Ronnie Spector is confirmed dead at the age of 78.
Forever in ours heart Ronnie Spector will be. Such an amazing life.
'The world will miss Ronnie💔
What did Ronnie Spector do?
Ronnie was best known as a American Hall of Fame singer (The Ronettes).
How did Ronnie Spector die?
Ronnie Spector's death was likely due to cancer.
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Veronica Greenfield (born Veronica Yvette Bennett, August 10, 1943), known as Ronnie Spector, was an American singer who formed the girl group the Ronettes in 1957 with her elder sister Estelle Bennett and their cousin Nedra Talley. Bennett fronted the group while record producer Phil Spector produced the majority of their output. The two were married in 1968 and separated in 1972.
Bennett sang lead on the Ronettes' string of hits in the early-to-mid–1960s, including "Be My Baby" (1963), "Baby, I Love You" (1963), "The Best Part of Breakin' Up" (1964) and "Walking in the Rain" (1964). In 1964, she launched a solo career with the single "So Young". Since 1980, she has released five studio albums: Siren (1980), Unfinished Business (1987), Something's Gonna Happen (2003), Last of the Rock Stars (2006), and English Heart (2016). Bennett also recorded one extended play, She Talks to Rainbows (1999). In 1986, she experienced a career resurgence when she was featured on Eddie Money's song "Take Me Home Tonight".
Bennett has been referred to as the original "bad girl of rock and roll". In 1990, she published a memoir, Be My Baby: How I Survived Mascara, Miniskirts, and Madness, Or, My Life as a Fabulous Ronette. In 2007, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Ronettes.
1 Early life
2.1 1963–1969: The Ronettes and early success
2.2 1970–1982: Solo career and Siren
2.3 1983–2002: "Take Me Home Tonight", Unfinished Business, and return to music
2.4 2003–present: Collaborations and English Heart
3 Personal life
4.1 The Ronettes
4.2 Solo albums
4.4 Solo singles
7 Further reading
8 External links
Spector was born Veronica Yvette Bennett in Spanish Harlem, the daughter of an African-American–Cherokee mother and Irish–American father. Bennett and her sister, Estelle Bennett (1941–2009), were encouraged to sing by their large family, as was their cousin, Nedra Talley. Together they formed the Darling Sisters, known later as the Ronettes. They performed locally while attending George Washington High School in Washington Heights, Manhattan.
1963–1969: The Ronettes and early success
Main article: The Ronettes
Ronnie Spector (center) with The Ronettes, 1966
The Ronettes became a popular live attraction around the greater New York area in the early 1960s. Looking for a recording contract, they initially were signed to Colpix Records and produced by Stu Phillips. After releasing a few singles on Colpix without success, they tracked down record producer Phil Spector, who signed them to his label Philles Records in 1963. Their relationship with Spector brought chart success with "Be My Baby" (1963), "Baby, I Love You" (1963), "The Best Part of Breakin' Up" (1964), "Do I Love You?" (1964), and "Walking in the Rain" (1964). The group had two top 100 hits in 1965 with "Born to Be Together" and "Is This What I Get for Loving You?".
In 1965, the Ronettes were voted the third-top singing group in England behind the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. They supported and toured with the Beatles on their 1966 US tour. The group's last single, "I Can Hear Music", on the Philles Records label, was released in the fall of 1966. Instead of recording on the West coast, the Ronettes returned to New York City with producer Jeff Barry.
The Ronettes broke up in early 1967, following a European concert tour that included their appearance at the Moonlight Lounge, in Gelnhausen, Germany, where they entertained American military personnel.
Spector's 1960s recording "You Came, You Saw, You Conquered", credited as "The Ronettes Featuring the Voice of Veronica", appeared in 1969 on Herb Alpert's A&M Records label, with "Oh I Love You", an old Ronettes B-side, as the flip. Her vocals were used for the lead and backing vocals. Phil Spector kept many of the group's unreleased songs in the vault for years.
