If you stick around long enough, you’ll realize just how much I adore the Motown girl groups of the early ‘60s. Yet, Be My Baby by the Ronettes is perhaps my favorite. There is something downright haunting about the song and Ronnie Spector’s voice. In fact, some of my favorite Christmas songs are versions sung by the Ronettes as well.
Be My Baby demonstrates Phil Spector’s wall of sound so well. In fact, I can’t imagine the Ronettes sound without it. Yet, here I am probably the only person on the planet under the age of 50 to know what Phil Spector’s wall of sound is or who Phil Spector was. The funny thing is that it didn’t always work so well. I normally love it in the girl group music he helped produce, and yet, The Long and Winding Road and most of the Let It Be (1970) album is overproduced. I actually understood why the Beatles, led by Paul McCartney, released a stripped down version called Let It Be… Naked (2003) decades later, reimagining the entire album without Spector’s wall of sound. I actually prefer Naked.
Sadly, Ronnie, who happened to have befriended the Beatles at the height of their (and her) fame, passed away in January 2022. Her legacy lives on, and frankly, I can’t imagine a time when Be My Baby won’t be considered an absolute pop gem.
Ah, My Girl! I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know or love the song. I think it comes with being a girl who grew up in Michigan. As much as I love the song, it is the movie My Girl (1991) that holds the most memories. Per usual, Grandma Reid took my sister Erica and me to see it in the theater.
At that point in 1991, I was 10 years old and could relate to Vada. I happen to be roughly the same age as the protagonists (Vada and Thomas J.), and frankly, I could see myself becoming fast friends with Vada. She loved to write, had a great sense of fashion, and seemed like a lot of fun. I could imagine us dishing about our crushes as only preteen girls can. I felt for her when Thomas J. died.
After the movie, we headed over to KMart where my sister and I purchased a Temptations/Four Tops CD to share. The fact that we “shared” a CD highlights just how young we were. For the record, my sister and I have never had the exact same taste in music. I can think of only one other CD that we both purchased later on in our teen years. It wasn’t so much that our musical taste varied that much, it is just that we were very different teenage girls. Some of our best arguments were over what music to play in the car on that all-important 10 minute drive to school.
My Girl is timeless. It represents my love of Motown and will always remind me of the movie and a simpler time in my life.