Song of the Week – Be My Baby, The Ronettes; You Mean So Much to Me, Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes; Take Me Home Tonight, Eddie Money

Ignored           Obscured            Restored

Ronnie Spector (Veronica Bennett) died last Wednesday, January 12th, at the age of 78, after a brief bout with cancer.

As the lead singer of The Ronettes, she recorded a few of the true standards of Rock and Soul, including “Be My Baby”, “Baby, I Love You”, and “Sleigh Ride”, all with her future husband Phil Spector and employing his famous “wall of sound” production technique.

Her famous “Whoa-oh-oh” refrain was featured prominently in her collaboration with Southside Johnny & the Asbury Dukes on “You Mean So Much to Me”, written by Bruce Springsteen around the time of The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle sessions.

Later, in 1986, it is specifically called out in her duet with Eddie Money on “Take Me Home Tonight.”  His chorus says:

Take me home tonight
I don’t want to let you go ’til you see the light
Take me home tonight
Listen honey, just like Ronnie sang, “Be my little baby”

Her trademark “Whoa-oh-oh” has been imitated often by the likes of Elvis Costello (“Oliver’s Army”) and Bruce Springsteen (“Out in the Street”).

Ronnie’s impact and influence went way beyond her hits.  Her fashion aesthetic – beehive hairstyle, heavy mascara, and tight skirts – were the model for many female artists to come, among them Chrissie Hynde (The Pretenders) and Amy Winehouse.

RIP, Ronnie, you will be missed.

Enjoy… until next week.

Song of the Week – Be My Baby, Tiny Tim w/ The Band

IGNORED OBSCURED RESTORED

Over the years, rock music has made for some strange bedfellows. One of the most famous examples I can think of was when David Bowie sang with Bing Crosby on their version of the now classic “Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy.” But there have been others.

How about when James Brown hooked up with Luciano Pavarotti in 2002 to knock out a version of “It’s A Man’s World?”

Then there’s Tom Jones with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young doing “Long Time Gone” on his variety show in 1969.

Now before you think I’m smugly mocking these collaborations let me make clear that I think they’re all pretty cool. Yes, really, all of them… that’s why I’ve posted them here.

But the award for the weirdest rock collaboration that I’m aware of has to go to ukulele playing, falsetto singing, Tiny Tim accompanied by The Band. Yes, THE Band.

That’s right. Back in 1967 when Bob Dylan and The Band were recording the Basement Tapes at Big Pink in Woodstock, NY, Tiny Tim paid a visit to lay down a few tracks to be included for the soundtrack to Peter (of Peter, Paul & Mary) Yarrow’s movie You Are What You Eat.

My favorite of the 4 songs they recorded together and today’s SotW is the Phil Spector classic “Be My Baby.”

Be My Baby – Tiny Tim w/ The Band

The Band is really hot, just like when they paid tribute to their Rock ‘n Roll roots on Moondog Matinee. I only wish I could say the same for Tim.

I understand that many of you have no idea who Tiny Tim was. If you’re old enough to remember Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, you know. Or, if you listened to Howard Stern in the mid 90’s, you know. Otherwise, look him up in Wikipedia.

Enjoy… until next week.