Friday, August 28, 2009

And Another RIP

Ellie Greenwich died Wednesday at 68. She wrote part of the soundtrack of my teenage years. Among the most famous songs that list Greenwich as a songwriter are the Ronettes’ “Be My Baby” and “Baby, I Love You,” the Shangri-La’s “Leader of the Pack,” the Dixie Cups’ “Chapel of Love,” Tina & Ike Turner’s “River Deep, Mountain High” and the Crystals’ “Then He Kissed Me” and “Da Doo Ron Ron.”

In 2004 Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest songs of all time included six by Ellie Greenwich and her husband and writing partner, Jeff Barry – more than by any other songwriting team. They had 17 singles in the pop charts of 1964, surpassed only by John Lennon and Paul McCartney of the Beatles and the Americans Holland, Dozier and Holland.

When, in the spring of 1962, the songwriter Jerry Leiber discovered 21-year-old Ellie Greenwich singing at a piano in the Brill Building in New York, he thought she sounded like Carole King, but looked more like the comedienne Judy Holliday. He observed a strapping young woman wearing a college blazer over a prim blouse with a Peter Pan collar, her hair teased into a platinum helmet. Source: Telegraph

Ms. Greenwich was in her early 20s when she joined the celebrated Brill Building school of songwriters, named for the New York workplace of such renowned pop tunesmiths as Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, Doc Pomus, Neil Sedaka, Gerry Goffin and Carole King.

With her then-husband Jeff Barry, Ms. Greenwich teamed with producer Phil Spector and turned out one Top 40 hit after another. Their songs, often written from a feminine point of view, helped define the infectious "girl group" sound of the early 1960s popularized by the Ronettes, Crystals and Shangri-Las, among others.
Ms. Greenwich was elected to the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1991. Describing her partnership with Barry in 2001, she said, "Wherever our heartbeats were, they were kind of all beating together. We thought along the same lines. We were hopeful romantics, and our songs came out that way." Source: Washington Post


Beth said...

Some classic songs. RIP Ms. Greenwich.

Howard said...

What great songs. She will be missed. RIP, Ellie.

Rhea said...

Wow, I had no idea who she was. Thanks for introducing me to her.