Thursday, August 27, 2009

Ellie Greenwich, immortal...

It’s odd the way the deaths of public figures affect us. I was not deeply affected by Michael Jackson’s death, and Ted Kennedy’s passing is sad, but it came as no surprise.

But Ellie Greenwich’s death did affect me. I stayed up for hours last night listening to her music, downloading songs I didn’t have, reading about her, posting up videos on Facebook, sipping bourbon, and crying.

The songs she wrote became part of our culture, our life, just as much as the songs of the Beatles did, or Irving Berlin, or Cole Porter, or those of one of her greatest fans, Brian Wilson.

Chapel of Love

And Then He Kissed Me

Goodnight Baby

I Can Hear Music

Do Wah Diddy Diddy

Da Do Ron Ron

Hanky Panky

Leader Of The Pack

Out In The Streets

River Deep, Mountain High

Today I Met The Boy I’m Gonna Marry

Why Do Lovers Break Each Other’s Hearts?

Not Too Young To Get Married

And dozens more. She was blessed with amazing collaborators like Jeff Barry and Phil Spector, and doubly blessed with amazing interpreters of her songs like the Ronettes and the Shangri-Las and Lesley Gore. She was a soulful and completely honest singer in her own right and a great producer. She answered her fan mail.

Ellie was irreplaceable, and she will live forever.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nice tribute to Ellie Greenwich. I didn't know she wrote so many good songs.

Her music will never be forgotten.

Manny said...

Beautiful tribute, Dan. I thought I knew a lot about popular music, but I had no idea she wrote all those songs.

Dan Leo said...

...and there are so many more great songs from Ellie.

dianne said...

Do you have a link to the complete list?
She was a genius.

Dan Leo said...

Di, I haven't found a complete list of Ellie's songs, but this page has a good partial list:

http://www.elliegreenwich.com/musicography.htm

kathleenmaher said...

I didn't know about her and am sorry. I'm not even that familiar with her songs other than "River Deep." (Typical me.)
I read somewhere she was the first woman producer. Whether someone else was or not doesn't matter. You're right: she's immortal.

Dan Leo said...

Kathleen, it's funny -- for my age group her songs were definitely part of the zeitgeist when I was a pre-adolescent and after. But over the past year or so I had been getting more and more into her work, and I just love it. The songs are just such pure emotion -- the whole gamut from sheer joy to sadness. But I think most of Ellie's songs were about joy, and her melodies expressed this emotion beautifully.

kathleenmaher said...

That's a lovely tribute to her, too, Dan. Imagine being remembered for calling up joy and happiness for everyone and anyone.
And beautiful songs do not die. That's one belief I never doubt.

Dan Leo said...

So true, Kathleen. "Vita" can be all too "brevis", but -- "ars longa".

And I wonder if there were any woman recording producers before Ellie? None that I know of...

Jennifer said...

Dan- you were the first person I thought of when I heard the news.

She was indeed a talent.

Dan Leo said...

You know me like a book, Jen. And you know I hardly ever put non-fiction pieces up, but for Ellie I just had to make an exception. PS: I put up another nice early Ellie tune (one of her own records) in my latest post, "Another Boy Like Mine".

Dan Leo said...

Hey, Dianne, my friend Dean Rohrer (an excellent singer and songwriter himself) posted this long list of Ellie's songs on his Facebook page. The amazing thing is that I'm sure there are even more songs from her (I'm going to break up the list into two comment boxes, because it's too long for one):

