Cover illustration by Al Marshall for the Purple Parrot journal of Northwestern University, December 1921
The Raindrops may be my favorite group from the early-'60s girl group boom, but it's not really fair to say that because they didn't really exist. The Raindrops were Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, the married songwriting team that wrote dozens of hits, including "Leader of the Pack", "Be My Baby", "Then He Kissed Me", and "Do Wah Diddy Diddy". When other artists started hitting the charts with their songs, Barry and Greenwich decided to record their own songs as the Raindrops. To create the illusion that they were a "legit" group, they included Greenwich's sister Laura in their group shots (apparently she also took the stage with them on the rare occasion that they performed live, singing into an unplugged mic!)
The Raindrops never had a Top Ten hit, although some of their tracks ended up being big hits for others. Their only LP, 1963's The Raindrops, contains what could be considered the purest, closest-to-the-source versions of now-famous songs like "Da Doo Ron Ron", "Not Too Young to Get Married", and "Hanky Panky". I know it makes me a bit of a "rockist" to care when the song is sung by its writer, but Barry and Greenwich were a machine at this time and could churn out amazing, memorable, hook-filled pop tunes. It's just amazing to hear a whole LP of their material in undiluted form - Barry's vaguely goofy bass voice pulls the songs out of the pure girl group sound, but he and Greenwich sound great together on a non-stop set of perfectly poppy numbers like "What a Guy", "The Kind of Boy You Can't Forget", and "Every Little Beat". The reissued version includes their non-album singles as well, including "One More Tear" and "That Boy John". The only downside to The Raindrops is that the recording quality is a little spotty - some songs have an almost pristine sound, but others (particularly "Hanky Panky") sound very muddy. I wonder what master source was used for this Collectables reissue.
"Every Little Beat" by the Raindrops