I had a Japanese import of the Ronettes Greatest Hits on vinyl. I got it on one of my record-and-book shopping forays into Boston, perhaps the happiest moments of my teen years. The record was a beautiful thing. The sleeve was made out of that flimsy Japanese cardboard some of you will remember, and it had this cover art, but with different lettering. I suppose I still have it in the basement. I got it during the apex of my punk rock phase, circa 1980 (senior year in high school), but I loved 60s pop and garage rock just as much. The Ronettes were about the only challengers to Rocket to Russia and the Ramones Leave Home as go-to records — not the ones you think you should like, but the ones you actually play for yourself because you want to. Of course, this was back when punk was really pop, anyway, before it turned horrible, i.e. hardcore. And the Ronettes were of course among the all-time queens of girl-pop — OK, the greatest, so sayeth Lex — so it is not so much of a stretch.
I used to listen to that Ronettes album with earphones on at blaring volume when I was supposed to be sleeping, and be half-asleep, hallucinatorily half-dreaming, in the dark, engulfed by the “wall of sound”, floating in an auditory ocean of Spectorian grandeur and romanticism.
I suppose it was a drug-equivalent for a teenager who did not use drugs.
Here are the girls back in the day.
The kids in the crowd do not yet know they can stand up and get groovy, since it is only 1964 and it is still the last trailing end of the Beaver Cleaver era. So they just remain seated and head-jam and clap. After them, the deluge.
Ronnie looks like she is having such a blast just being on stage. In 2006, I smile just seeing her smile, even though this show happened 42 years ago.
I can understand perfectly well why Brian Wilson fell in love with Ronnie Spector, wrote “Don’t Worry Baby” (his greatest song) for her, worshipped her from afar, then had a nervous breakdown.