How Ronnie Spector Learned Dick Clark Said The Ronettes’ ‘Be My Baby’ Was ‘the Record of the Century’

The girl groups of the 1950s and 1960s gave us some of the greatest music of that era. One of the notable girl groups of the period was The Ronettes. The Ronettes’ Ronnie Spector discussed what it was like when Dick Clark praised their signature song “Be My Baby.”

The Ronettes' Ronnie Spector, Estelle Bennett, and Nedra Talley Ross wearing blue dresses
The Ronettes’ Ronnie Spector, Estelle Bennett, and Nedra Talley Ross | GAB Archive/Redferns

Ronnie Spector discussed the origin of The Ronettes’ ‘Be My Baby’

During an interview with The Guardian, Spector discussed the origin of “Be My Baby.” She said the track was born out of Phil Spector‘s infatuation with her. While she performed lead vocals on the track, she wasn’t there while others worked on it.

“In the studio, I had to hide in the ladies’ room so the musicians could get their work done — I was very pretty and they’d keep looking at me,” Spector recalled. “While I was in there, I came up with all those ‘Oh oh ohs,’ inspired by my old Frankie Lymon records. It took three days to record my vocals, take after take.”

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How Dick Clark and others reacted to Ronnie Spector’s vocals for The Ronettes

Spector said musicians who worked on the song had a strong reaction to her voice. “The recording captures the full spectrum of my emotions: everything from nervousness to excitement,” she said. “When I came in with ‘The night we met I knew I needed you so,’ the band went nuts. I was 18 years old, 3,000 miles from home, and had all these guys saying I was the next Billie Holliday.”

Spector discussed hearing “Be My Baby” for the first time. “The first time I heard it, The Ronettes were on tour,” she remembered. “We were lying in bed watching Dick Clark’s American Bandstand when he said: ‘This is going to be the record of the century.’ And it was us!”

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The way the world reacted to ‘Be My Baby’

“Be My Baby” became a hit. The song reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, staying on the chart for 13 weeks. None of The Ronettes’ other singles reached the top 10 except for their version of the Christmas song “Sleigh Ride.” The Ronettes included “Be My Baby” on the album Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes Featuring VeronicaPresenting the Fabulous Ronettes Featuring Veronica reached No. 96 on the Billboard 200 and stayed on the chart for eight weeks.

“Be My Baby” became a hit in the United Kingdom as well. According to The Official Charts Company, the song hit No. 4 in the U.K. and stayed on the chart for 13 weeks. None of the group’s other singles performed as well there. Meanwhile, Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes Featuring Veronica did not impact the U.K. album chart. The Ronettes’ “Be My Baby” was the group’s most popular song and it remains a classic girl group track.

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