Why The Ronettes’ ‘Be My Baby’ and Frank Sinatra’s ‘Strangers in the Night’ Have the Same Drumbeat

Frank Sinatra’s music became massively popular again in the mid-1960s, and one of his most famous songs from that era was “Strangers in the Night.” Notably, “Strangers in the Night” reuses the famous drumbeat from The Ronettes’ “Be My Baby.” During an interview, a notable musician explained why that was the case.

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

A drummer who played on The Ronettes’ ‘Be My Baby’ discussed what happened during Phil Spector’s sessions

Hal Blaine was the drummer who worked on “Be My Baby.” During an interview with The Guardian, he discussed his working relationship with Phil Spector. “I was Phil’s regular drummer,” Blaine said. “He was very superstitious. He always wanted the same studio, the same microphones, the same night — Friday.”

Blaine revealed what happened during Spector’s sessions. “For a normal session, you’d have piano, drums, bass, and guitar,” Blaine revealed. “But Phil would have at least three bass players and four pianists playing at the same time, with seven or eight guitarists strumming.”

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Hal Blaine reused a drumbeat on Frank Sinatra’s ‘Strangers in the Night’

Blaine revealed the drums from “Be My Baby” were an accident. “I was like a racehorse straining at the gate,” he recalled. “But [Spector] wouldn’t let me play until we started recording, because he wanted it to be fresh. That famous drum intro was an accident. I was supposed to play the snare on the second beat as well as the fourth, but I dropped a stick.”

Blaine left in the mistake and reused it on Sinatra’s “Strangers in the Night.” “Being the faker I was in those days, I left the mistake in and it became: ‘Bum-ba-bum-BOOM!’ And soon everyone wanted that beat. If you listen to me in Frank Sinatra’s ‘Strangers in the Night,’ I’m playing the ‘Be My Baby’ beat, just very softly.”

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The way the world reacted to The Ronettes’ ‘Be My Baby’ and Frank Sinatra’s ‘Strangers in the Night’

Both “Be My Baby” and “Strangers in the Night” became huge hits; however one was more popular. “Be My Baby” peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. It remained on the chart for 13 weeks. The song’s parent album, Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes Featuring Veronica, reached No. 96 on the Billboard 200 and lasted eight weeks on the chart.

“Strangers in the Night” became even more popular in the United States. The song hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for one week and stayed on the chart for 15 weeks in total. “Strangers in the Night” appeared on Sinatra’s album of the same name. The album spent one week atop the Billboard 200 and 73 total weeks on the chart. “Strangers in the Night” reused the drumbeat from “Be My Baby,” but it became more popular than the song that inspired it.

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