Time it was, and what a time it was,
it was a time of innocence…
Simon & Garfunkel
While songwriter Ellie Greenwich never wrote a screenplay that I know of she lived dramatic enough of a life to have a show based on it, Leader of the Pack, make it to Broadway in the 1980s. Greenwich, who died Wednesday, had a hand in writing the hit songs Chapel of Love, Da Do Ron Ron and Leader of the Pack. She ended up with 25 gold and platinum records and a part of tens of millions of records sold.
Even if her name is not familiar to you I’m sure her work made it onto the soundtrack of a film or two you’ve probably seen;
Bedtime Stories (I Can Hear the Music)
Baby Mama (Be My Baby)
Forrest Gump (Hanky Panky)
The Bridges of Madison County (Leader of the Pack)
My Girl (Do Wah Diddy Diddy)
Goodfellas (Then He Kissed Me)
Full Metal Jacket (Chapel of Love)
Dirty Dancing (Be My Baby)
There was a window of a few years in the early 60s where pop culture was open to a certain kind of innocence. Then the late sixties happened; Viet Nam ,leaders being shot, drug use, Woodstock and the sexual revolution—and into the 70s,Watergate. There was a certain amount of cynisism and despair that followed and that didn’t really lift pop-culture wise until the optimism of Rocky and the U.S. Bicentennial in 1976. Greenwich’s own life wasn’t quite as romantic as her songs either. A bitter divorce and a nervous breakdown followed her wild success.
“I know people that have gotten married in the past two years who have used ‘Chapel Of Love’ as their wedding song. I think, no matter how much of a feminist one claims to be … Lord knows, if you go by my songs, and the way my personal life has gone, you’d say, ‘Oh my, this lady was dreaming.’ It didn’t exactly happen the way I was writing it. However, I would have liked it to have gone that way. I am a very firm believer in equality, women and men: if you can do the job, by all means go ahead and do it. But I still feel it would be nice if that romance can be there, birds could sing if you fell in love, and you could hear violins. I think that would be really terrific – I don’t care how old you are, or what generation.”
by Charlotte Greig