The Aged P

…just toasting and ruminating….

30 April
Comments Off on Be My Baby (The Ronettes)…..Half A Century Ago But It Still Sets My Pulse Racing…..

Be My Baby (The Ronettes)…..Half A Century Ago But It Still Sets My Pulse Racing…..

Recorded half a century ago – and it still knocks the socks off most of the stuff being pumped out today. Phil Spector might not be the person you would want to spend the night with but he was a musical genius – as for the Ronettes – wow – they…smouldered…..

Ronnie was the lead, backed by her older sister Estelle and her cousin Nedra….the beehives, the dark eye shadow, the tight dresses – they weren’t the girls you would take home to your mum (well, that was the image)

DP: The Ronettes have been described as the first bad girls of rock. How did you get that reputation?

NTR: It wasn’t that we were bad, it was just that we were the ones with the big beehives. We developed our hairstyle, the beehive, the dark eye makeup … We set the mode for the big hair, we set the mode for the dark eye makeup. Then, we were dancers, too. So we wore a lot of dresses that had a slit on the side. In the ’60s, a lot of the dresses were very tapered down at the leg. We had to have a slit for dancing. We were the first to do the shaking, with the fringe. We had the outfits that had the fringe. Also, our songs sang to boys, where other girl groups sang about boys.

Fame didn’t bring happiness to Estelle or, initially, to Ronnie. Nedra was more fortunate and looks back on those days with perspective. In 2007 the girls were reunited on stage for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame though Estelle was too fragile to sing and only came on afterwards to thank the audience. Just two years later she died in tragic circumstances.

But, whatever the highs and lows of life we can still lock into our memories that magical moment in 1963 when the world was ours….

The Ronettes - Nedra, Ronnie & Estelle

The Ronettes – Nedra, Ronnie & Estelle

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02 July
Comments Off on Almost Fifty Years Ago – But These Songs Still Sound Good To This Old Man…..

Almost Fifty Years Ago – But These Songs Still Sound Good To This Old Man…..

The big hits of 1963….

Difficult to believe that all these came out almost half a century ago (when I had just started out as a teacher) but each of them still gives me a buzz today, not just as a stroll down memory lane but because they are also still damn good songs.

The Exciters were one hit wonders but what a hit! I defy anyone not to move on this one….

The Drifters, of course , were far from one hit wonders with a whole stream of great songs throughout the 60s. They cornered the market in slightly slower paced, almost wistful numbers…..songs to sing after you had come home from partying with the Exciters…

Roy Orbison was unique – a great songwriter and that soaring falsetto. He wrote about heartache and sad times, reflective numbers that mirrored the ups and downs of life..with always just a touch of angst…

But 1963 was also the year the Beach Boys burst onto the scene, making me wish I could leave my South London suburb and hit the beaches in California and impress those bikini clad golden tanned girls as I efforlessly rode the waves…in my imagination…

Then Ray Charles came out with this self mocking anthem celebrating the inevitable outcome of spending all that money on surfing gear and ending up broke…

But then just one look at the Ronettes with their big hair, heavy eyeliner and those swinging hips in tight dresses and you were ready to spend all the money you didn’t have just to catch their eye…even though you knew your mother wouldn’t approve…..

Happy days when great music helped to spin our dreams in those brief moments away from the real world of school, college or work…..and they still fire the imagination of this senior citizen…..

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