Thursday, August 27, 2009

Birds all sing as if they knew.

Ellie Greenwich, October 23, 1940 – August 26, 2009. Legendary co-writer of numerous pop songs from the '60s, when it was rare for a woman to be on the behind-the-scenes end of the music business, and much more rare for a woman to succeed there. And by "legendary," I mean legendary. Ms. Greenwich penned tunes such as "Chapel of Love," "Leader of the Pack," "River Deep - Mountain High," and so on. As a performer, she was the lead-and-background singer of the "girl group" The Raindrops, a duo made up of Ellie and her husband/songwriting partner, even though the group allegedly featured two females--album artwork featured a photo of Ellie's sister Laura, who otherwise had nothing to do with the band. On the rare occasion of public performances, Laura appeared onstage but merely lip-synched into a dead microphone. Ellie Greenwich was also credited with the discovery of Neil Diamond, and even provided background vocals on a number of his songs. Even if '60s pop music isn't your thang, you have to admire the sheer volume of her body of work, and the fact that she made a name for herself in a boys' club like the record industry of 40-some years ago. RIP.

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