And Then It was Ronnie Spector

Brian Wilson has called Ronnie Spector and the Ronnettes’ 1963 recording of ‘Be My Baby’ the PERFECT rock and roll record. Wilson was also among the first to pay tribute to his friend and colleague (and idol) following her January 10 passing. (See below Rolling Stone excerpt)

Our beloved earth angel, Ronnie, peacefully left this world today after a brief battle with cancer. She was with family and in the arms of her husband, Jonathan. 

Ronnie lived her life with a twinkle in her eye, a spunky attitude, a wicked sense of humor and a smile on her face.  She was filled with love and gratitude.

Her joyful sound, playful nature and magical presence will live on in all who knew, heard or saw her.  

-(above)Family Statement on the Passing of Ronnie Spector


Ronnie Spector with surviving Ronnettes bandmate, Nedra Ross, from a rare 2019 reunion.

Was just thinking that we didn’t hear much from Ronnie Spector this past Christmas, a time when she is usually most visible with her compendium of Spectorian Christmas hits we have come to know and love and of which she has blended into her stage show ‘Behind The Bee HIve’ in recent years. Ronnie Spector gone? No way. She’d be the last one, what with her vivaciousness, lust for life and nothing-will-get-me-down attitude. She’d lived a full live filled with the highest highs and the lowest lows, including losing in recent years her sister and band-made , like Eddie Money (who was largely responsible for her late-in-life comeback with ‘Take Me Home Tonight’ on which she sang) and Phil Spector, himself, ‘a wonderful producer but lousy husband’ who contributed mightily to the the high highs and low lows. But even with what the media is today, we guess we have to believe the multiple news reports and especially her website tribute. With this rather sudden and crushing loss for Ronnettes and early rock and roll fans, we lose one of the last remaining, enduring stars from the original rock and roll ‘Golden Era’ of the 1950s and early 1960s. It’s getting real lonely out here now. But, as Ronnie’s family notes on her website, her music and memory will live on and on, “Her joyful sound, playful nature and magical presence will live on in all who knew, heard or saw her.  

Classic shot of Ronnettes from 1964
Early Ronnettes live doing Be My Baby
Magical moment in mid-career of Ronnie Spector performing her ‘fave’ with ‘Legendary Ladies of Rock and Roll’ Belinda Carlisle and Grace Slick

Spector, born Veronica Yvette Bennett in 1943, was known for singing Ronettes hits including “Be My Baby,” “Baby, I Love You” and “Walking in the Rain.”

The Ronettes: Nedra Talley (from left), Veronica Bennett aka Ronnie Spector (from left) and Estelle Bennett (NY POST)

(New York Post) Her trademark beehive and unapologetic bad-girl swagger made waves in the music industry when the rock group first hit the airwaves in 1963.

“We weren’t afraid to be hot. That was our gimmick,” Spector wrote in her memoir. “When we saw The Shirelles walk on stage with their wide party dresses, we went in the opposite direction and squeezed our bodies into the tightest skirts we could find. Then we’d get out on stage and hike them up to show our legs even more.”

The group’s first album, 1964’s “Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes Featuring Veronica,” was an instant hit, with five of its 12 tracks making it to the top of the Billboard charts.

Ujjain

In 1968 at age 25, after the Ronettes split, she married Phil Spector, the infamous Wall of Sound producer behind the group’s hits.

“When I was working with Phil Spector, watching him create in the recording studio, I knew I was working with the very best,” she recently wrote on Instagram. “He was in complete control, directing everyone. So much to love about those days. Meeting him and falling in love was like a fairytale. The magical music we were able to make together, was inspired by our love. I loved him madly, and gave my heart and soul to him.”

But Ronnie, who has spoken in depth about the abuse and vindictiveness she suffered at the hands of her first husband before and after their 1974 divorce, also referenced the bad times. (NY POST)

In 1968 at age 25, after the Ronettes split, she married Phil Spector, the infamous Wall of Sound producer behind the group’s hits.

“When I was working with Phil Spector, watching him create in the recording studio, I knew I was working with the very best,” she recently wrote on Instagram. “He was in complete control, directing everyone. So much to love about those days. Meeting him and falling in love was like a fairytale. The magical music we were able to make together, was inspired by our love. I loved him madly, and gave my heart and soul to him.”

But Ronnie, who has spoken in depth about the abuse and vindictiveness she suffered at the hands of her first husband before and after their 1974 divorce, also referenced the bad times.

Ronnie Spector was just 18 when she was discovered by producer Phil Spector.
Ronnie Spector was just 18 when she was discovered by producer Phil Spector.

“As I said many times while he was alive, he was a brilliant producer, but a lousy husband. Unfortunately Phil was not able to live and function outside of the recording studio. Darkness set in, many lives were damaged. I still smile whenever I hear the music we made together, and always will. The music will be forever. Phil Spector 1939-2021,” she wrote.

Ronnie had previously accused him of pulling a gun on her, forcing her to sign a divorce settlement that reportedly cut her out of future records earning, and even lobbying the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame to not induct her.

The couple had three adopted children — Donté Phillip and twins Louis and Gary. In 2009, Phil was convicted of murdering actress Lana Clarkson in 2003. He died in prison in 2021.