AND THEN HE KISSED ME
ALL GROWN UP
ANOTHER BOY LIKE MINE
BABY
BABY BE MINE
BABY I LOVE YOU
BAD AS THEY COME
BE MY BABY
BE MY LOVER, BE MY FRIEND
BOYS IN THE ATTIC
BUT YOU LIED
CHA CHA CHA CHARMING
CHAPEL OF LOVE
CHRISTMAS (BABY PLEASE COME HOME)
CONFIDENTIAL
DA DOO RON RON
DANCE WITH ME MARIE
DO WAH DIDDY DIDDY
DO YOU REALLY BELIEVE
DON’T EVER LEAVE ME
DON’T TAKE YOUR LOVE AWAY FROM ME
DOWN ON MY KNEES
EVEN THOUGH YOU CAN’T DANCE
EVERY BOY AND EVERY GIRL
EVERYBODY COME CLAP YOUR HANDS
FINE, FINE BOY
FIVE SEVENTEEN
FRIDAY
FRIDAY KIND OF MONDAY
GEE BABY GEE
GEE THE MOON IS SHINING BRIGHT
GETTIN’ TOGETHER
GIRL LIKE THAT
GIRLS CAN TELL
GIVE US YOUR BLESSING
GONNA GET MYSELF TOGETHER
GONNA HAVE A PARTY TONIGHT
GOOD GOOD LOVIN’
GOODNIGHT BABY
HANKY PANKY
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY
HE AIN’T NO ANGEL
HE LOVES ME I CAN TELL
HE TELLS ME WITH HIS EYES
HE’S GOT THE POWER
HEARTBREAKER
HEAVEN ONLY KNOWS
HERE SHE COMES
HICKORY DICKORY DOCK
HIP SHAKER, HEART BREAKER
HOLD ON BABY
HOW CAN I TELL HER
HOW COULD HE
HOW FINE CAN ONE GUY BE
I CAN HEAR MUSIC
I DIDN’T MEAN TO HURT YOU
I DON’T WANNA BE LEFT OUTSIDE
I DON’T WANT NOBODY IF I CAN’T HAVE YOU
I GO I GO
I GOT A DREAM
I HAVE A BOYFRIEND
I HEAR THE GRASS SINGIN
I HEAR YOU SAY
I KNOW IT’S ALL RIGHT
I LOVE YOU
I NEED MUSIC
I NEED YOU AND WANT YOU
I WANNA LOVE HIM SO BAD
I WANNA MARRY EARLY
I WANT YOU
I WANT YOU FOR MY BOYFRIEND
I WANT YOU FOR MY SWEETHEART
I WISH I KNEW HOW TO MAKE YOU
I WISH I NEVER SAW THE SUN SHINING
I WISH IT WOULD RAIN ALL SUMMER
I WON’T CRY
I WONDER
I’D RATHER NOT KNOW
I’LL NEVER NEED MORE THAN THIS
I’LL NEVER RUN OUT OF LOVE FOR YOU
I’LL STILL LOVE YOU
I’LL TAKE YOU WHERE THE MUSIC’S PLAYIN’
I’M SO AFRAID OF YOU
IF I KNEW THEN WHAT I KNOW NOW
IF YOU LOVED ME ONCE
ISN’T THAT LOVE
IT HURTS SO BAD (DRIP DROP)
IT WAS ME YESTERDAY
IT’S SO STRANGE
IT’S SO WONDERFUL
JUMP START MY HEART
KEEP ON DANCING
KEEP TELLIN’ YOURSELF
KIND OF BOY YOU CAN’T FORGET
LEADER OF THE PACK
LET THE SUN SHINE
LET’S GO TOGETHER
LIES AND ALIBIS
LILLY LOU
LINDY WITH ME CINDY
LITTLE BELL
LITTLE BIT OF EVERYTHING
LITTLE BOY
LITTLE BOY’S LULLABY
LITTLE LOVE GOES A VERY LONG WAY
LONG TIME COMIN’, A
LOOK AT HIM
LOOK OF LOVE
LOOK WHAT YOU’VE DONE TO MY HEART
LOVE A MY LIFE
LOVE CAN MAKE YOU SING
MARVIN

Dan Leo said...

More Ellie songs, courtesy of Dean Rohrer's research:

MAYBE I KNOW
MORE LIKE A MILLION YEARS
MORE THAN A MAN
MR. MAGIC MOON
MY BABY WANTS TO BE A SINGER
MY BABY’S ONLY A DREAM
MY HEART BEAT A LITTLE FASTER
MY LITTLE SWEETPEA
MY MAMA DON’T LIKE HIM
NOBODY BUT YOU
NOT TOO YOUNG TO GET MARRIED
NOTHIN’ WENT RIGHT
NOW I LAY ME DOWN TO CRY
OH MARY DON’T YOU WEEP
ONE BOY TOO LATE
ONE MORE TEAR
ONE TIME IN A MILLION
OUR LOVE CAN STILL BE SAVED
OUR LOVE IT GROWS
OUT IN THE STREETS
OVER HILLS, OVER MOUNTAINS
OVERNIGHT
PALMIST
PEOPLE SAY
PLEASE MAKE THE LOVE GO AWAY
PRETTY THING
RIGHT BACK WHERE I STARTED FROM
RIGHT TRACK, WRONG TRAIN
RIVER DEEP, MOUNTAIN HIGH
RUN FOR MY LIFE
RUN RUN RUNAWAY
SEE FOR YOURSELF
SHE AIN’T NO ANGEL
SHE HANGS OUT
SHE’S GONE BLUES, THE
SHORT SKIRTS
SILLY ISN’T IT
SOMEDAY I’LL STOP LOVING YOU
SPRING FEVER
SUNSHINE AFTER THE RAIN, THE
SURRENDER
SWEET LAURIE, FAIR LAURIE
SWEET SWEETHEART
SWIM
SWINGIN’ WEDDING
TAKE IT FROM A GUY WHO KNOWS
TAKIN’ CARE OF EACH OTHER
TALK ABOUT ME
THAT BOY IS MESSIN’ UP MY MIND
THAT BOY JOHN
THAT CERTAIN SOMEONE
THAT’S ALL I EVER WANT FROM YOU
THAT’S WHAT THEY SAID
THERE IT GOES
THINGS THAT YOU SAY
THIS IS IT FOR ME
THOSE COUNTRY GIRLS
TODAY I MET (THE BOY I’M GONNA MARRY)
TRAIN FROM KANSAS CITY, THE
TRUE TRUE LOVE
TRY
TULIO
UNTIL TOMORROW
VALLEY OF DESPAIR, THE
WAIT TILL MY BOBBY GETS HOME
WAITING FOR THE DAY TO COME
WAITING FOR YOU
WALKIN’ ALONE
WHAT A GUY
WHAT EVERY TEENAGER GOES THROUGH
WHAT GOOD IS I LOVE YOU
WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING
WHAT’S A GIRL SUPPOSED TO DO
WHEN THE BOY’S HAPPY
WHEN YOU CRY
WHEN YOU GOT LOVE YOU GOT EVERYTHING
WHISPER SWEET THINGS
WHO ARE YOU GONNA LOVE THIS WEEK (MR. LIFEGUARD)
WHY DO LOVERS BREAK EACH OTHER
WHY DON’T THEY LET US FALL IN LOVE
YOU DON’T KNOW
YOU GOT WHAT I LIKE
YOU SHOULD HAVE SEE THE WAY
YOU SHOULD HAVE TOLD ME
YOUR TIME’S GONNA COME