22. The Ronettes, 'Be My Baby'
Writers: Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich, Phil Spector
Released: Aug. '63
13 weeks; No. 2
Phil Spector rehearsed this song with Ronnie Bennett (the only Ronette to sing on it) for weeks, but that didn't stop him from doing 42 takes before he was satisfied. Aided by a full orchestra (as well as a young Cher, who sang backup vocals), Spector created a lush, echo-laden sound that was the Rosetta stone for studio pioneers such as the Beatles and Brian Wilson, who calls this his favorite song. "The things Phil was doing were crazy and exhausting," said Larry Levine, Spector's engineer. "But that's not the sign of a nut. That's genius."
Appears on: The Best of the Ronettes (ABKCO)