by Robert Wilkinson
Besides the amazing Ian Anderson, it’s also the birthday of of two vocalists who defined the 60s and gave us songs we’ll remember forever. Prepare for some incredible performances by the legendary Ronnie Spector and blue eyed Soul Righteous Brother Bobby Hatfield!
First, a big happy birthday to the great Bobby Hatfield. He was the soaring tenor of the Righteous Brothers. One of the top groups in the 60s, Bill Medley (September 19, 1940) and Bobby Hatfield (August 10, 1940 – November 5, 2003) could send cold chills through your spine with their intertwined soulful melodies and harmonies! While Bill sang the low register, Bobby sang the soaring lead on “Unchained Melody” and “Ebb Tide.” For your birthday enjoyment, here are the Righteous Brothers!
Here they are in b/w on Shindig doing their first major breakthrough, the Phil Spector produced blue eyed Soul monster hit "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling." Here they are again in 2003 at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductions in great form doing "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling."
Also from 1966, here’s Bobby’s greatest triumph! For your chilling remembrance, the great Bobby Hatfield singing “Unchained Melody” (the notes he closes with are unbelievable!)
From 1965, a great live performance of "Just Once In My Life."
Here they are on Shindig’s first episode in 1964 doing a dynamite song that Bill wrote and Mitch Ryder later rode into the top 20, "Little Latin Lupe Lu." Also from Shindig in 1964, the Righteous Brothers doing "Let The Good Times Roll"
I found a great 15 minute clip of several Righteous Brothers performances on Shindig! For your enjoyment, the Righteous Brothers live performing “Justine,” “Just Once In My Life,” “Little Latin Lupe Lu,” “The Night Time is the Right Time,” and a brief clip of “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” (in the segment of “The Night Time” they’re backed by the Blossoms and Darlene Love, the voice of the Crystals and “He’s A Rebel”)
Also from Shindig in 1965, Bobby and Bill live, backed by the Blossoms, doing 7 minutes of “Unchained Melody” and “Fare Thee Well”
Speaking of gospel, here are the Righteous Brothers live! “You’ll Never Walk Alone”
From 1981, here are the Brothers doing a live performance of their final major hit, "Rock and Roll Heaven."
For our finale, Bobby and Bill live in 1983 at LA’s Roxy Theatre! We start with “The Old Time Rock and Roll”
Want more? Here’s Bobby and Bill doing the Sam and Dave monster hits, “Hold On I’m Comin’” and “Soul Man”
Finishing this brief set at the Roxy, here’s a 15 minute medley of “Ebb Tide,” “Georgia On My Mind,” “Let It Be Me,” “Guess Who,” “Just Once In My Life,” and “Rock and Roll Heaven”
For our encore, we'll finish Bill's birthday salute with 59 minutes of the Righteous Brothers performing live. The Righteous Brothers – Legends in Concert
And now, we send a huge happy birthday to one of the most distinctive voices in the history of pop music, Ms. Veronica Bennett, better known to the world as the legendary Ronnie Spector! The Ronettes, fronted by the incredible voice of Ronnie Spector (August 10, 1943), were one of the archetypal “girl groups” of the early 60s, backed by Phil Spector’s “wall of sound” provided by the Wrecking Crew.
Ronnie quickly went to the top of the charts, and was easily one of the most loved “chick singers” of the 60s. She was tight with many of the best of the best, including John Lennon and Keith Richards while in England touring, and was a primary influence on the songwriting of Brian Wilson.
Ronnie had one of the toughest lives possible. While Phil Spector was a genius and instrumental in creating the “girl group” sound in the early 60s via the “wall of sound” behind the Ronettes, the Crystals, the Blossoms, and many others along the way, he was also bats**t crazy, and was not nice to our birthday girl. Her story is legend. She is a true survivor of abuse like few have ever known.
By the early 70s, she had split with him, and gone on to give us many years of fantastic performances. To note, Phil now sits rotting in prison for the rest of his life on a murder conviction while Ronnie is happy with the love of her life, having fun performing again, and getting the love she richly deserves. I suppose once in a while we really do get a happy ending!
Today we celebrate the birthday of a fantastic Leo talent of the ages!
From 1965 on Shindig, the Ronettes performing “Be My Baby”
From the Big TNT Show in November 1965, one of the Ronettes’ last shows! “Be My Baby”
From November 1963, the studio version by the Ronettes of “Baby I Love You”
From Christmas 1963 and my favorite Christmas album, the studio version of the Ronettes performing "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus"From 1964, here’s the studio version by the Ronettes, done by Ronnie in one take, of “Walking In the Rain” “Walking In the Rain”
From 1966, the studio version by the Ronettes of their last hit, the beautiful “I Can Hear Music”
Brian Wilson was so taken by the tune, he had the Beach Boys doing their own great version! I found this great live performance clip of Ronnie accompanied by Brian Wilson in 2000 doing “I Can Hear Music”
From the same gig, Brian taking the lead in homage to Ronnie! “Be My Baby”
Here’s the original studio version of the Ronettes performing Brian’s great Beach Boys hit, “Don’t Worry Baby” (From wiki, “Brian Wilson cited the song as his attempt to capture the essence of his all-time favorite record, “Be My Baby” by the Ronettes”)
Here are the Beach Boys live in 1969 featuring the incredible voice of Carl Wilson doing Brian's arrangement of "I Can Hear Music"
From 1977, here’s Ronnie live on television doing the 1976 hit written by Billy Joel inspired by Ronnie. Ronnie’s original cover featured the E Street Band backing her! “Say Goodbye To Hollywood”
Here’s the original studio version with the E Street Band with “the big man’s” sax wailing! “Say Goodbye to Hollywood”
Our birthday girl found herself on the peak of her game again in 1986 when she dueted with Eddie Money on his smash hit “Take Me Home Tonight.” For your enjoyment, from the Solid Gold television show in 1986, here’s Eddie performing “Take Me Home Tonight – featuring Ronnie Spector
Here’s the original b/w music video of Eddie and Ronnie doing “Take Me Home Tonight”
Now we fast forward in time to see Ronnie live at “All Love All Woodstock” in 2010. Here she is performing “Walkin’ in the Rain”
Live at the Lincoln Center in 2011, here’s Ronnie performing “Baby I Love You”
We’ll close this birthday tribute to this amazing talent with several clips of the Ronettes’ induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame! The first clip is Keith Richards at his irreverent best inducting the Ronettes. As can be clearly seen, Keith Richards is the only one in the world who could get away with this, so it’s truly one of a kind! And it really is very funny, in a Kief Richards sort of way....Keith Richards inducts the Ronettes into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
11 minutes of speeches by the ladies, mainly Ronnie: The Ronettes accept their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductions 2007
The Ronettes perform a perfect version of “Baby I Love You”
Ronnie, thanks for 50 years of music that pulls you in and makes you feel warm inside. These tunes will last forever. Oh, and Bobby – “if there’s a rock and roll heaven, you know they have a helluva band!” Your tenor will also last forever.
© Copyright 2014 Robert Wilkinson