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Ronnie Melodies

In 1986, Eddie Money had a hit with “Take Me Home Tonight”. The chorus of the song borrows a melody from The Ronettes ’60s classic “Be My Baby”. Click on the score to play/stop, just like Ronnie sang.

The song is in the key of Db Major, but Ronnie Spector sings her old line over the relative minor (Bb). The Major Third interval from the F to the Db is reminiscent of the bellsong or doorbell.

Here’s how I imagine it all went down: At first, Money belted out the melody, but the producer found it came out a little too awesome, so Sony suggested they get the OG Ronnie to do it, no matter what the cost, and it would probably cost nothing because they owned her too. Perhaps there were copyright issues, so Ronnie had to be involved and she had to sing it wrong. We can’t know.

The original melody from “Be My Baby” is slightly different and in a higher key. Ronnie really sang in E Major, and the “baby” comes in on the offbeats. In “Take Me Home”, the ”baby” is sung evenly on the beat; the ’80s were a rough time. Just listen to the half-time bridge sax solo of the song below, it’s like nobody knew what to do or where to go—more ‘blowback’ from all the cocaine the CIA imported at the time. Or more likely, it’s because the melody serves a different purpose in each song. In “Be My Baby”, it provides counterpoint to the main thrust of the backup singers, so the off-beats work well, whereas in “Take Me Home”, the melody acts as the hook, so it makes sense to give it an on-the-beat feel.

Listen to the drums—that dull straight New Wave feel; the best part of the song is when the drums cut out. You can tell the drummer wants to go wild with all the fills he busts out at the end

The lyrics are as low as it gets—begging a girl for sex in song. However, since the girl in the song replies with Ronnie’s melody, it was probably a sure thing anyway.