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The Heart of Rock and Soul

Dave Marsh, 1989

20 BE MY BABY, The Ronettes
Produced by Phil Spector; written by Phil Spector, Ellie Greenwich, and Jeff Barry
Philles 116 - 1963
Billboard: #2

ronettes.jpg
21 DA DOO RON RON, The Crystals
Produced by Phil Spector; written by Phil Spector, Ellie Greenwich, and Jeff Barry
Philles 112 - 1963
Billboard: #3

crystals.jpg
22 CHRISTMAS (BABY PLEASE COME HOME), Darlene Love
Produced by Phil Spector; written by Phil Spector, Ellie Greenwich, and Jeff Barry
Philles 119 - 1963
Did not make pop charts

darlenelove.jpg

To hear folks talk, Phil Spector made music out of a solitary vision. But the evidence of his greatest hits insists that he was heavily dependent on a variety of assistance. Which makes sense: Record making is fundamentally collaborative.
Spector associates like engineer Larry Levine, arranger Jack Nitzsche, and husband-wife songwriters Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich were simply indispensable to his teen-art concoctions. Besides them, every Spector track featured a dozen or more musicians. The constant standouts were' drummer Hal Blaine, one of the most inventive and prolific in rock history, and saxophonist Steve Douglas. Finally, there were vast differences among Spector's complement of singers. An important part of Spector's genius stemmed from his ability to recruit, organize, and provide leadership within such a musical community.
Darlene Love (who also recorded for Spector with the Crystals and Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans) ranks just beneath Aretha Franklin among female rock singers, and "Christmas" is her greatest record, though it was never a hit. (The track probably achieved its greatest notice in the mid-eighties, when it was used over the opening credits of Joe Dante's film, Gremlins.) Spector's Wall of Sound, with its continuously thundering horns and strings, never seemed more massive than it does here. But all that only punctuates Love's hysterical blend of loneliness and lust. In the end, when the mix brings up the piano and the chorus to challenge her, the best the Wall's entire weight can achieve is a draw.
The Crystals' official lead singer La La Brooks was much closer to the anonymous end of the Spector spectrum, and on "Da Doo Ron Ron," the result is a much more balanced record. Basing the song in nonsense syllables can't disguise what it really is: teen desire incarnate. The battering Blaine gives his drum kit (if anything he's the star of this show), the droning background "ooo," the sassy handclaps, and Steve Douglas's raging hormonal sax riff add up to more of the same. When Blaine hits his tom-toms after each line of the chorus, the effect is like moving up into overdrive - the song smoothly surges forward.
"Be My Baby" is another story. Ronnie Spector's Brooklyn accent renders her pitch always uncertain, her intonation cracks on "had" in the song's second line, and emotionally, she seems more dutiful than inspired. It doesn't matter. Phil Spector was in love with her (they eventually married). and he built a rock and roll cathedral around what little her voice had to offer. Blaine's intro is one of rock's grand statements, setting a tone of importance that Ronnie's entrance immediately cuts down to size. At the chorus, the Ronettes rise behind Ronnie, tripling her strength, and they stay with her, crooning open-throated vowels. Then there's the bridge, with its ranks of cellos, a mountainous mock-symphony that lasts for the rest of the record. Against all odds, Spector made an initially shaky proposition into what may be his greatest monument.

Ronettes, Be my baby - the lyrics
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 MY ONE AND ONLY BABY
Say you'll be my darlin', BE MY BE MY BABY
be my baby now. MY ONE AND ONLY BABY
Wha-oh-oh-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 'til eternity.

So won't you, please, BE MY BE MY BABY
be my little. baby MY ONE AND ONLY BABY
Say you'll be my darlin', BE MY BE MY BABY
be my baby now. MY ONE AND ONLY BABY
Wha-oh-oh-oh.

So come on and, please, BE MY BE MY BABY
be my little. baby MY ONE AND ONLY BABY
Say you'll be my darlin', BE MY BE MY BABY
be my baby now. MY ONE AND ONLY BABY
Wha-oh-oh-oh.

BE MY BE MY BABY Be my little baby.
MY ONE AND ONLY BABY Oh,
BE MY BE MY BABY oh,
MY ONE AND ONLY BABY wha-oh-oh-oh-oh.
(repeat and fade)

Crystals, Da doo ron ron - the lyrics
I met him on a Monday and my heart stood still
Da doo ron ron ron, da doo ron ron
Somebody told me that his name was Bill
Da doo ron ron ron, da doo ron ron

Yes, my heart stood still
Yes, his name was Bill
And when he walked me home
Da doo ron ron ron, da doo ron ron

He knew what he was doin' when he caught my eye
Da doo ron ron ron, da doo ron ron
He looks so quiet but my oh my
Da doo ron ron ron, da doo ron ron

Yes, he caught my eye
Yes, my oh my
And when he walked me home
Da doo ron ron ron, da doo ron ron

Da doo ron ron ron, da doo ron ron
Da doo ron ron ron, da doo ron ron

Picked me up at seven and he looked so fine
Da doo ron ron ron, da doo ron ron
Someday soon, I'm gonna make him mine
Da doo ron ron ron, da doo ron ron

Yes, he looked so fine
Yes, I'll make him mine
And when he walked me home
Da doo ron ron ron, da doo ron ron

Da doo ron ron ron, da doo ron ron
Da doo ron ron ron, da doo ron ron
(repeat and fade out)

darlene Love, Christmas (Baby please come home) - the lyrics
It's Christmas
Baby, please come home

The snow's coming down
I'm watching it fall
Watching the people around
Baby please come home

The churchbells in town
They're ringing a song
What a happy sound
Baby, please come home

Theyr'e singing deck the halls
But it's not like Christmas at all
I remember when you were here
And all the fun we had last year

Pretty lights on the tree
I'm watching em shine
You should be here with me
Baby, please come home

Baby, please come home
Baby, please come home

They're singing deck the halls
But it's not like Christmas at all
I remember when you were here
And all the fun we had last year

If there was a way
I'd hold back these tears
But it's Christmas day
Baby, please come home
Ohh...

Baby, please come home
Baby, please come home
Baby, please come home....
Marsh index 0001.htm


From "The Heart of Rock and Soul, The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made", by Dave Marsh, 1989.
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