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Girl Groups Week No 2: The Crystals - There's No Other Like My Baby / Uptown / He's a Rebel

So, once the Shirelles had forged the idealogical template, Phil Spector came along and forged the sound.

Already a successful songwriter and guitarist, Phil Spector was the first record producer to think of himself as an auteur, but there was also something in him which understood the girl group essence, ie that the view presented was that of the modern teen female, romantic but not romanticised, situated firmly in the streets of New York.

There's no other (like my Baby) begins at the beginning:

"There's a story I'd like you to know

about my baby, and how I love him so…..

....looking at my baby and how I feel so proud"

This is the first of Phil Spector's singles produced on his own Phillies record label - and this captures the essence of the girl group sound, the girl's vulnerable, yearning, yet strong love, and her pride despite her poor background. "Other people made love songs as a matter of pleasure and preference: Spector's are about the crying need for romance in lives too barren to be supportable otherwise" - Dave Marsh.

I love the way lead singer Barbara Alston turns down Johnny, Billy, Tommy in a sort of of tenacious desperation "no, no, not like my baby" as each name is suggested by the rest of the girls.

This 1961 hit was followed up by the fabulous "Uptown" in which singer tells how at one end of New York her boyfriend is nothing in the big city "cause he's got to live…", but at her end - the poor end , and he's with her "and when I take his hand there's no man who can put him down"

Then came "He's a Rebel" developing the same theme, recorded by a competely different set of Crystals with the lead taken by the immortal Darlene Love, because Spector was based in LA (not New York) and needed to get the single out before a rival single was released. The New York based originals would have taken too long to get there.

Listen to those handclaps, the cracking sax solo, and the beginnings of the wall of sound, and Love's shout of teen rebellion at the end "no, no, no, no!......"

He's a rebel and he'll never ever be any good

He's a rebel cause he never ever does what he should

And just because he doesn't do what every else does

That's no reason why I can't give him all my love…..

After that came "de doo ron ron" and "And then he kissed me" and the fully-fledged wall of sound. But that's another story….

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