Da Doo Ron Ron

Album: The Crystals Sing the Greatest Hits, Volume 1 (1963)
Charted: 5 3
  • Phil Spector produced this song, marking his first real "Wall of Sound" production. He had a massive hit a few years earlier with To Know Him Is To Love Him by The Teddy Bears, but "Da Doo Ron Ron" provided the template for his unique studio sound that he would replicate on classic songs like "Be My Baby."

    He recorded it at Gold Star Studios in Los Angeles, packing all the musicians into a room that measured just 19 x 24 feet. Spector was meticulous about microphone placement, especially when it came to the drums (played on this track and many other Spector productions by Hal Blaine). He recorded the song in mono, which meant that every instrument was coming out of both speakers at full force, eschewing the nuance of stereo for the power of a single track.

    Spector wasn't big on editing or post-production, so he spent a lot of his studio time having the musicians run through the track before he would roll tape. Typically, he would have the guitarists play for a while while he worked out the song, then bring in pianos, bass, and drums. Vocals were recorded in an echo chamber located behind the control room at Gold Star. Among the background singers was one of Spector's favorites: Cher.
  • Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich wrote this song. The refrain of "da doo ron ron" came from nonsense syllables they stuck in as filler, but it was exactly what Phil Spector was looking for, since he didn't want a cerebral lyric getting in the way of his massive production and the tidy boy-meets-girl story line. Sonny Bono, who was also a record producer at the time and was hanging out at the sessions, recalls Spector asking if the song was "dumb enough," meaning is was accessible to the teenagers who were the target audience. Spector knew he had a hit with this one, telling Bono on playback, "That's solid gold coming out of that speaker."

    The song was gold for Spector, who was not just the producer of the track, but also got credit as a songwriter along with Barry and Greenwich, which is a testament to his influence in the studio.
  • There is a great deal of dispute over who sang lead on this track. Darlene Love, who was featured in the 2013 documentary 20 Feet From Stardom, has said that she was the lead singer on this song, which was recorded at Gold Star Studios in Los Angeles. Love sang lead on The Crystals' previous hits "He's A Rebel" and "He's Sure the Boy I Love" because Phil Spector called in her group The Blossoms to record those songs when The Crystals couldn't make it to Los Angeles. The songs were still credited to The Crystals, and Love claims that she expected her own single release to follow.

    Love has given various accounts of her side of the story, telling Katie Couric that she sang lead on "Da Doo Ron Ron," but backing off that claim in later interviews, saying that her lead vocals were wiped out and replaced by Crystals lead singer Dolores "La La" Brooks in retaliation by Spector when she asked him for an artist's contract. When the movie 20 Feet From Stardom - which featured Love - was released in 2013, The New York Times ran a story about the film that claimed Love sang lead on the song. Two weeks later, they ran a correction, stating: "While she did sing, it was as backup, not as the lead."

    Whether she appeared on the song at all is in dispute. The person who can best answer that question is Phil Spector, but since he was in jail when 20 Feet From Stardom was released, journalists couldn't use him to fact check Love's claims. La La Brooks, however, has her own account, which includes a phone call Spector made to his wife, Rachelle, who married him while his trial was going on. Brooks' friend, Roger L. Chemel, provided us with this photo of Brooks, Rachelle Spector, and Art Cohen (Brooks' manager), taken where this conversation took place. Here's the account:

    On August 27, 2012, La La Brooks and Art Cohen, La La's manager, met with Rachelle Spector after an attendance at the David Letterman Show in New York City. As the three of them joined to have dinner together at a local restaurant, Phil Spector called his wife Rachelle from the prison where he is incarcerated. La La recalls telling Rachelle to say "hi" to Phil. After the conclusion of this telephone call, La La Brooks explained the situation with Darlene Love claiming to have sung the original track of "Da Doo Ron Ron."

    Rachelle Spector tells La La Brooks and Art Cohen that she was flying back to California on August 28, 2012; and that she would explain the situation to Phil Spector. Rachelle Spector flies back to California for her allowed once a month visit on that date, and Rachelle explains to Phil what Darlene Love is saying. Phil Spector tells his wife that Darlene Love did not record a track of DDRR; that Darlene Love never sang background; and that Darlene Love was never a Crystal. Phil told Rachelle that he thought Darlene Love's voice was too mature and gospely for DDRR and never considered Darlene at all for the song. Rachelle called La La Brooks that day and told her what she found out from Phil Spector.
  • interview with La La Brooks, she talked about recording this song:

    "When I went to the studio to do 'Da Doo Ron Ron,' Phil had taught me the song. When I walked in the studio, all the musicians were there, and after they finished putting down the track, I sat there for hours. Me and Cher went out to get something to eat. We come back, they're still putting down the track. All of the sudden, when the track is finished, Phil says, 'La La, go in the booth and put down the song now.' I went in there, put down the song. I had trouble with (singing) 'Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.' I had trouble with that because he liked my ending, because it was my ending in my head, and he said, 'I want that again.' I had to double it, and it was hard for me to double it, because I couldn't get together with the 'Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,' and then (in lower voice), 'Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.' It was confusing. He said, 'La La, try it again.' And that's how we recorded it."
  • A version by Shaun Cassidy reached US #1 in 1977 (switching gender for the lyrics so "Bill" becomes "Jill").Cassidy, who was 18 years old at the time and better known as the half-brother of The Partridge Family star David Cassidy, claimed that he wanted to record it because it was the first record he ever bought. His version was his first hit, and it introduced the song to a new generation.

    Other artists who have covered this song include the Carpenters, Billy J. Kramer with the Dakotas, Jack Nitzsche, The Raindrops, and The Searchers.

    During the same year of this song's release, a French version by Frank Alamo was released in France and a German version by Ted Herold was released in Germany. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jerro - New Alexandria, PA
  • When Shaun Cassidy reached #1 with his version, he and Shirley Jones became the first mother and son to have separate #1 hits on the American singles chart. Shirley Jones previously reached peak position, when she sang on the Partridge Family's "I Think I Love You" in November 1970.
  • This became one of the most popular American Pop songs of the period in England. It was never a chart hit for any British group, but it was covered by all manner of acts on-stage and on-record. A 1974 reissue of the original single went to #15 in the UK.
  • La La Brooks of The Crystals recalled the recording of the song to Mojo magazine November 2011: "I sang Da Do Ron Ron over and over. Phil was sort of a perfectionist with that one. And I remember being pooped in the studio (laughs). I wanted to run out that door so fast but he kept going over and over. Thirty, 40 takes. I would say, 'When are you gonna get it, you know?'"
  • Some of the movie appearances of this song include The Flamingo Kid (1984), The Pick-up Artist (1987), Coupe de Ville (1990) and Flipped (2010).
  • Musicians on this track include Barney Kessel and Tommy Tedesco on guitar, Larry Knechtel and Leon Russell on piano, and Steve Douglas on saxophone. Douglas was also the contractor for the session, meaning he assembled the musicians. According to Douglas, his sax solo on this song was one of his favorites, but Phil Spector was going to put vocals over it. Douglas convinced him to leave it alone, and it became one of the most famous saxophone solos of the era.
  • According to the song's co-writer Jeff Barry, there was a great deal of debate over what day of the week the singer meets "Bill." Barry says that "met him on a Sunday and my heart stood still" would have made more sense, but "Monday" sings better. "Monday" won out, even though it's an unlikely day of the week to fall in love.
  • Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich set out to replicate their nonsense title success, and came up with "Do-Wah-Diddy," which was recorded by the female group The Exciters later in 1963. Their version made #78, but a cover by Manfred Mann was a transatlantic #1.
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Comments: 19