In 1982, she married her manager Jonathan Greenfield and they had two sons, Austin Drew and Jason Charles.

Ronnie Spector
Ronnie Spector in 1978

Fans immediately paid tribute to her life and legacy on Twitter. One wrote, “Ronnie Spector. A rock and roll hero. A total badass. A survivor who took back her power. My admiration for her runs deep. May she Rest in Power.”

Another added, “Deeply saddened to hear that we lost Ronnie Spector today. She made pop music much cooler than it was, influenced everyone from Amy Winehouse to Missy Elliot. With the Ronettes, Ronnie smashed the girl group mold/allowed inspiring acts like [Patti LaBelle] to soar.” (new York Post)

Ronnie Spector was known as much for her Christmas classics from perhaps the No. 1 all time Christmas album, like ‘Frosty the Snow Man’
The song that brought Ronnie Spector back in the public eye in the 1980s, thanks to Eddie Money, who she duets with here in ‘Take Me Home Tonight.’
One of her latest performances, at Wolf Den, 12-17, performing a lesser known but one of her best songs, perhaps biographical, ‘ When I Saw You’, regarding Ronnie Spector’s relationship with Phil Spectdor

Ultimate Girl Group Act

(Rolling Stone) The Ronettes were the quintessential act of the early-Sixties girl-group era, and Spector’s silk-meets-sandpaper voice powered all of their songs. Last year, “Be My Baby,” the genre’s defining song, was honored at Number 22 on Rolling Stone‘s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Ronnettes singing their biggest hit in the 1964 classic TAMI TV special

The huge success of “Be My Baby” in the summer of 1963 turned the Ronettes into superstars, and caused huge ripples across the pop landscape. “I was driving [the first time I heard it], and I had to pull over to the side of the road — it blew my mind,” Brian Wilson said in 2013. “I felt like I wanted to try to do something as good as that song, and I never did. I’ve stopped trying. It’s the greatest record ever produced. No one will ever top that one.”

The Ronettes themselves had trouble topping it, though they had a string of hits over the next year that brought them over to England, where they toured with the Rolling Stones. The group also charted with “Baby, I Love You,” “Walking in the Rain,” “(The Best Part of) Breakin’ Up,” and “Do I Love You.”

“I just heard the news about Ronnie Spector, and I don’t know what to say,” Wilson said in a statement shortly after the news of her death broke. “I loved her voice so much, and she was a very special person and a dear friend. This just breaks my heart. Ronnie’s music and spirit will live forever.”

“She will have her own place in history because there was nobody like her,” Darlene Love, who also worked with Spector in the early days, tells Rolling Stone. “When I first met her in 1964, she was this little bitty thing — she reminded me of a little Barbie doll. But then she had this big voice. The way she sang and moved onstage, that was rock & roll.”

Phil Spector, who began an affair with Ronnie shortly after he signed the group in 1963, produced all of the group’s hits. They married in 1968 and split in 1972. In her 1990 memoir, Be My Baby, she wrote that her relationship with Spector was marked by years of horrible violence and abuse. 

“As I said many times while he was alive, he was a brilliant producer, but a lousy husband,” she said shortly after he died last year. “Unfortunately, Phil was not able to live and function outside of the recording studio. Darkness set in, many lives were damaged. I still smile whenever I hear the music we made together, and always will. The music will be forever.”

Veronica Yvette Bennett grew up in New York City and started singing with her sister Estelle and their cousin Nedra Talley at a young age. Calling themselves the Darling Sisters, they performed around the city while still attending George Washington High School. After a few unsuccessful singles, Phil Spector signed them and immediately began writing songs specifically for her voice. “Watching him create in the recording studio, I knew I was working with the very best,” she said. “He was in complete control, directing everyone. So much to love about those days.”

The huge success of “Be My Baby” in the summer of 1963 turned the Ronettes into stars, and they traveled to England to play a series of shows with the Rolling Stones the following year. “They were a bunch of scraggly-looking guys,” she told Rolling Stone in 2016. “But I loved them, and I especially loved Keith because I love that rugged look he had.”

‘Walking in the Rain’ was another classic Phil Spector showcase for Ronnie’s voice

NOt that it matters, but It’s Ironic that Phil Spector, with all his problems, outlived Ronnie Spector, age 81 to 78. Say what you will, long live both of them in song and good memories

On a personal note, I only got to see Ronnie Spector in concert a TIME or two when she came out to Berkeley, CA in the 70s, I believe. She was captivating, sexy and in great voice before an adoring crowd at the old KEYSTONE.



ANTI-ANXIETY, VITAMIN – TOP WEIGHT LOSS, ANTI-ANXIETY, VITAMIN SHOP, CBD, LIFE EXTENSION https://t.co/sgGzbPBmLW https://t.co/EEsjOQyLRb #fitness #healthy #newyearresolutions #weight #loss #holiday #gifts #CBD 🥗 ⚖ 🚑 📦 ⬆️



‘My Past Made Me Strong’: Ronnie Spector’s Journey from ’60s Pop Icon to Rock ‘n’ Roll Survivor



















‘My Past Made Me Strong’: Ronnie Spector’s Journey from ’60s Pop Icon to Rock ‘n’ Roll Survivor – People

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *