Between the end of 2019 and the start of February 2020 the following events transpired:
- My Dad had a stroke
- My dog got sick and we thought she might need surgery (luckily she didn’t)
- A former colleague/friend passed away from cancer
- My Father-in-law was given a few months to live (also cancer)
So, when a friend posed the following question to me; “If you were forced to choose, “Be My Baby” or “Leader of the Pack” which would you pick?” I felt so relieved. There is nothing better to serve as a distraction than a question like this. Yes, it’s a hard one, but dwelling on a Ronettes vs The Shangri-Las scenario is much preferable to my brain compared to the list above.
Be My Baby:
- Phil Spector. I’m a sucker for Phil Spector. I know he killed someone and he is in jail. But, if you read this book, you might feel differently about him. Sure, he is most likely a total creep. But, at the same time, I can’t help but have a soft spot for him. He’s a real outsider/uncool guy (very clearly so until he became famous and then because he was famous people tried/wanted to like him). Those are the kind of people I relate to. I like you Phil, and I like how you made things sound.
- Obviously a hit. But, that might also be the problem. As in, this song is pllllllaaaaaayyyyyyeeeeedddddd out. It was on the Dirty Dancing Soundtrack and probably a million other soundtracks (no research was completed to validate this statement). It is often on the radio. Maybe too often?
- Hal Blaine and the Wrecking Crew. That’s them on this song. And damn! Do they sound good or what?
- Not sure how much I relate to the Ronettes. I mean I love them. I adore them. But, can I imagine being one of them? I cannot.
- Cool hair. The Ronettes had very cool hair.
Leader of the Pack:
- Written by Shadow Morton. Just got into learning about him in 2019. Yet another loser/outsider who was in the right time and place. If you never did any research on him you should hop to it.
- I love the “teenage tragedy” genre. I just can’t get enough. I used to listen to “Last Kiss” on the oldies radio station as a kid and I would feel so much empathy for everyone involved. Sounds silly, but it’s true. My Dad once said of “Last Kiss” that it’s a “we better hurry up and have sex now because we could be dead any minute” type of song.
- Piano is killer.
- Their accents are killer.
- Mary Weiss’ voice is so swell. Very similar to Madonna’s in a way. Not perfect. But perfectly not perfect. You know what I mean?
- The bass!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
- The desperation!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
- When I first started having crushes on people (elementary school) I always had a weakness for the boys in my class who were “bad.” I felt certain that I could help them. Help them with what I’m not sure. Because if I helped them to be less “bad” wouldn’t that most likely result in my losing interest? Anyway, if you were the same way, you intrinsically already know what I mean. “Bad” is interesting. “Bad” is appealing. “Bad” is something you think maybe you can heal?
- “I met him at the candy store.” Need I say more?
- There is only one thing I would change about this song. I would like a loud snare hit after “whatcha mean when you say that he came from the wrong side of town?”
- Finally, if there was no “Leader of the Pack” there would be no “Bat Out of Hell.” Jim Steinman is a hero. LISTEN TO THE ENTIRE ALBUM WITH AN OPEN MIND. Forget every karaoke version of “Paradise…..” you’ve ever heard. “Bat Out of Hell” is the tropiest/most genius album ever made.
In short, I have made my decision. The winner is: