Ronnie Spector, lead singer of the Ronettes, has died

shiftsRonnie Spector, the rock ‘n’ roll siren with long eyes and high hairstyle, who served as the leader of the 1960s hit band The Ronettes with hits like “Be My Baby,” “Baby I Love You” and “Walking in the Rain” performed as. Died. He was 78 years old.

Spector died Wednesday after a brief battle with cancer, his family said. “Ronnie lived his life with a sparkle in his eyes, a courageous attitude, a twisted sense of humor and a smile on his face. It was filled with love and gratitude,” he said in a statement. No other details were provided.

The Ronettes’ sultry style and powerful vocals – aided by Phil Spector’s lyrics and production – made them one of the best-known artists of the girl group era, leading them to tour England with the Rolling Stones and befriend the Beatles. was inspired to.

Spector achieved hits with such classics as “Baby, I Love You”, “Walking in the Rain”, “I Can Hear Music” and “Be My Baby”, along with his sister Estelle Bennett and his cousin Nedra Talley. Spector, Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich.

“We weren’t afraid to be sexy. That was our secret,” Spector said in his memoir. “When we saw The Shirells walk on stage in their oversized party dresses, we went to the other side and put our bodies on the tightest Wrapped up in skirts we could get. Then we went on stage and climbed on them to show off our feet a little bit more”.

Spector, whose real name was Veronica Bennett, and her multiracial group grew up in the Washington Heights area of ​​Manhattan. He began singing and dancing at clubs such as Ronnie’s and The Relatives, becoming famous for his liberal use of eyeliner and mascara.

She wrote in her memoirs, “The more they clap, the more mascara we apply next time.” We didn’t have any hits to capture his attention, so we had to impress with our own style. None of that went as planned, we just took the style we were born with and expanded it.”

In March 1963, Estelle Bennett auditioned with Phil Spector, who is known for his bass style and amplified percussion nicknamed the “Wall of Sound”. He signed with Phillies Records that same year and then went on to back vocals for other artists until Spector had a group record of “Be My Baby” and “Baby I Love You”.

The group’s first album, Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes Featuring Veronica, was released in 1964. Five of his 12 songs made the charts in the United States.

“Nothing excites me more than being on stage and having fun and flirting and winking at things like that,” she told People Magazine in 2017. “I just have so much fun. It’s the best feeling to go out when they say ‘Ladies and gentlemen.’ My heart stops for a minute… ‘Ronnie Spector and the Ronettes!’ So just go out and let the audience react the way they react, I can start singing without stopping”.

After touring Germany in 1967, The Ronettes parted ways. Phil Spector married Ronnie in 1968, after which he said he kept her locked up in his mansion in Beverly Hills. Her 1990 autobiography “Be My Baby: How I Survived Mascara, Miniskirts and Madness” tells a tragic story of abuse. The couple divorced in 1974. Phil Spector was sentenced to prison in 2009 for the murder of actress Lana Clarkson and died in 2020.

Ronnie Spector’s influence was felt quite a bit. Brian Wilson became obsessed with “Be My Baby” and Billy Joel wrote “Say Goodbye to Hollywood” in Spector’s honor. Amy Winehouse considered Spector as her role model.

Martin Scorsese used “Be My Baby” at the beginning of his 1973 film “Mean Streets”, the song appearing in the sequence of the titles “Dirty Dancing” and in the end credits of “Baby Mama”. Moonlighting” and “The Wonder Years.”

When The Ronettes were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones recalled opening for the trio in England in the mid-1960s. “They could sing through a wall of sound,” Richards said. “He didn’t need anything. He touched my heart right there and he still touches it.”

After the Ronettes split, Spector continued to tour and make music, including “Take Me Home Tonight” with Eddie Money, Joel’s “Say Goodbye to Hollywood” and EP with Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band. Also recorded “She Talked to Rainbow”. From 1999, which included her first recording of “Don’t Worry Baby” written for her by Brian Wilson.

In 2006 they released “The Last of the Rock Stars”, their first album in 20 years in collaboration with The Raccooners, Keith Richards, Patti Smith and The Ravonets. In 2010 they released a Christmas EP titled “Ronnie Spector’s Best Christmas Ever” and in 2016 “English Heart”, an album of covers of British songs from the 1960s.

She is survived by her husband Jonathan Greenfield and their sons Jason and Austin.