is an E color and VS1, it would run close to $500,000. It’s a really special stone. It’s extremely difficult to get large heart shapes. It’s very unique for a ring.”


The chart-topping diva, who has never been shy about pushing the boundaries of fashion (she famously wore a dress made of flank steak to the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards), had hinted to Howard Stern in a recent interview that Kinney could be the one.

The couple first met on the set of the music video for Gaga’s 2011 song “You & I,” in which Kinney played her love interest. They started dating several months later and then broke up for a brief time in May 2012. One month later, they were back together and have been a couple ever since. No wedding plans were announced.

Photos: Instagram/LadyGaga, Instagram/TaylorKinney, Getty Images.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

100-Carat ‘Ultimate Emerald-Cut Diamond’ Could Fetch $25M at Sotheby’s New York in April

The 100.20-carat “Ultimate Emerald-Cut Diamond” could fetch as much as $25 million when it headlines Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels auction in New York on April 21.


The “Ultimate” — a remarkable D-color, internally flawless stone — joins an elite club of only five comparable-quality 100-plus-carat diamonds to have ever hit the auction block. It’s the only one of the group to feature the classic emerald cut.


The current owner spent more than one year studying, cutting and polishing the original 200-carat rough diamond, which was mined by De Beers in South Africa. It is not unusual for a cutter to forgo 50 percent of the diamond's carat weight to yield a "perfect" stone.


“This 100.20 carat diamond is the definition of perfection,” commented Gary Schuler, Head of Sotheby’s Jewelry Department in New York. “The color is whiter than white. It is free of any internal imperfections, and so transparent that I can only compare it to a pool of icy water.”


Lisa Hubbard, Chairman of North & South America for Sotheby’s International Jewelry Division, called the 100-carat diamond the “rarest object of natural beauty on the market right now” and “the ultimate acquisition.”

“Simply put, it has everything you could ever want from a diamond,” she said. “The classic shape begs to be worn, while the quality puts it in an asset class of its own. The stone gives you so many options – admire it unmounted, wear it as a simple but stunning pendant, or mount it in a designed jewel.”

The per-carat selling price of upper-echelon stones has been on a steep ascent since Sotheby’s auctioned it first 100-carat "perfect" diamond in 1990. At that time, the price was $125,000 per carat. By 2013, the price had risen to $260,000 per carat. Sotheby’s low estimate of $19 million for “Ultimate Emerald-Cut Diamond” represents a valuation of $190,000 per carat.

April’s headliner will be promoted on a whirlwind month-long tour that will take the stone from Dubai in mid-March to New York in mid-April, with stops in Los Angeles, Hong Kong, London and Doha.

The five other 100-plus-carat “perfect” diamonds to be sold at auction are listed below:

“The Mouawad Splendour” (101.84 carats) is a modified pear-shape diamond that was sold in 1990 at Sotheby’s Geneva for $12.7 million.

“The Star of Happiness” (100.36 carats) is a rectangular modified brilliant-cut that sold at Sotheby’s Geneva for $11.9 million in 1993.

“The Star of the Season” (100.10 carats) sports a pear shape and fetched $16.5 million at Sotheby’s Geneva in 1995.

“The Winston Legacy” (101.73 carats) also has a pear shape and generated $26.7 million (a record $262,830 per carat) at Christie’s Geneva in 2013.

“Spectacular Oval Diamond” (118.28 carats) is an oval brilliant-cut stone that scored a world auction record for a white diamond when it sold for $30.6 million at Sotheby’s Hong Kong in 2013.

(Photos courtesy of Sotheby’s.)

Monday, February 16, 2015

‘Good Morning America’ Sets Frosty Stage for Epic Surprise Marriage Proposal for 25 Couples

The 5.6 million viewers — and the hosts — of ABC’s “Good Morning America” could hardly hold back the happy tears on Friday as the top-rated morning newscast staged an epic, romantic, surprise marriage proposal for 25 lucky couples.


Timed to coincide with the kickoff of the Valentine’s Day weekend, the outdoor event at New York City’s Bryant Park was part of a prize package the show awarded to men and women from across the country who — unbeknownst to their significant others — asked to be part of GMA’s biggest “pop the question” event ever.


The winners' partners were tricked into believing that they had simply earned a free Valentine trip to New York.


With the lovebirds gathered on the ice, the early morning event started off with Christina Perri’s special live performance of “A Thousand Years," the platinum hit she wrote for The Twilight Saga — Breaking Dawn, Part 1.

But, about halfway through the song Perri stopped singing and told co-anchor Lara Spencer that there was a technical problem.

“Hey, Lara, something is not right,” Perri said.

Spencer responded, “Is there audio? We've been having some problems. You know what, I think the only thing that could fix this is love.”

At that moment, Spencer revealed GMA’s ruse.

“Hey, guys, we may have been playing a little trick on you,” she said. “Partners, can you help this out. Can we solve this problem? What do you say? Let's do it. It's time. Take it away, love birds.”


Wearing skates and nearly in unison, 25 suitors awkwardly dropped to one knee on the frosty ice and proposed marriage. At this point, the focus switched from the Bryant Park ice to the ice that adorned the ring fingers of the surprised partners.


Spencer and Holmes interviewed a few of the couples and then reintroduced Perri, who was able to complete her performance, despite being a bit teary-eyed herself.


Back at GMA headquarters, host Robin Roberts said, “It really was romantic. We were here in the studio just swaying away. Nobody skated off so it looks like we went 25 for 25.”

Images: ABC News screen captures; Twitter/GMA