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Beverly Ross, Teen Musician of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s Youth, Dies at 87

Beverly Ross, whose hits like “Lollipop” became one of the leading female musicians in the early years of rock ‘n’ roll, but who ended her career early after her working relationship turned sour, died on January 15 at a hospital in Nashville. She was 87 years old.

Her grandson, Cliff Stieglitz, said the cause was dementia.

While in high school, Ms. Ross took a bus from her family’s home in New Jersey to tour the Brill Building, then New York’s music publishing hub. There, she tried to initiate conversations with musicians like Julius Dixon.

In 1954, when Miss Ross was 19 years old, she collaborated with Mr. Dixon on her breakthrough song, “Diminish, dim the lights (I wanted a little atmosphere).” Bill Haley & His Comets’ recording peaked at number 11 on the Billboard singles chart, just months before the band’s “(We’s Gonna) Rock Around the Clock” became a rock ‘n’ roll song. First place to win. first.

Rolling Stone will later described “Dim, Dim the Lights” was “the first ‘white’ song to move into the R&B genre.” It features bluesy electric guitar riffs, a fun bass intro, and flirty lyrics, even as it does. still maintains the innocence of adolescence, inspired by high school sweethearts and party games like spinning the bottle: “I’m full of soda and chips / But now I want to taste / Of your sweet lips.”

The combination of upbeat rhythms and light romantic themes became Miss Ross’ recipe.

She and Mr. Dixon scored another hit with “Lollipop” a song as sweet and condensed as a real candy. A 1958 record by the Chordettes peaked at #2 and became a staple of pop culture, with appearances on “The Simpsons” and in one Commerce for Dell computers.

In the early 1960s, along with Carole King and several others, Ms. Ross became one of rock’s leading female writers, “one of the only female writers to emerge on the slate of music. he vehemently,” Mark Ribowsky Written in “He’s a Rebel: Phil Spector, Legendary Producer of Rock and Roll” (2000).

Ms. Ross also co-wrote songs recorded by stars such as Elvis Presley and Roy Orbison. But within a few years, her career took a sudden turn.

According to Mrs. Ross, in 1960 she formed a working friendship with a then obscure aspiring composer, who benefited from her strength: Phil Spector. The two came up with song ideas, cut demo tapes, and talked about family troubles. Ms. Ross introduced him to industry players.

Ms. Ross recalled, as they were arguing one night, Mr. Spector suddenly announced he had business to attend and ran out the door.

Soon after, Ms. Ross was shocked to hear the riff, in the hit song “Spanish Harlem” by Ben E. King. Mr. Spector used it without crediting Mrs. Ross (he and Jerry Leiber were credited) – and he also began to ignore her.

Since then, she refused to work if it would put her in Mr. Spector, but she remained determined to prove she could write hits and co-wrote many other songs in the early ’60s, including “Judy’s Turn to Cry,” As noted by Lesley Gore, reached 5th place.

“This strange step that I took from acceptance and the enormous potential I worked so hard to achieve has left me hanging nowheresville,” she wrote in an obnoxious memoir, make a strong impression, “I Was The First Woman Killed By Phil Spector” (2013), “but I could have saved my sanity by doing it.”

However, Ms. Ross also lives with regret. She wrote: “I should have just bowed my head and realized that I was asked to write for the ‘copyright of rock’ n’ roll.

Beverly Ross was born on September 5, 1934, in Brooklyn and raised in Lakewood, NJ Her father, Aron, worked as a duck breeder with her brother in New York City and later a chicken farmer in Lakewood. Her mother, Rachel (Frank) Ross, works as an accountant for a shoe company and helps on the farm.

Bev, as she was called, aspired from a young age to a career in music, but she did not know how to begin. She met musicians who were performing at a hotel where her sister worked in Lakewood, and she made a deal with one of them: He would tell her how to get into the industry if she asked him out for a date. dating my sister.

All the man had to do, it turned out, was to inform Bev of the Brill Building’s existence.

Ms. Ross’ explosive songwriting success brought her a royalty income on which she lived comfortably. She resided for many years in an apartment on the Upper West Side, but later bought a house in Nashville and began writing country music.

She is survived by her companion, Ferris Butler, a comedy writer. They married in the mid-1970s and then divorced, but they reconnected and stayed together in the last years of their lives.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/16/arts/music/beverly-ross-dead.html Beverly Ross, Teen Musician of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s Youth, Dies at 87

Fry Electronics Team

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