In 2009, online obituary culture is so
obsessed with clicks, speed and getting it done rather than doing it
properly — just mindless hackwork, really, with one Wikipedia entry
rewritten on thousands of different websites — that it's difficult to judge the correct approach to a death such as that of songwriter Ellie Greenwich. We've never written about her before today, so it's hard to mark her passing without feeling mawkish or hypocritical, but while we've been trying to think about what to write and how to write it the one thing we've had trouble getting past is an inability to comprehend how it must feel to have written a song like 'Be My Baby'. Even for a songwriter it must be hard to really understand the feeling to have written a song like that. 'Be My Baby' is the sort of song that helped define pop, but to know you'd written a song like that (or, even, to have written just one line in a song like that) would surely be to know that you'd written something which was a little bit more than a pop song. It's the sort of tune that not only flicked the right switches and sold well enough to storm the charts around the world, but also, even generations later, ended up defining an era of pop music and, to some, the whole concept of being a teenager. The best pop songs are so often about teenage moments and teenage situations and the general lostness and patheticness of not really knowing what you're doing, who you are yet or why anything's happening. 'Be My Baby' does all that sort of stuff and hard as it is to imagine that it would be somehow possible to write a song that brilliant, it's just beyond comprehension that you would also have written this, and this, and this, and so many others that it makes your head almost explode. Literally, amazing.