Beneath all the snarling and snappy remarks, there is a soft side to Noel Gallagher too. Like a Humbug, his tough Manc exterior hides a sweet treat that he has oozed out on tracks like ‘If I Had a Gun’, ‘Talk Tonight’, ‘Let There Be Love’ and a string of other softer songs in his back catalogue.
Thus, naturally, when the BBC set about sailing him off on his lonesome for the iconic Desert Island Discs, the songs he selected were not all thunderous anthems that he could play before an imagined Knebworth of coconut heads. One of the eight that he opted to be washed away with was an ode to his wife.
“I don’t ever envisage life without her. She’s everything to me,” he touching said of his wife Sara MacDonald, whom he married back in 2011. “This was the song for our first dance at our wedding”, the Oasis rocker said while introducing The Ronettes’ classic ‘Be My Baby’ from 1963.
Ironically, however, the song has a less than rosy marital back story. The classic hit might be the sort of beauteous anthem that could blow rainclouds away from a wedding venue, but it foretold an unfortunately stormy matrimony future for The Ronettes lead singer Ronnie Spector.
The song was produced by Phil Spector who she married five years later. The producer would later be arrested for murder but the portents of his dark side were in place early and often overlooked. During his marriage to Ronnie Spector, the producer was abusive from the get-go. In fact, he turned their 23-room mansion into something akin to a maximum-security prison. The property boasted chain-link fences, barbed wire and intercoms in every room, making it nigh on impossible for Ronnie to leave.
His wildly controlling ways even extended to installing an inflatable effigy of himself in the passenger seat of Ronnie’s car to give the impression that she was never alone when she was out driving. He also made several threats to her life and even had a gold coffin installed in the basement of their family home and told her that if she tried to leave him she would end up inside of it.
While Ronnie Spector would divorce her abusive husband in 1974, she had to hand over custody of their children because he had threatened to hire a hitman if she refused to cooperate. Sadly, his children also fell victim to his abuse. He would force them to simulate sex acts on his girlfriends as he watched on, and if he wasn’t satisfied with them, he would strike them.
Thus, aside from the beauty of the song and what it may mean for Noel Gallagher and his wife, it is certainly not a track that turned out to be all sunshine and rainbows when played forward.