Baby I Love You - the Ronettes
So sad to hear of the death of Ronnie Spector who died yesterday, aged 78.
Ronnie leapt to stardom in August 1963 as lead singer of the Ronettes on their first hit, the classic "Be My Baby" which reached number 2 on the US charts (see post for Dec 19, 2017 https://www.unclestylus.com/single-post/2017/12/19/girl-groups-week-no-3-the-ronettes )
Much has been said (including on this blog see Uncle Stylus Jan 25 2021 https://www.unclestylus.com/single-post/walking-in-the-rain-the-ronettes ) of her relationship with her brilliant but abusive producer husband Phil Spector, suffice to mention that the bitterness and hatred that he harboured for her after their divorce in 1974 is illustrated by the fact that he prevented her from earning any royalties from the Ronettes' hits, or from performing them, until she won her legal case against him in 1998 after years of wrangling in the courts.
In her excellent and moving autobiography "Be My Baby", cowritten with Vince Waldron, Ronnie recalls that at their first meeting, the Ronettes' audition, Spector fell in love with her voice, immediately recognising its strength and defiance as the perfect counterbalance to his celebrated "wall of sound".
Like many groups, their first hit was their greatest, but "Baby I Love You" was the follow-up to "Be My Baby" and, as was the case with follow-ups in those days, sounded remarkedly similar to its predecessor, even reproducing the original's trademark, spine-tingling refrain:
"Wuh ho, wuh ha ho ho!".
When deejaying, I've often played either of these songs at the end of the night, and the moment everyone, and I mean everyone, goes crazy for, and joins in with, is that "wuh ho, wuh ha ho ho!".
Despite the bitter aftermath of their relationship, Ronnie kept the Spector name as it made commercial sense, giving her instant showbiz recognition, but to me it's fitting that when she recording these, her two most famous and defining songs, she was still, technically, Veronica, or Ronnie, Bennett.
So whatever epitaphs she may garner over the next few days, for me there can be only one, and let's face it, most of us would be happy to be remembered worldwide in perpetuity for this glorious inarticulate utterance of joy:
WUH HO, WUH HA HO HO!