‘Be My Baby’ and a Strange 1965 Visit to Parisi Bakery (Ronnie Spector RIP)
Ronnie Spector, the chanteuse who fronted the Ronettes in the 1960s with her signature vocal yearning, died yesterday. She was 78.
She passed after “a brief battle with cancer,” according to a statement from her family.
In tribute to her life and music, we’re re-publishing the following piece from a few years ago highlighting the strange music video shot for the song in Little Italy.
Thump-thumpthump-thwack. The night we met I knew I needed you so…
It’s one of the most iconic song openers in pop history, and it’s inextricably linked to Little Italy. Both in song and film.
Director and native son, Martin Scorsese, famously synchronized “Be My Baby” by the Ronettes to the opening credits of Mean Streets. The needle-drop heard round the world in 1973. The movie, of course, features several scenes across the streets of Little Italy. But the connection to place is deeper.
Ten years earlier, Phil Spector’s famous girl group shot a strange music video in the area. Predominantly in front of Parisi Bakery at 198 Mott Street, with the Empire State Building in the background. It aired during the onetime Murray The K – It’s What’s Happening, Baby TV special, hosted by the legendary rock-n-roll radio deejay.
Scope out the footage of Mott Street and the Parisi Bakery. The treatment itself is rather strange, with the three Ronettes crowding out a preppy guy who seems more interested in stuffing a hot dog down his throat. They then duck into the legendary business, and exit with three sandwiches. Murray the K concludes the clip by appearing from the basement level.
The Ronettes – Veronica Bennett (later known as Ronnie Spector), her older sister Estelle Bennett, and their cousin Nedra Talley – hailed from Spanish Harlem, and would eventually tour with The Beatles. “Be My Baby” is arguably their most well-known song, penned by Phil Spector, Ellie Greenwich, and Jeff Barry. It was recorded in 1963.
The Ronettes "Be My Baby" filmed June 1965 on Mott Street in NYC's Little Italy for 'It's What's Happening Baby!' a 90-minute American TV special hosted by radio deejay Murray the K. The track was recorded in July 1963 and features Hal Blaine on drums. pic.twitter.com/Du5gdY1vks
— Nikki Kreuzer (@NikkiKreuzer) March 12, 2019