  • Aiken Nutz from Tahlequah OkPhenomenal hit. In 1963, I was in junior high & heard it on the radio when it first entered the Top 40. Wow! That "Wall of Sound" was wild back then!! I just had to have that record. And I got it just a few days later at a Woolworth's Dept. Store. That intense beat, fast pace, and the piano made this one of rock & roll's best! I don't think any other record had the drums going "full tilt" like that. Very cool classic !!
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn April 9th 1977, Shaun Cassidy lip-synced "Da Doo Ron Ron" on ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
    One month later, saved a day, on May 8th, 1977 it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #89...
    {See second post below}.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn February 13th 1972, Ian Matthews' covered version of "Da Doo Ron Ron (When He Walked Me Home)" entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #97; and for the next two weeks it was at #96 and then fell off the chart...
    As a solo artist, Ian Matthews had two other Top 100 records, "Shake It" {#13 in 1979} and "Give Me An Inch" {#67 in 1979}...
    And he charted three times as a member of Matthews' Southern Comfort; "Woodstock" {#23}, "Mare, Take Me Home" {#96}, and "Tell Me Why" {#98}, and they all charted in 1971.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn January 30th 1977, the TV series "The Hardy Boys Mystery Show", starring Shaun Cassidy and Parker Stevenson. debut on the ABC-TV network {It ran for three seasons, with a grand total of thirty-one episodes}...
    And just over three months later on May 8th, 1977 Shaun Cassidy's covered version of "Da Doo Ron Ron" entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #89; and nine weeks later on July 10th, 1977 it peaked at #1 {for 1 week} and spent 22 weeks on the Top 100...
    One week after reaching #1 on the Top 100 it peaked at #1 {for 1 week} on the Canadian RPM 100 chart...
    He had five records make the Top 100; and three of them made the Top 10, this one, "That's Rock 'N Roll" {at #3}, and "Hey Deanie" {at #7}.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn October 6th, 1984, Karen Kamon performed "Da Do Ron Ron"* on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
    The song was track five from her 1984 album 'Heart of You' and it never made the Top 100 chart...
    Her main claim to fame was performing the song "Manhunt" from the soundtrack album for the 1983 movie 'Flashdance'...
    Earlier in 1984 she did make Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart with "Loverboy", it peaked at #89...
    * Ms. Kamon's version is on You Tube.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn April 21st 1963, "Da Doo Ron Ron (When He Walked Me Home)" by the Crystals entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #80; and on June 2nd it peaked at #3 (for 1 week) and spent 13 weeks on the Top 100...
    And the week it was at #3; the #1 record was "It's My Party" by Lesley Gore and at #2 was "Sukiyaki" by Kyu Sakamoto...
    Between 1960 and 1964 the group had eight Top 100 hits; with three making the Top 10 and one reaching #1 ("He's A Rebel" for 2 weeks in 1962)...
    Two covered version of "Da Doo Ron Ron" have charted on the Top 100; Ian Matthews (#96 in 1972) and Shaun Cassidy (#1 for 1 week in 1977).
  • Bubblesk from Memphis, TnBack in '63 there was nothing else similar to "Da Doo Ron Ron" on the record charts. Those frantic drums & the girls' vocals put this one solidly into rock & roll history. Then before rock & roll fans could catch their breathes, along came the Crystals' follow-up, "Then He Kissed Me" (often called one of Phil Spector's first masterpieces of The Wall of Sound). When I was a teenager in '63, this song was simply stunning to hear on our mono radios in our cars of the times. And The Crystals were awarded a gold record for this exceptional recording.
  • Jon from Destin, FlAgree with Eisso. The original had it all.
  • Eisso from Groningen, NetherlandsGreat song! It should be forbidden for anybody but the Crystals to sing it. The covers sound allright, but mostly for people who never heard the original, which sound like an avalanche, a thunderstorm, extasis, you name it.
  • Matt from Galway, IrelandI'm a sucker for this kind of songs. Love them, and sometimes I would listen to nothing else. Phil Spector's wall of sound sure was hard hitting!
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyBruce Springsteen sang this song in concert at the United Center in Chicago on 09-20-2009, he also mentioned Ellie Greenwick and praised her as a great songwriter...
  • Teresa from Mechelen, BelgiumMy dear and wonderful Ellie Greenwich, you left us on August 26 and I feel sad. R.I.P. and thanks for the beautiful songs you wrote with Jeff Barry and with Jeff Barry and Phil Spector.
  • Kevin from Birmingham, United KingdomThis Song was also featured in two Mcdonald's Adverts With Ronald McDonald dancing around a hall and a house,
    There was two of these adverts the hall was the first one then the one in the house was the second one telling the children that they should love their mother
    One was in I think it was in a school hall with pre school children dancing around
    Ronald McDonald singing his own words and the children singing we do ron ron ron we do ron ron
    Then there was one in a house
    With the children singing we do ron ron ron we do ron ron
    Kids or anyone remember thse two adverts

  • Dave from Des Moines, IaThere was a great special years ago that featured Shirley Alston Reeves, Ronnie Spector, Lesley Gore, Freda Payne, Mary Wells, Martha Reeves, Grace Slick, Belinda Carlisle, and Brenda Lee all singing this.
  • Rob from Vancouver, CanadaCovered by Shawn Cassidy and used in an episode of "The Hardy Boys" TV show.
  • Ken from Louisville, KyThis song was used in the movie "Stripes" in a scene where Harold Ramis tries to teach it to immigrants in an English language class.
  • Amy from Monaghan, Irelandi remember when i was about 8 some demented teacher in primary school made us learn this in Irish, and sing it ever day. strange i can tell ya
  • Teresa from Mechelen, Belgium"I met him on a Monday and my heart stood still", still love it after all these years, Beautiful song of Phil Spector, Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry. "Wall of Sound" forever.
  • Dee from Indianapolis, InGreat tune and fun to listen to.
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