The Ronettes Be My Baby

1963 Classic And The Amazing Wall of Sound.

Vinyl record memories and The Ronettes "Be My Baby" revisit 1963 and their classic #2 song. Creating a distinctive pop structure within the song it opens with a drumbeat intro, followed by the first verse. Then comes the chorus and a bridge section, followed by a second verse, the chorus, and a second bridge. The final sequence runs as verse, chorus, and bridge, and ends on the signature "Be my, be my baby" refrain.

The Ronnettes Be My Baby

The Ronettes were an American girl group from New York City, composed of sisters Veronica Bennett (later known as Ronnie Spector), Estelle Bennett, and their cousin Nedra Talley. They began as a family act at neighborhood performances and dances in the late 1950s. Their big break came in 1961 when they were discovered during a performance at New York's Spanish Harlem’s Peppermint Lounge by Phil Spector, who was impressed by their soulful harmonies and explosive stage presence. Spector signed them to his Philles Records label and transformed them into The Ronettes.

A Brian Wilson Tribute To "Be My Baby"

Brian Wilson tribute to The Ronnettes.

The Ronettes' "Be My Baby" greatly influenced Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys, who has often called it the greatest pop record ever made.

He was so inspired by its production that he wrote "Don't Worry Baby" as a tribute to the song.

Wilson's Beach Boys often incorporated the Wall of Sound, a production technique developed by Phil Spector that created a dense, layered effect, mirroring some of the production techniques in "Be My Baby".  

Phil Spector used a full string section on this recording, which Brian Wilson thought was brilliant. Wilson says it is his favorite record, stating in Q Magazine's 1001 Best songs Ever: "This is a special one for me. What a great sound, the Wall of Sound. Boy, first heard this on the car radio and I had to pull off the road, I couldn't believe it. The choruses blew me away; the strings are the melody of love. It has the promise to make the world better."

The drum figure on this song, played by Hal Blaine, was conceived by the song's writer Jeff Barry. "When Hal Blaine went - boom-boom-boom-bow - and I came in with - the night we met… - those guys went crazy," Ronnie recalled to Uncut magazine. " All of the musicians went - Oh, my gosh - That's the voice we've been waiting to hear."

More than 60 years later this is the song that started it all for Ronnie Spector and the Ronettes.

The Ronettes -  One Classy Girl Group.

The song was The Ronettes’ biggest hit, reaching No. 2 on the Billboard pop chart, not only in the US but also in the UK, making them international stars. It is considered one of the best songs of the pop-rock era and has been covered by many artists.

The lead singer of the 1963 smash, “Be My Baby,” was born Veronica Bennett in New York City on August 10, 1943. In her teens, she formed the Ronettes with her older sister, Estelle, and her cousin, Nedra Talley.

The Ronettes’ sexy look and powerful voices — plus songwriting and producing help from Phil Spector — turned them into one of the premier acts of the girl-group era. They began singing and dancing in clubs as Ronnie and the Relatives, becoming noteworthy for their liberal use of eyeliner and mascara. "The louder they applauded, the more mascara we put on the next time," she wrote in her memoir.

Ronnie Spector - "I Just Have So Much Fun"

Left to right - Nedra, Ronnie and Estelle - The Ronnettes.

“Nothing excites me more than just being onstage, having fun and flirting and winking to the guys and stuff like that,” she told People magazine in 2017.

“I just have so much fun. It’s just the best feeling when I go out and they say, “Ladies and gentlemen…” —my heart stops for a minute—"…Ronnie Spector and the Ronettes! "Then I just go out there and the crowd reacts the way they react and I can go on singing forever."

Ronnie titled her 1995 autobiography "Be My Baby." In the book, she explained that Phil had her rehearse the song for weeks, then spent about three days working on her vocal in the control room. Ronnie would practice in the ladies' room at the studio, which she said had great acoustics and let her work out the little "whoas" and "oh-oh-ohs."

The song was written by the songwriters Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, who were married at the time. As was his custom, Phil Spector also took a songwriting credit on the track. Barry and Greenwich had a remarkable run of hits in 1963 and 1964, including "Da Doo Ron Ron," "Chapel Of Love," "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" and "Leader of the Pack."

Lyrically, this is a very simple song about a girl who is trying to convince a guy she likes to give her a chance. She lets him know that she's been into him from the day they met, and she thinks they can be together forever.

After The Ronettes "Be My Baby", they continued to record successful songs like "Baby, I Love You", "The Best Part of Breaking Up", "Do I Love You", and a few others. However, they disbanded in 1967 and while they did reunite for a brief period in the 1970s, they officially disbanded in 1973. Ronnie Spector, the group's lead singer, continued to have a solo career.

Individuals and groups covering the song have made their renditions, attesting to the song's enduring popularity. The Ronettes, despite their breakup, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.

The Ronettes Be My Baby

Listen to The Ronnettes at vinyl record memories.

Ronnie Spector, the cat-eyed, bee-hived rock ‘n’ roll siren who sang such 1960s hits as “Be My Baby,” “Baby I Love You” and “Walking in the Rain” as the leader of the girl group the Ronettes, died on January 12, 2022. She was 78.

Estelle Bennett (on the right) died at her home in Englewood, New Jersey on February 11, 2009. She was 67.

Since Ronnie's death in 2022,  Nedra Talley (on the left) is the last surviving original member of the group. She had four children with her husband, Scott Ross, a former DJ, who died in 2023.

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