”Da Doo Ron Ron” was one of the first songs Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry ever handed Phil Spector, and one, Greenwich merrily confessed, that meant absolutely whatever you wanted it to. Indeed, although countless interpretations of the title have been delivered up over the years, Greenwich and Barry’s own recollection is that they’d simply run out of words to fit the tune, so they ad-libbed in the hope that something better would present itself. When it didn’t, they relied on the listener’s imagination to fill in the blanks. Which, of course, it did.
Phil Spector intended the song as the follow-up to the Crystals “He’s A Rebel”, but he did not reckon with that song’s vocalist, Darlene Love, demanding that, this time, she receive some sort of credit on the record. Spector initially seemed amenable to her request, assuring her it would be done and insisting, even as they worked on the song, that his lawyer was drawing up the contracts. But not until Love walked out of the studio with just a few more vocal lines remaining, furious that Spector had forgotten the document once again, was the contract finally delivered. And when she did finally sign, Spector cancelled the single altogether.
He did not cancel the performance, however. The Crystals themselves had recently brought a new member on board, as 15-year-old Dolores “La La” Brooks replaced the pregnant Mema Girard, an event that completely rejuvenated the group, both as an act in their own right, and as a power in Spector’s eyes. Forgetting there had ever been a time when he refused to let the group sing on their own singles, he rushed them into the studio to cut a new vocal over the existing backing track. Once there, Brooks’ treatment of “Da Doo Ron Ron”, so vastly different to Love’s knock-out assault, enchanted him from the moment he even imagined it. By the time he had it down on tape, it was mesmerising, and the resultant single, in April 1963, was destined for a Top 3 place.