One of the enduring trends of pop music throughout the years is the “girl group”. One of the most successful versions of this format is the Fabulous Ronettes, led vocally by Ronnie Spector and produced by her infamous husband, Phil Spector. Their troubled and abusive relationship was hidden behind the scenes as they put hit after hit on the charts in the early 1960s. The album “Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes Featuring Veronica” is the 494th rated album of all time on Rolling Stone’s Top 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
Surely the most widely known and successful hit was “Be My Baby”, which was celebrated two decades later by Eddie Money in the song “Take Me Home Tonight”. This song is certainly a landmark hit of the early 1960s, both in style and sound. Probably the second-most successful song on this album is “Walking in the Rain”. Both this song and the surprise version of “Chapel of Love”, made more famous by the Dixie Cups, underscore what I like and what I would have liked more of from the Ronettes. The harmony backing vocals are a bit lower in the mix than I would like, and if you compare and contrast the two versions of “Chapel of Love”, I definitely prefer the harmony mix and the tempo from the Dixie Cups.
All of that said, Ronnie Spector was a tremendous performer at her peak, and it is absolutely tragic what a monster Phil Spector was, and how much havoc he wreaked on her life, along with others including the woman he murdered in 2003. It certainly proves that what you see is not always what you get, and I have a ton of respect for the way she has carried on through life with dignity and perseverance.