The following post has been submitted to the blog by a fellow Spector fan and good friend of mine who I’ve discussed Spector’s music in-depth with for the last 10 years or so, both online and in person. He’s extremely knowledgable on the subject and I’m honored that he has offered to contribute here under the appropriate blogger-name ‘Spectorlector’.
If any other readers have ideas for interesting blog posts they’d like to contribute then please do contact me. I will happily publish relevant posts on here from guests and I’m sure that fans out there have a lot to say on various subjects.
Hopefully, over time this blog can become a platform of sorts where fans can have the opportunity to publish research and essay-like posts that are longer and more in-depth than your typical forum message.
And with that, I’ll get out of the way and let Spectorlector ponder the possible existence of a certain unreleased Ronettes track…
Waiting in the vault? – ‘I’ll never need more than this’ by The Ronettes.
It is no secret that Phil Spector recorded a lot of material, of which only a fraction saw release during the Philles label era. Sometimes, Spector would even record the same song twice with different artists using the same backing track, such as ‘Girls can tell’ and ‘A Woman in Love’. Other times he would record different backing tracks for the same song as heard on versions of ‘I Wonder’ and ‘All Grown Up’.
With this in mind, there are reason to believe that a Ronettes version of the Ike and Tina Turner track ‘I’ll never need more than this’ is still in the Spector vault – the original, perhaps?
Phil Spector’s favorite writers, the married couple Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry, were responsible for many a hit on Philles: ‘Be my Baby’, ‘Then He Kissed Me’ and ‘Da Doo Ron Ron’. In early 1963 Spector had recorded a co-written song of theirs called ‘Chapel of Love’ with both Darlene Love and The Ronettes (prior to ‘Be my Baby’) None of the recordings were released at the time, and when Barry and Greenwich started to work at Red Bird Records under the wings of Leiber and Stoller, they choose to release a version of the song by The Dixie Cups to launch the label. The record went to number 1 on the charts, topped The Beatles in sales and caused Spector to cut his connections with Barry and Greenwich.
Sometime during late 1965, Spector decided to swallow his pride and call Ellie & Jeff back for a writing session. He had lost The Crystals and The Righteous Brothers, and he had to get the best possible material for upcoming recording dates. Unknown to Spector, the couple was going through a divorce, but they still decided to meet and write with Spector. At this time Red Bird was closing down…. and very soon Philles would be finished too. An era of great music was almost over, unbeknownst to the people involved.
The session was not a piece of cake. The former happy-go-lucky couple was now two broken hearts trying to turn words of love and sweet music into future Spector hits. Before the session was over, 4 very heartfelt song were completed: ‘River Deep, Mountain High’, ‘I Can Hear Music’, ‘I wish I Never Saw the Sunshine’ and ‘I’ll Never Need More than This’
Just look at those poetic, sad lyrics to ‘I Wish I Never Saw the Sunshine’:
“Baby do you know what you did today, Baby, do you know what you took away,
You took the blue out of the sky, My whole life changed when you said goodbye,
And I keep crying, crying.
I wish I’d never saw the sunshine
Cause if I never saw the sunshine,
I wouldn’t mind the rain.”
The lyrics for ‘I’ll Never Need More than This’ was in the same heartbreaking mold:
“Oh I love the songs you sing me, And I love, the love you bring me,
And you’ll never know the way I feel inside, I can only say that I’m all filled up with pride
Loving you, loving you…. And I’ll never need more than this,
No I’ll never need more than this
And I wish this could go on forever, and ever, and ever
Don’t let me go, I love you so.”
If you are a hardcore Ronettes fan (as I am) and if you listen closely to the back-up vocals on ‘I’ll Never Need More than This’ something strikes you: It sounds like The Ronettes on back-up?…Especially on the “I love you baby” parts, you can easily pick out Ronnie Spector’s vocals in front of a large number of back-up singers.
Ronnie has confirmed to me in 2014 that she is in the mix, though she insists she never worked on a Tina Turner recording session. This can only lead one to believe that a Ronettes version of the song was intended and that a basic track and back-ups were recorded with them in mind. Maybe Ronnie even recorded a completed lead-vocal? The song would surely fit the style of The Ronettes, bearing in mind ‘Everything under the Sun’ (which Tina Turner would later record herself) and ‘I Wish I Never Saw the Sunshine’ from that period. Who knows, maybe one day we’ll even get to hear it?….
Unfortunately, the track Spector picked for his next magnum opus, ‘River Deep, Mountain High’ bombed, and the rest of those great Greenwich/Barry songs either got shelved or was ignored by the public. Neither Barry, Greenwich or Spector would ever achieve an equal level of succes again. ‘I´ll Never Need More than This’ by Ike and Tina Turner was pressed as a single on Philles, but sadly either withdrawn or never officially released.