Best Known For
Ellie Greenwich is best known as the writer of hit songs from the 1960s through the 1980s.
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She wrote Clio Award-winning jingles for television commercials and theme songs for shows like The Hardy Boys (1977-79), even while singing in demo sessions and arranging vocals for artists such as Dusty Springfield, Ella Fitzgerald, Leslie Gore,
As Greenwich later recalled, "I opened up a jingle production company, and was doing fairly well with jingles. That can be healthy money, when you are writing jingles and singing on them. The residuals can be kinda nice. I thought, 'Let me get away from records, and start a whole new thing.'" For a while, this new thing was a refreshing break for her, but the respite did not last forever.
In 1971, following the enormous success of fellow Brill Building alumna King's Tapestry, which went on to become one of the highest-selling albums of all time, Greenwich began feeling pressure to follow with her own record. In 1973, Greenwich released Let It Be Written, Let It Be Sung, but her heart wasn't really in it. The album performed reasonably well in Europe but not as well in the United States. Greenwich was so scared to sing live on stage, in fact, that she lip-synched during the tour.
"Towards the end of '72, into '73, I fell apart," Greenwich said. "I guess you could say I had a nervous breakdown. I left the business for a little over two years. When I came back into the industry, I thought, 'Let me get back into background singing; I'm so happy on microphone.' I could pretend I was in a girl group, get a couple of other girls, have a good time. I inched my way back into the things I wanted to do. Then I started writing again. I had some records with Ellen Foley, then got involved with Cyndi Lauper. Slowly, I found my way in."
In the early 1980s, Greenwich happened to stop by a New York club called the Bottom Line one night to see her friends Ellen Foley, a songwriter, and Nona Hendryx, an R&B singer, perform. This led to an auspicious meeting with the club's owner, leading to plans for an off-Broadway show, Leader of the Pack, based on her life and music. The production opened at The Bottom Line in 1984. "We had two shows a night. The response was phenomenal. Some people from Broadway came down and thought it might be a great idea to take to Broadway," Greenwich recalls. "We re-ran the show for a month… to wonderful reviews. We were sold out all the time. It was terrific." After moving to Broadway in 1985, the show enjoyed an impressive run, garnering a Grammy nomination for Best Cast Album, a Tony nomination for Best Musical and a New York Music Award for Best Broadway Musical.
Six years later, in 1991, Greenwich and Barry were jointly inducted into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame. Through the 1990s and into the 21st century, Greenwich continued to explore new creative avenues: writing a sitcom, drafting an original Broadway musical, writing the song "Christmas, Baby Please Come Home," which became a holiday fixture on Late Night With David Letterman.
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American society experienced a revolution in the late 1960s and early 70s, especially for African-Americans and women. Janis Joplin was the finest white blues singer of her generation; female singer-songwriters like Carole King and Joni Mitchell shared their innermost thoughts and feelings; Aretha Franklin emerged as the Queen of Soul; and Bonnie Raitt established herself as both a strong vocalist and a brilliant guitarist. Through their music, the women of this era created the soundtrack of social progress.
Influential Female Musicians of the 1960s 17 people in this group
Famous Scorpios 551 people in this group
Famous Songwriters and Composers 456 people in this group