Saturday, August 31, 2013

50 years ago: The Ronettes charted with “Be My Baby”

Be My Baby

The Ronettes

Writer(s): Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich, Phil Spector (see lyrics here)


First Charted: August 31, 1963


Peak: 2 US, 11 CB, 2 HR, 4 RB, 4 UK, 2 CN (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.4 UK, -- world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 2.0 radio, 67.4 video, 185.31 streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

This “staple of oldies radio” AMG represents “the quintessence of the ‘girl group’ aesthetic of the early 1960s” NRR but also served as “the Rosetta stone for studio pioneers such as the Beatles and Brian Wilson.” RS500 He called the song his favorite RS500 and even recorded an answer song, “Don’t Worry Baby,” with his group the Beach Boys. SF

The song is also one of the best examples of the wall of sound NRR a method introduced by producer Phil Spector of layering multiple instruments to create “a slow-burn pop symphony.” AMG Ronnie Bennett, the only Ronette to sing on the song, RS500 has speculated that her then-blossoming romance with Spector may have inspired the song. SF They would marry in 1968, but when they split six years later, the song actually figured into the divorce settlement with Bennett denied the right to sing the song on TV. SF In 1986, though, she did revive parts of it in Eddie Money’s top 10 pop hit “Take Me Home Tonight.” SF

Ironically, “Spector’s most grand most grandiose production to date” was crafted around “the least polished vocalist in his stable.” AMG He “built a rock and roll cathedral around what little her voice had to offer” MA by making Bennett rehearse for weeks and then doing 42 takes once in the studio. RS500 Despite her vocal shortcomings, “Be My Baby” actually works because “her voice radiates pure baby-doll sexuality.” AMG

The song has remained a music fixture for movie soundtracks, most effectively used in the opening credits of Martin Scorsese’s Mean Streets and in the 1987 blockbuster Dirty Dancing. AMG


Resources and Related Links:

First posted 7/8/20/2012; last updated 4/24/2021.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Happy Birthday, Elvis Costello! / His Top 20 Albums

Originally posted on 8/25/12 as a top ten list alongside a list of Elvis Costello’s top 50 songs (see that list here).

image from uncut.co.uk

Elvis Costello was born Declan McManus in Liverpool, England, on August 25, 1954. He came out of the British punk/new wave scene in 1977 and became one of the most celebrated musicians of all time with his diverse abilities for dipping his toe into multiple musical genres including R&B, country, and classical. While these lists reflect a definite emphasis on his work from the ‘70s and ‘80s, Costello continues to make adventurous music. His fans never know just where he might go on his next album.

Sales, chart date, awards, and appearances on best-of lists are factored into Dave’s Music Database. Here are the results for Elvis Costello’s top 20 albums:


The Top 20 Elvis Costello Albums

1. This Year’s Model (1978)
2. My Aim Is True (1977)
3. Armed Forces (1979)
4. Imperial Bedroom (1982)
5. Get Happy!! (1980)
6. King of America (1986)
7. Blood and Chocolate (1986)
8. Spike (1989)
9. Trust (1981)
10. The Delivery Man (2004)

11. Punch the Clock (1983)
12. When I Was Cruel (2002)
13. Almost Blue (1981)
14. National Ransom (2010)
15. Mighty Like a Rose (1991)
16. The River in Reverse (with Allen Toussaint, 2006)
17. Brutal Youth (1994)
18. Secret, Profane and Sugarcane (2009)
19. Painted from Memory (with Burt Bacharach, 1998)
20. Momofuku (2008)


Awards:


Resources and Related Links:

Friday, August 23, 2013

50 years ago: The Beatles released “She Loves You”

She Loves You

The Beatles

Writer(s): John Lennon, Paul McCartney (see lyrics here)


Released: August 23, 1963


First Charted: August 29, 1963


Peak: 12 US, 12 CB, 11 HR, 1 CL, 16 UK, 13 CN, 3 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 3.0 US, 1.95 UK, 6.0 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 1.0 radio, 31.34 video, -- streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

With record-breaking advance orders of 300,000, “She Loves You” became the first million-selling single in the UK KL and was the song that launched Beatlemania in the UK. AMG The song became the biggest single of the sixties TC and was the top-selling UK single until 1977 when the Wings’ “Mull of Kintyre” (led by ex-Beatle Paul McCartney) passed it. SF

It spent a whopping 36 weeks on the UK charts, marked by two stints at #1. It held the top slot for four weeks, slipped, and then climbed back for another two-week run after a seven-week break. It was their own “I Want to Hold Your Hand” which dethroned them the second time, making the Beatles the first artist to knock themselves off the top of the UK charts. TB

In a reversal of the British charts, “She Loves You” followed “I Want to Hold Your Hand” to the pinnacle of the U.S. charts. Capitol Records broke the Beatles in the U.S. with the latter song BR and then Swan Records re-released “She Loves You.” In an unprecedented achievement, TB the Beatles followed that with a third consecutive chart-topper in the U.S. with “Can’t Buy Me Love.”

Paul McCartney explained he’d planned on an answer song to Bobby Rydell’s “Forget Him” in which “a couple of us would sing ‘She loves you’ and the other ones would answer ‘Yeah Yeah.’…So we sat in the hotel bedroom for a few hours and wrote it; John and I, sitting on twin beds with guitars.” SF

After hearing it, McCartney’s father said, “Son, there are enough Americanisms around. Couldn’t you sing, ‘Yes, yes, yes,’ just for once?’ McCartney said, ‘You don’t understand, Dad. It wouldn’t work.’” RS500 Ever since, the music universe has been grateful Paul didn’t heed his father’s advice.


Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for The Beatles
  • AMG All Music Guide review by Richie Unterberger
  • BR Fred Bronson (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (5th edition). Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 144.
  • TC Toby Creswell (2005). 1001 Songs: The Great Songs of All Time. Thunder’s Mouth Press: New York, NY. Page 830.
  • KL Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh (2005). 1000 UK Number One Hits: The Stories Behind Every Number One Single Since 1952. London, Great Britain: Omnibus Press. Page 95.
  • RS500 Rolling Stone (2011). “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time
  • SF Songfacts.com
  • TB Thunder Bay Press (2006). Singles: Six Decades of Hot Hits & Classic Cuts. Outline Press Ltd.: San Diego, CA. Page 56.

Last updated 4/25/2021.