Coolest Beats Of All Time: "Be My Baby" by The Ronettes February 08 2018, 2 Comments
By Ben Kweller
When i was a little boy, we had a big old upright piano. it was out of tune and clunky, but I loved it! As music became a serious addiction for me, my parents decided to buy a better quality instrument to hone my skills on, so they gave the upright away. In the summer of 2005 my mom and dad surprised me with a gift. it was the old upright!!! They'd tracked it down through different friends in town and put it on the porch of their lake cabin up in east Texas. It was around this time of year, July 4th, when I started writing "Run" on that old piano. It was a serious rush to be reacquainted with an instrument I hadn't played in 20 years. It was so nostalgic and freeing. The song "Run" mirrors that exact feeling - The freedom to move forward while remembering your roots. "Be My Baby" is like that to. it make you feel happy but can also bring a tear to your eye. The first piece of music I wrote for "Run" was the piano intro. I instantly heard the "Be My Baby" beat under the riff. Sometimes beats are like that. They just work... The "We Will Rock You" beat is like that... so simple. so big. so perfect when combined with the right tune. I rarely think a beat makes the song. "Be My Baby" is a masterpiece with or without drums! It's a perfect song. BUT! When you have a perfect song and combine it with the right elements - beats, harmonies, etc... that's when you peak into the world of incredible production. When it comes to big, California hi-fi awesomeness (AKA the wall of sound), it begins with Phil Spector. This is a man who inspired a Beatle (John) and a Beach Boy (Brian). So I finished writing "Run" at the lake and headed back to NYC to begin pre-production on the album. I would be working with a legendary producer in his own right, Gil Norton. We set up at the Magic Shop with all the instruments in a big circle. I played every instrument on the album so we didn't have to worry about bleed. I would start with drums, lay those down, hop on the piano, overdub some guitars, glockenspiel, organ, whatever the song needed... After I sang all the vocals, Gil and I knew there was only one thing missing. Tambourines! Lots of 'em! The more the better! With the snare! Only on 4! Here we go!!!
Billboard Magazine ran an article in July 2017 about this exact subject. A lot of what I've said here is in the article as well as prospectives of other artists that have a similar love for the Ronettes and their classic drumbeat. If you wanna read more you can find the article here.