When our kids were little, we used to sing. All the time. And early on, many of the songs they loved were written by this woman: Ellie Greenwich. She was a tough cookie I think. She was also one of the great song writers of her generation. Ever heard Be My Baby? ("Bee my, bee my bay bee, my one and only baybee...") Chapel of Love? ("Goin' to the Cha pull and we're gonna' get ma a a reed") River Deep, Mountain High ?("Do I love you my oh my, river deep, mountain high" that was Tina Turner.) Ever hear of girl groups? Then you've heard of Ellie Greenwich. There's a reason she's in the Song Writers Hall of Fame. She died August 26, the same day as Senator Kennedy, so I'm a little late, but I have a lot to thank her for.
Freshman year we lived in a dorm with a big porch facing Seelye Hall, the main classroom building. We'd put our stereo speakers in the windows over the porch and blasted whatever we liked at the time, especially in the spring, as the snow melted and spirits rose. One of our classics was "Leader of the Pack." All of us, the Gang of Four as we were then, could re relied upon, for no reason, to belt out "Hey there, where'd you meet him?" to which another would reply (in song, of course, and I know you know this) "I met him at the candy stoh - ore." It sounds so silly, doesn't it? But it wasn't.
The tribal music Greenwich gave us was alive with the spirit that was all of us, before the War tore everything apart, when we just had fun and our minds were full of ideas and ambitions, and songs, and romantic daydreams, and songs, and learning how to be grown ups (slowly) and songs. And her songs were so universal, so full of a love of living and living for love - way before we even heard of our sister alums Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan. Somehow, as things became more serious, Doo Wa Diddy Diddy Dum Diddy Doo didn't flow off the tongue so easily. That's why I was so glad when a Broadway musical, Leader of the Pack, opened in the 80's and gave us another chance - and a great cast album, full of many of her greatest songs.
My own favorite is all tangled up in a memory. It was a sunny fall day and my six-year-old and I were walking down a street someplace in the Village. And we were arm-in-arm. And our walk had a rhythm - right feet at the same time, left feet at the same time, just the two of us. And the rhythm? It came because, together, crossing the nearly 30 years between us, together, we were singing -Da Doo Ron Ron."Not quite this great, but not bad, either. So thanks Ellie. And the rest of you - see for yourselves.