Ronnie Spector: 2010
[Ed. Note: Ronnie Spector passed away on January 12, 2022 after a brief battle with cancer. She was 78.]
She had that unmistakable voice and pioneered a rock ‘n’ roll style and look all her own.
Veronica Bennett burst onto the pop music scene in 1963 with one of the greatest pop records of all time, “Be My Baby.” As the lead singer of The Ronettes and a cornerstone of producer Phil Spector’s “Wall of Sound,” her music leaped out of your transistor radio with hits like “Baby I Love You” and “Walking in the Rain.” She married Phil in 1968 and officially took the name Ronnie Spector, but that union almost ended her career because of Phil’s strange and often violent behavior.
Eventually she got out of the marriage and slowly made her way back to performing and recording. The 1980s found her working with Bruce Springsteen, “Little Steven” Van Zandt, Southside Johnny and many other industry admirers. Her hard work cumulated in 1986 with the Top 5 hit “Take Me Home Tonight” (a duet with Eddie Money), which re-introduced her to a loving audience. She recently created a multi-media show “Beyond the Beehive” to tell her own story in words and music and vintage memories.
When we talked in December 2010, she was just beginning to plan that new show and told me of her earliest influence, Frankie Lymon. I finally had the opportunity to tell her how much The Ronettes' appearance in an early '60s Murray the K holiday concert had meant to me as part of the experience of attending my first live rock ‘n’ roll show.
[Recorded: Dec. 2010]