I felt sorry that The Ramones departed the ICA World Cup on penalties in Round 1, losing out to Stevie Wonder after a 24-24 draw.

The Ramones ICA was the work of the much-missed Dirk, aka Sexy Loser.  I’ve been in touch, by e-mail, with our German friend who tells me that things at work and home are such that he’s not had the time, energy or inclination to get his blog moving again. I am hopeful, however, that he might be able to offer up an occasional guest posting here at TVV.

Dirk’s ICA didn’t include The Ramones biggest hit single, which reached #8 in mid-February 1980, during a nine-week stay in the Top 75.

mp3: The Ramones – Baby I Love You

It was also on the album End Of The Century, from which Dirk selected Danny Says for his ICA.  He had this to say about the album:-

“The album was produced by Phil Spector, famous through his work with The Ronettes, The Righteous Brothers, Ike and Tina Turner, The Beatles and John Lennon, among others.

During the studio work, Spector’s recording methods were different from those the Ramones were accustomed to from their four previous studio albums. The band recorded their earlier compositions in the shortest time possible for the lowest feasible budget, with a relatively low production value. With End of the Century, the band experienced Spector’s infamous perfectionism, and a budget of $200,000 to fully record and produce the album.

This method of recording caused conflicts to arise. Bassist Dee Dee Ramone wrote of Spector’s obsessive techniques: “Phil would sit in the control room and would listen through the headphones to Marky hit one note on the drum, hour after hour, after hour, after hour.” During the recording of “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School”, Johnny was forced by Spector to repeat his part hundreds of times over the course of several hours. Sire Records owner Seymour Stein relates: “To Johnny, this must have been like the Chinese water torture.”

As for the decision to record Baby I Love You, it is alleged that Spector held the band at gunpoint to ensure they would cover the song, although the tale has since been suggested as an urban myth. Although not that well-received by the critics, it proved to be popular across radio stations, with all sorts of airings throughout the day, and subsequently bought by many tens of thousands of record buyers in the UK.  The fact it was a Top Ten hit hasn’t changed many folks opinions – a retrospective review of End of The Century for Pitchfork had Evan Minsker writing that “even with a full understanding of End of the Century’s context, “Baby, I Love You” is jarring” and “is a museum piece—a pound-for-pound attempt to relive Spector’s golden years”

The b-side to the single was the final track on the b-side of End of The Century:-

mp3: The Ramones – High Risk Insurance

As the back of the picture sleeve reveals, Baby I Love You was climbing the charts while the band were on an extensive UK tour.


I wonder if anyone actually went along to any of the gigs expecting to see a band playing with a full-blown orchestra……..


8 thoughts on “THEIR BIGGEST UK HIT

  1. A favourite of my mother-in-law who passed away a few years ago aged 84. They’ve had it since it came out back then. Always gets played on the occasions (making the dinner) when I pretend to be a dj and work through the singles boxes. The sleeve has been scanned, enlarged and block mounted – it hangs in the hall (alongside He’s Got The whole World In His Hands).

  2. Despite the critics I like not only the LP (Yellow vinyl) but also Baby I Love You. I was a Spector fan before I was a Ramones fan.

  3. I’ve often wondered about the inclusion of a medium-paced rocker and have never accepted the ‘held at gunpoint’ as anything more than an urban myth. However, one thought has nagged away at me which includes another rock act from the New York area: Bruce Springsteen. During early sessions for what would eventually become ‘The River’ and scrapping the single disc ‘The Ties That Bind,’ along the way, Springsteen had offered ‘Hungry Heart’ to The Ramones. Springsteen’s manager put his foot down and told him he couldn’t keep on giving away hit singles when he needed one himself, so permission was retracted. So, my urban myth is that instead of recording one medium-paced rocker cover version of a Springsteen song, this Phil Spector song, given their known love of the era, fitted the bill?

  4. Love Rock n Roll Radio and End Of The Century but this single is a bit lyrically meh. Interesting side point on how Spector is still accepted and revered in some quarters while being an actual convicted murderer, while far-right arseholes are beyond the pale. Crowdfunding for a major book Bad People Can Make Great Music will commence soon.

  5. I thought that Phil wanted publishing income in addition to his undoubtedly high producer’s fees. Every big name producer tried to shoehorn a song they wrote to maximize their profit like this. It’s a common as dirt. For his part, I suspect that Joey [and only Joey] was thrilled to cover a song that Ronnie Spector sang. I thought his performance was pretty great, though it should have been billed as a Joey Ramone solo single. I do enjoy the “End of The Century” album but Phil Spector was a psychopath even before he was convicted of murder. I can’t imagine why anyone would have worked with him past 1970 but the music business is pretty crazy.

  6. I went to the Norwich show on January 19th, where The Ramones featured selections from End of the Century, but not Baby I Love You. By the time I caught up with the tour again at Colchester in February the band had appeared on TOTP and the single was included, somewhat awkwardly, in the set.

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