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The Ronettes – "Be My Baby"

We’ll make ’em turn their heads, every place we go

“The things Phil was doing were crazy and exhausting …. but that’s not the sign of a nut. That’s genius.”

– Larry Levine (Phil Spector’s engineer)

“Be My Baby” is a seminal 1963 single written by Phil Spector, Jeff Barry, and Ellie Greenwich, performed by the Ronettes and produced by Phil Spector.

It’s a classic of the pop music genre and the favourite song of no less a genius than pop maestro Brian Wilson! A song that has been influential on generations of great musicians, from the Beatles and the Beach Boys through to the present day.

The Ronettes were a girl group of the 1960s from New York City, best known for their work with producer Phil Spector. They consisted of lead singer Veronica Bennett (a.k.a. Ronnie Spector), her sister Estelle Bennett, and their cousin Nedra Talley.

The Ronettes were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2004.

In 1963 the girls came to the attention of producer Phil Spector, who was looking for a new girl group to assume The Crystals’ mantle. He was taken with Ronnie’s voice and style, and signed The Ronettes to his Philles label.

As Spector’s new protégées, they were given a strong image as “bad girls”, with beehive hairdos, heavy eyeliner, and tight skirts.

Their first Philles single was the sublime “Be My Baby”.

When “Be My Baby” was released as a single, the song became a hit, reaching #2 on the U.S. Billboard Pop Singles Chart and #4 in the UK Record Retailer chart.

The song as sung by The Ronettes is #22 on Rolling Stone’s list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

In 1999 it was inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame, and in 2006, the Library of Congress honored their version by adding it to the United States National Recording Registry.

Often cited as the ultimate embodiment of Spector’s concept of the Wall of Sound, “Be My Baby” is one of the best-known and most enduring songs of its era, and arguably one of the most influential pop songs of all time.

Spector rehearsed this song with Ronnie Bennett (the only Ronette to sing on it) for weeks , but that didn’t stop him from doing forty-two takes before he was satisfied. Aided by a full orchestra, he created a lush, echo-laden sound that was the Rosetta stone for studio pioneers such as the Beatles and Brian Wilson.

Critic Jason Ankeny writes, “No less an authority than Brian Wilson has declared ‘Be My Baby’ the greatest pop record ever made — no arguments here.”

In her autobiography, lead vocalist Ronnie Spector relates that she was on tour with Joey Dee and the Starlighters when “Be My Baby” was introduced by Dick Clark on American Bandstand as the “Record of the Century.”

The song has been covered countless times by artists including Andy Kim (a 1970 chart hit produced by Jeff Barry), John Lennon, The Lightning Seeds, the Bay City Rollers, the Glitzzi Girls, The Baby Skins, Blue Öyster Cult, We Are Scientists, Psyched Up Janis, Maroon 5. Glasvegas, Ivy, Linda Ronstadt, Whigfield, Ultima Thule, Jason Donovan and Travis.

Brian Wilson considers his song “Don’t Worry Baby” (performed by The Beach Boys) to be the ‘male answer’ to this song.

In 1986, Eddie Money’s “Take Me Home Tonight” included the lyrics “Just like Ronnie sang” and Ronnie Spector herself singing part of the chorus to “Be My Baby”. Mutya Buena and Amy Winehouse recently recorded a derivative song “B Boy Baby” based around the chorus for Mutya’s debut album Real Girl.

The song features a famous drum intro by Hal Blaine which has been replicated on hundreds of subsequent songs from The Beatles and The Beach Boys in 1964 to Deerhunter in 2008!

The song has appeared in numerous movies and TV shows, best of all in the majestic Martin Scorsese film Mean Streets, which features a montage of street scenes and group photographs set against the Ronettes’ track.

The night we met I knew I needed you so
And if I had the chance I’d never let you go
So won’t you say you love me
I’ll make you so proud of me
We’ll make ’em turn their heads
Every place we go
So won’t you please

(Be my be my baby) Be my little baby
(I want it only say) Say you’ll be my darling
(Be my be my baby) Be my baby now
(I want it only say) Ooh, ohh, ohh, oh

I’ll make you happy, baby
Just wait and see
For every kiss you give me
I’ll give you three
Oh, since the day I saw you
I have been waiting for you
You know I will adore you
Till eternity
So won’t you please

(Be my be my baby) Be my little baby
(I want it only say) Say you’ll be my darling
(Be my be my baby) Be my baby now
(I want it only say) Ooh, ohh, ohh, ohh, oh

So come on and please
(Be my be my baby) Be my little baby
(I want it only say) Say you’ll be my darling
(Be my be my baby) Be my baby now
(I want it only say) Ooh, ohh, ohh, oh

(Be my be my baby) Be my little baby
(I want it only say) Ooh-oh-oh-oh, ooh-oh-oh-oh
(Be my be my baby) Oh-oh-oh, oohh…
(I want it only say) Oh, oh, oh, oh, oooohh…


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January 27, 2009 - Posted by | Canon, Music_Pop, Phil Spector, The Ronettes, _MUSIC, _VIDEO

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