Be My Baby

The Ronettes

Song Review by Jason Ankeny

"Be My Baby" announces its arrival with arguably the most dramatic introduction in all of rock & roll -- Hal Blaine's drums are the Morse code of the gods -- and somehow just keeps getting better from there; the quintessential Phil Spector production, it begins as the Wall of Sound but ends up a full-blown Taj Mahal, a gleaming sonic temple erected in eternal tribute to Ronettes frontwoman (and the future Mrs. Spector) Veronica Bennett. Hot on the heels of the classic "Da Doo Ron Ron" and "Then He Kissed Me," "Be My Baby" unveils the complete scope of Spector's vision: a slow-burn pop symphony, it builds momentum with each passing verse, propelled by horse-gallop castanets and muted piano figures until it achieves maximum density in a majestic convergence of vocals, strings, horns, and thunderclap percussion. That Spector's most grandiose production to date would serve the least polished vocalist in his stable might seem like perverse irony, but in truth "Be My Baby" works because of Bennett, not in spite of her. While never a singer on par with, say, Darlene Love, her voice radiates pure baby-doll sexuality -- she somehow transforms the sweetly sappy sentiments of Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich's song into a veritable siren's call (her "whoa-oh-oh-oh" exclamations, reprised on the brilliant follow-up "Baby, I Love You," say it all), and the plaintive longing of the lyrics aside, there's never a moment of doubt that it's she who is the real object of desire here. Although it's been regularly covered in the years since, the Ronettes' original recording has never really gone away -- a staple of oldies radio, it's also something of a fixture on film soundtracks, used most effectively by Martin Scorsese over the opening credits of his early masterpiece Mean Streets before resurfacing over a decade later in the smash Dirty Dancing. No less an authority than Brian Wilson has declared "Be My Baby" the greatest pop record ever made -- no arguments here.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes Featuring Veronica 1964 Music on Vinyl
Phil Spector's 20 Greatest Hits 1977
Quadrophenia [Music from the Soundtrack of The Who Film] 1979 Polydor 2:31
Dirty Dancing [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack] 1987
Various Artists
RCA 2:37
Back to Mono (1958-1969) 1991 ABKCO Records 2:41
The Best of the Ronettes 1992 ABKCO Records 2:40
Girl Groups: The Story of a Sound [Video] 1994
Various Artists
Ultimate Dirty Dancing 2003
Various Artists
RCA 2:38
Wall of Sound: The Very Best of Phil Spector, 1961-1966 2011
Various Artists
Legacy / Phil Spector Records / Sony Music Distribution 2:42
Pure... Love 2011
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:41
The Essential Phil Spector 2011 Legacy / Sony Legacy 2:42
Haynes Ultimate Guide to the 60s 2011
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:43
Phil Spector Presents the Philles Album Collection 2011
Various Artists
Legacy / Sony Legacy / Sony Music 2:43
Pure... 60s 2012
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:42
Street Corner Symphonies: The Complete Story of Doo Wop, Vol. 15: 1963 2013
Various Artists
Bear Family Records 2:40
Playlist: Very Best of the Ronettes 2016 BMG / Sony Music 2:41
Be My Baby New World / Zebralution
Leonard Cohen's Jukebox: The Songs That Inspired The Man Chrome Dreams / United States of Distribution 2:32
Old School Oldies, Vol. 4
Various Artists
Thump Records 2:35
That Was Rock [Video]
Various Artists
Media Records
The Sock Hop Collection
Various Artists
Time Life 2:41
The Sockhop Collection: Be My Baby
Various Artists
StarVista 2:41
Time Life Presents: Greatest Love Songs of the 60's [5 Discs]
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:40
Women of the Sixties
Various Artists
Universal 2:30