Song of the Week – Songs that use the baion (Hal Blaine) beat

Ignored             Obscured              Restored

One of the most important songs in the history of Rock and Roll is “Be My Baby” by the Ronettes.  The most distinctive feature of the Phil Spector produced track, other than Ronnie Spector’s outstanding vocal, is the opening beat played by Wrecking Crew drummer Hal Blaine, which has become known as the Hal Blaine Beat.  You may not know it by name, but you will instantly recognize the ‘Bum-ba-bum-BOOM’ beat in the song’s intro.

Blaine was modest about his “invention” of the beat, saying:

“That famous drum intro was an accident. I was supposed to play the snare on the second beat as well as the fourth, but I dropped a stick. Being the faker I was in those days, I left the mistake in and it became: ‘Bum-ba-bum-BOOM!’ And soon everyone wanted that beat.”

Now I don’t mean to start a controversy here, or to take credit away from the huge contribution Blaine made to popular music, but that rhythm had been “a thing” before Blaine’s happy accident.  In fact, the Brazilian baion beat (as it is formally known), was used on the Leiber and Stoller produced recordings by The Drifters – “There Goes My Baby”, ”Save the Last Dance for Me”, and “Under the Boardwalk”, though not as prominently as it was on “Be My Baby”.

Phil Spector acknowledged that “There Goes My Baby” was a major influence on his Wall of Sound technique.

But let me be clear.  The way Blaine played the beat has been an inspiration for hundreds of other songs from The Beach Boys outstanding “Don’t Worry Baby”

… to Badfinger’s “Baby Blue”

…to Billy Joel’s “Say Goodbye to Hollywood”

… to “Just Like Honey” by the Jesus and Mary Chain, the SotW on March 25, 2017.

Tonypop has compiled a list of 373 songs in a Spotify playlist called “Be my baby! – The songs that use Hal Blaine’s drum intro of “Be My Baby” by The Ronettes.”  You can listen to it using this link:

Enjoy… until next week.

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


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.