Ronnie Spector, the cat-eyed, bee-hived rock ‘n’ roll siren who sang such Nineteen Sixties hits as “Be My Baby,” “Baby I Love You” and “Walking in the Rain” because the chief of the woman group The Ronettes, has died. She was 78.
Spector died Wednesday after a short battle with most cancers, her household mentioned. “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,” a press release mentioned. No different particulars have been revealed.
Tributes flooded social media, with Stevie Van Zandt saying it was an honor to provide her, and Brian Wilson tweeting: “I loved her voice so much and she was a very special person and a dear friend.”
The Ronettes’ attractive look and highly effective voices — plus songwriting and producing assist from Phil Spector — turned them into one of many premier acts of the girl-group period, touring England with The Rolling Stones and befriending the Beatles.
Spector, alongside her sister Estelle Bennett and cousin Nedra Talley, scored hits with pop masterpieces like “Baby, I Love You,” “Walking in the Rain,” “I Can Hear Music” and “Be My Baby,” which was co-written by Spector, Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich.
“We weren’t afraid to be hot. That was our gimmick,” Spector mentioned 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.”
Spector, born Veronica Bennett, and her bandmates grew up within the Washington Heights space of Manhattan. They started singing and dancing in golf equipment as Ronnie and the Relatives, changing into noteworthy for his or her liberal use of eyeliner and mascara.
“The louder they applauded, the more mascara we put on the next time,” she wrote in her memoir. “We didn’t have a hit record to grab their attention, so we had to make an impression with our style. None of it was planned out; we just took the look we were born with and extended it.”
In March 1963, Estelle Bennett managed to rearrange an audition in entrance of Phil Spector, identified for his huge, brass-and-drum fashion dubbed the “wall of sound.” They have been signed to Phillies Records in 1963. After being signed, they sang backup for different acts till Spector had the group file “Be My Baby” and “Baby I Love You.”
The group’s debut album, “Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes Featuring Veronica,” was launched in 1964. Five of its 12 tracks had made it to the U.S. Billboard charts.
“Nothing excites me more than just being onstage, having fun and flirting and winking to the guys and stuff like that,” she instructed People journal in 2017. “I just have so much fun. It’s just the best feeling when I go out and they say, “Ladies and gents…” — my heart stops for a minute —”…Ronnie Spector and the Ronettes!” Then I just go out there and the crowd reacts the way they react and I can go on singing forever.”
After touring Germany in 1967, the Ronettes broke up. Spector married Ronnie in 1968, then she mentioned he stored her locked of their Beverly Hills mansion. Her 1990 autobiography “Be My Baby: How I Survived Mascara, Miniskirts And Madness” tells an sad story of abuse. The couple divorced in 1974. Phil Spector was despatched to jail in 2009 for the homicide of actress Lana Clarkson and died in 2020.
Ronnie Spector’s affect was felt far and large. Brian Wilson turned obsessive about “Be My Baby” and Billy Joel wrote “Say Goodbye to Hollywood” in Spector’s honor. Amy Winehouse often cited Spector as an idol.
Martin Scorsese used “Be My Baby” to open his 1973 movie “Mean Streets” and the track seems within the title sequence of “Dirty Dancing” and the closing credit of “Baby Mama.” It additionally appeared on TV in “Moonlighting” and “The Wonder Years.”
When the Ronettes have been inducted within the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones remembered opening for the trio in England within the mid-Nineteen Sixties. “They could sing all their way right through a wall of sound,” Richards mentioned. “They didn’t need anything. They touched my heart right there and then and they touch it still.”
After the Ronettes broke up, Spector continued to tour and make music, together with “Take Me Home Tonight” with Eddie Money, recording Joel’s “Say Goodbye to Hollywood” with Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, and recording the 1999 EP “She Talks to Rainbows,” which included her first ever recording of “Don’t Worry Baby,” written for her by Brian Wilson.
In 2006, she launched “Last of the Rock Stars,” her first album in 20 years, which featured appearances by the Raconteurs, Keith Richards, Patti Smith and the Raveonettes. In 2010 she launched a doo-wop Christmas EP referred to as “Ronnie Spector’s Best Christmas Ever” and in 2016 launched “English Heart,” her covers of songs from Britain within the ’60s.
She is survived her husband, Jonathan Greenfield, and two sons, Jason and Austin.