Today's topic: how to make dance pop music, Spector style
The Crystals' - Da Doo Ron Ron
"I haven't heard of that song. What the hell is Da Doo Ron Ron?" you ask. Well, let me tell you that you have heard this song, and you've probably heard it a million times on oldies radio. Does this ring a bell?
I met him on a Monday and my heart stood still (da doo ron ron ron, da doo ron ron)
Somebody told me that his name was Bill (da doo ron ron ron, da doo ron ron)
Yes, my heart stood still
Yes, his name was Bill
And when he walked me home, da doo ron ron ron, da doo ron ron
Anyway, the point of this article is not to draw attention to the freaky lyrics, but to the first four measures of the song. Possibly one of the most energetic single chord intros ever committed to tape. The chord: Eb. The bpm: 150.
Here is the breakdown of instruments and how they're coping. Each measure is 4 counts.
Tenor sax: Plays a whole note during each measure. Only plays Eb.
Piano: Plays triplets (3 notes per count), but alternates between only two chords. I don't know what the chords are called, but they are the bottom two and top two notes of the Eb chord over a full octave, respectively. Whatever, I don't know how to say it more elegantly. Listen to the damn record.
Bass: Plays quarter notes (1 note per count). Only Eb. No fancy riffs here.
Handclaps: Quarter notes (1 clap per count)
Tambourine: Quarter notes, same as handclaps
Bass drum: Same as handclaps and tambourine
Last measure: Snare drums plays triplets, same rhythm as piano.
It's important to download the song or hear it on a CD. When they play it on the radio, the DJs would always talk over the intro, which I think is like defacing a national monument. Like if I were to graffiti "Keep listening for your chance to win on K-Earth 101" on the Vietnam War Memorial. By the way, KRTH 101.1 FM (Los Angeles) plays the stereo versions of the Righteous Brothers' "Unchained Melody" and "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling." Blasphemy. Speaking of idiot DJs, true fans of the art form do cringe when they hear a DJ introduce a Spector song with something like "now here's a song from the Righteous Brothers" when it's really from Phil Spector without Phil Spector there would be no Righteous Brothers. You know they turned their backs on Spector after their two big hits and recorded "(You're My) Soul and Inspiration" without Spector. So next time you hear that song, remember, it's only an imitation. But the biggest crime ever is how they never play "River Deep Mountain High" by Ike & Tina Turner. That song is the crowning achievement of Spector's career. And no, it's not that "Ain't no mountain high enough" song. This one is completely different. I feel like calling Cindy Davis at KOLA 99.9 FM to make it a lunchtime request, not for me but for the benefit of mankind. Did you know that Phil Spector also produced two of the most influential songs written in the last 35 years: "Imagine" and "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)." Bet you didn't know that, unless you're some kind of super music nerd. You say John Lennon wrote it? Well, John Lennon also wrote "Real Love" and left it in demo form, and "Imagine" could easily have ended up that way or turned into some lame acoustic song.