The Ronettes – Be My Baby

To me, this song is a masterpiece. One of Phil Spector’s best-produced songs. The song peaked at #2 in the Billboard 100 and #4 in the UK.

This was the first Ronettes song produced by Phil Spector and released on his label, Philles Records. This song featured Spector’s “Wall Of Sound” production technique, where he layered lots of instruments and used echo effects.

 

From Songfacts.

Spector had already produced seven chart hits when he auditioned The Ronettes for his Philles record label. The Ronettes were Veronica (Ronnie) Bennett, her sister Estelle Bennett and their cousin Nedra Talley. Phil fell in love with Veronica’s voice and immediately went about signing the group to Philles (the trio was under contract with Colpix Records who had issued a few singles and a album which did not chart).

With the help of Veronica and Estelle’s mother, who simply called the company and got Colpix to release the Ronettes from their contract, Phil immediately signed the Ronettes to Philles at the end of March. He had the group record a Jeff Barry-Ellie Greenwich song called “Why Don’t They Let Us Fall In Love,” but Spector decided not to release it in favor of another Barry-Greenwich composition, “Be My Baby.” The single (Philles 116) entered the charts at the end of August and became the biggest hit and only Top 10 for The Ronettes.

Veronica Bennett was the only Ronette to sing on this. Phil Spector rehearsed her for weeks and had her do 42 takes before he got the sound he wanted. Spector and Bennett got married in 1968, and they divorced in 1974.

This 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.” They divorced in 1965 but kept working together; one of their post-divorce accomplishments was producing Neil Diamond’s early recordings.

The Los Angeles area was populated with very talented session musicians in 1963, and Phil Spector called on many of them to play on “Be My Baby.” Assembled at Gold Star Studios on July 5, 1963 were Don Randi (piano), Hal Blaine (drums – the opening is one of his signature riffs), Frank Capp (also drums – Spector used two drummers at the session), Al de Lory (keyboards), Bill Pitman (guitar), Ray Pohlman (bass), and Tommy Tedesco (guitar).

These four-hour sessions typically yielded 4-6 songs, but many times Phil Spector used all of his time on one song, which was the case here. For the B-side, Spector had Tommy Tedesco and Bill Pitman record a throwaway instrumental that he called “Tedesco And Pitman.” Spector made sure the B-sides of his singles were garbage so there was no doubt what song should be played. This also allowed him more studio time to craft the hit.

Lyrically, this is 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. Many lyrics written by Jeff Barry deal with love in some form, or at least the human condition. Another hallmark of his songwriting is lack of metaphor, as he prefers to communicate his ideas directly, just as the girl in this song makes her intentions very clear.

Be My Baby

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 oh, 
Be my be my baby oh,
My one and only baby wha-oh-oh-oh-oh.
Be my be my baby oh,
My one and only baby
Be my be my baby oh,
Be my baby now

 

Author: badfinger20

Guitar, Bass, song writer,

8 thoughts on “The Ronettes – Be My Baby”

  1. I always wondered where it originated that two out of three Ronettes were missing on this recording. In her book “Be My Baby – How I Survived Mascara, Miniskirts, and Madness or My Life as a Fabulous Ronette” Ronnie Spector wrote, that Estelle and Nedra recorded their backing vocals after Ronnie’s lead vocals were recorded. It started only in 1966 that Spector would record Ronnie alone without the other Ronettes.

    The backing vocals session for “Be My Baby” included, amongst others, Darlene Love, Fanita James from the Blossoms, Bobby Sheen from Bob B. Soxx & The Blue Jeans, Nino Tempo, Sonny Bono and the young Cher, who sometimes liked to call herself Cherilyn at the time.

    Fortunately, there are some live recordings of Phil Spector’s sessions at Goldstar Studio, including this one from the recording of the backing track of “Be My Baby”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7uTztWtBLM. Listen how Spector ruins a perfect take by saying “Hold it, I wanna make sure this is the same tempo!” to which Hal Blaine replied, “That was perfect Phil, are you kidding?”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for the info! That was an interesting listen. I must add that book to my book list. I respect Ronnie Spector and many of the records he did but I sometimes think he took that Wall of Sound a little too far in some things…maybe that is just me. This record is great…I have read where he could be very difficult to work with.

      Like

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