Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Sleigh Ride

This is one of my favorite holiday songs.  There are so many good versions of it but let's go with The Ronettes.

Ronnie Bennett had a girl group in the early 60's.  Her sister and her cousin or friend/whatever.  They caught the attention of Phil Spector who was the wunderkind of pop music in those days.  He was really a genius, with a vision and an ear for what was possible.  He created the Wall of Sound.  Of course with all the computer programs today and Auto-Tune and everything else available, anyone born after Phil Spector's triumph will wonder what's so great about the Wall of Sound.  It was like a huge wave of music crashing over you.  It was revolutionary.  No one else was doing it.  He became influential and very famous and most of his singers became very famous.  Darlene Love made it into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame this month.  She was his go-to singer.  She had so many fake names, she could have made it on the FBI list of 10 Most Wanted Women.  Ronnie was great too but she made the mistake of marrying Phil which pretty much tanked her career.  When, years later, she finally got away from him, Ronnie told horror stories about how crazy Phil Spector was, how he was abusive and kept her prisoner.  I don't think anyone believed her.  Fast forward 20 years and he's in jail for murder.  Okey Dokey.

I go into these details because they are a fine demonstration of character in action.  People don't behave in a vacuum.  There's always a reason and a motivation.  A story is not just simply plot it is also character being demonstrated through the choices the character makes.  And the arc of one's life is quite long so the past can suddenly be resurrected and impact the now most uncomfortably.

At any rate this version of Sleigh Ride is very enjoyable.

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