Friday, August 28, 2009

A True "Leader of the Pack"

With so many high-profile deaths dominating the news lately, the passing of remarkable song writer and producer Ellie Greenwich has been largely over looked.

Ellie Greenwich died Wednesday, August 26, 2009 of a heart attack in New York after being treated for pneumonia. Not many people know Greenwich, but they certainly know her songs which include the Dirty Dancing favorite “Be My Baby” and “Chapel of Love”. These songs defined life as an American teenager in the 1960’s with innocent and na├»ve stories of first loves and heartbreaks.

While feminists may not appreciate Greenwich’s lyrics from songs like “Leader of the Pack” and “Da Doo Ron Ron” her accomplishments in the male-dominated music industry of the 60’s made her legendary. In an interview with National Public Radio, Greenwich said she got her start by writing songs for her cheerleading squad and grew to into a career managing girl groups and working with other famous singers such as Cindy Lauper, Neil Diamond, Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald.

In a reflection written by Greenwich herself in 2001 she comments rather humbly that she never thought her music would have the impact and longevity that it has. When she first got started, she explains how her concerns for the future were focused on her marriage and children—not her career.

Ultimately Greenwich wanted her songs to make people happy and it is truly difficult to hear a song like “Do Wah Diddy Diddy” and not smile.

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