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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Buddy Beaverhausen Remembers Ellie Greenwich

Ellie Greenwich was born October 23, 1940 and died in 2009 of a heart attack due to complications from pneumonia, six years ago today, August 26, 1999. She was born in Brooklyn (isn't elmost everybody?) but, at age 10, moved with her family to Levittown, Long Island.

I grew up listening to Ellie's songs (written with then songwrting partner and hubby, Jeff Barry) on the radio on on my turntable. I loved these songs though, at the time, had no idea who wrote them. She and Barry frequently wrote for Phil Spector. She also recorded lead vocals as The Raindrops and as a solo artist. She and Barry were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1991.

I wore out most of the records on which she'd written the songs -- singles like "Be My Baby," "Da Doo Ron Ron," "Maybe I Know," "Chapel of Love," "He's Got the Power" and "River Deep, Mountain High" to name but a few.

In 1983, Ellie wrote a hit single for Nona Hendryx, "Keep It Confidential." She followed that up with the song, "Right Track, Wrong Train." It was written specially for Cyndi Lauper, whose voice Ms Greenwich admired. It appeared on the B-side of the original "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" 45.

Shortly thereafter, Alan Pepper ~ my old boss at The Bottom Line, and all-around great guy ~ had a show created around Ellie's songs. Leader of the Pack was such a long-running hit at the club, it was brought to Broadway, featuring Darlene Love, Annie Golden and Ms Greenwich herself. I was lucky enough to see both versions.

RIP, Ellie (Eleanor) Greenwich. Your quintessential pop songs are forever in our hearts and on our "turntables," whatever media that is nowadays.

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