Tag Archives: Wall of Sound

15 Best Girl Group Songs

On Monday night along with Tom Waits, Alice Cooper and Dr. John, Darlene Love (finally!) got inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Her most famous song is the Holiday Classic “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”, but Love added her vocal talents to other groups of the time as well including The Crystals, The Blossoms, and Bob B. Soxx & The Blue Jeans.

So in honor of her induction, I present my list of the 15 Best Girl Group songs.

1.) The Ronettes – “Be My Baby”

Phil Spector’s “Wall of Sound” at its best.  The drum intro is probably responsible for a lot of drummers’ careers.

2.) The Shirelles – “A Thing of the Past”

The original female group.

3.) The Crystals – “Da Doo Ron Ron”

According to Darlene Love, she originally sang lead vocals for this track with her own band The Blossoms, only to have Phil Spector erase them and rerecord the lead with The Crystals’ Dolores “Lala” Brooks instead.  Love still ended up singing background vocals.

4.) The Dixie Cups – “I’m Gonna Get You Yet”

Slightly sinister (?) B-side of “Gee, The Moon Is Shining Bright”

5.) Martha & The Vandellas – “Dancing in the Street”

Forget the craptacular Bowie & Jagger version.  Brilliant song about how something as dancing in fire hydrants can be a rallying cry.  Co-written by Marvin Gaye.

6.) The Shangri-La’s:  “Give Him a Great Big Kiss”

The obvious choice would be “Leader of the Pack”, but I prefer this one.

7.) The Supremes – “Where Did Our Love Go?”

Best use of Footstomps ever in a song, which actually consisted of one person, a teenager named Mike Valvano, to create illusion that it was a group of footstomps.

8.) Martha Reeves & The Vandellas – “Heatwave”

Listen for Martha Reeves belting out “Yeah, yeah!” at the 2 minute mark.  Killer stuff.

9.) Bob B. Soxx & The Blue Jeans – “Zip-A-Dee-Do-Da”

Disney, who?  With Darlene Love taking over, this is the definitive version of the song.

10.) The Ronettes – “The Best Part of Breaking Up”

11.) The Marvelettes – “Please Mr. Postman”

Probably the first song that I ever recognized as an “oldie”, so as such I’ve always had a soft spot for it.

12.) The Crystals – “He’s A Rebel

13.) Chantals – “Maybe”

14.) Shirelles – “Stop the Music”

15.) The Crystals -“Then He Kissed Me”

I always thought that the narrator was pretty forward in this song telling her potential beau that she loves him.  Luckily it all worked out.

 

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Women Singers: “Be My Baby” – The Ronettes

So I realized that the  majority of my posts (okay pretty much all of them) have been guy-centric and perhaps as a bit sexist in my selections.  So I plan to remedy that situation with this week’s list.  (And this won’t be a half-assed week either, just in case anyone tries to call me out on that.)

To kick things off, I’m going to start with what I think might the ultimate pop-song.  And if you don’t believe me – a certain Mr. Brian Wilson lists “Be My Baby” as his all-time favorite song.

“Be My Baby” begins with perhaps the most famous drum intro in popular music.  It sounds standard now, but the sound of the song itself was quite revolutionary at the time.  “Be My Baby” is Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound at its epitome.  Session man Hal Blaine’s thunder-clap drums  reinforce Ronnie Spector’s declaration that “we’ll make them turn their heads everywhere we go.”

Ronnie Spector doesn’t have the same control and force in her voice that Darlene Love (another Spector-girl) had.  Yet she commands “Be My Baby”.  Her voice is sexy and yearning.  Spector might be begging for the listener to be her baby, but by the second verse you want to be her baby.  “Since the day I saw you, I have been waiting for you,” She coos.  And for a moment it seems innocent, but Spector nails the thin between romance and sex in the song  And there’s no denying the “oooh-oooh” at the end of the song.  I’ve always loved the violin break in the middle of the song.  It seems to add tension in the song – and it just thickens Spector’s Wall of Sound Production.

Be My Baby

John Lennon’s “interesting” cover of “Be My Baby”

The Ronettes performing “Be My Baby”:  (Sound quality is kind of iffy):

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