1970–1982: Solo career and Siren
In February 1971, during Phil Spector's tenure as head of A&R at Apple Records, Spector recorded the single "Try Some, Buy Some/Tandoori Chicken" at Abbey Road Studios, released as Apple 33 in the UK and Apple 1832 in the US. The A-side was written by George Harrison, and produced by both him and Spector. Although the single was not a big hit, its backing track was used two years later for Harrison's own version of the song, on his chart-topping Living in the Material World album. "Try Some, Buy Some" had another lasting influence when John Lennon recorded "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" later the same year and asked Spector (co-producing again) to reproduce the mandolin-laden Wall of Sound he had created for Spector's single. Lennon liked the rockabilly B-side too; he sang it at his birthday party in New York in October 1971 (a recording of which has appeared on bootlegs). Spector recorded other Harrison songs during those London sessions − including "You" and "When Every Song Is Sung" − but her versions were never released, even though a full album had been planned.
In 1973, Spector reformed the Ronettes (as Ronnie Spector and the Ronettes) with two new members (Chip Fields Hurd, the mother of actress Kim Fields, and Diane Linton). They released a few singles on Buddah Records. The records failed to chart and by 1975, Spector was recording as a solo act. She released the single "You'd Be Good For Me" on Tom Cat Records in 1975.
In 1976, Spector sang a duet with Southside Johnny on the recording "You Mean So Much To Me", penned by Southside's longtime friend Bruce Springsteen and produced by Steven Van Zandt of the E Street Band. This was the final track on the Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes' debut album I Don't Want to Go Home. She also made appearances with the band the following year, including a cover version of Billy Joel's 1976 track Say Goodbye to Hollywood .
In her book, Spector recounted several abortive attempts to recapture mainstream success throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, during which time she was widely perceived as an oldies act. She recorded her first solo album in 1980, produced by Genya Ravan, which was a prelude to her work with Joey Ramone in the late 1990s.
1983–2002: "Take Me Home Tonight", Unfinished Business, and return to music
In 1986, Spector enjoyed a resurgence of popular radio airplay as the featured vocalist on Eddie Money's Top 5 hit, "Take Me Home Tonight", in which she answers Money's chorus lyric, "just like Ronnie sang", with, "be my little baby". The song's music video was one of the top videos of the year and in heavy rotation on MTV. During this period, she also recorded the song "Tonight You're Mine, Baby" (from the film Just One of the Guys).
In 1988, Spector began performing at the Ronnie Spector's Christmas Party, a seasonal staple at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill in New York City. In 1999, she released the EP, She Talks to Rainbows, which featured a few covers of older songs. Joey Ramone acted as producer and appeared on stage with her to promote the record.
In 1988, Spector and the other members of the Ronettes sued Phil Spector for nonpayment of royalties and for unpaid income he made from licensing of Ronettes’ music. In 2001, a New York court announced a verdict in favor of the Ronettes, ordering Spector to pay $2.6 million in back royalties. The judgment was overturned by the Court of Appeals in 2002 and remanded back to the Supreme Court. The judges found that their contract gave Phil unconditional rights to the recordings. It was ruled that Spector was entitled to her share of the royalties, which she had forfeited in her divorce settlement, but they reversed a lower court's ruling that the group were entitled to the music industry's standard 50 percent royalty rate. In the final outcome, Phil paid an excess of 1 million dollars to Spector.
2003–present: Collaborations and English Heart
In 2003, Spector provided backing vocals for The Misfits' album, Project 1950, on the songs "This Magic Moment" and "You Belong to Me."
In 2004, Spector was recognized for her contribution to American popular music when she was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.
Ronnie Spector Live in London 2015 - Photo Credit Chris Hall
Spector provided guest vocals on the track "Ode to LA", on The Raveonettes' album Pretty in Black (2005). Spector's album, Last of the Rock Stars (2006), was released by Bad Girl Sounds and featured contributions from members of The Raconteurs, Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Raveonettes, Patti Smith, and Keith Richards. Spector herself co-produced two of the songs.
Despite objections from Phil Spector, the Ronettes were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.
A Christmas EP, Ronnie Spector's Best Christmas Ever, was released on Bad Girl Sounds in November 2010, featuring five new Christmas songs.
In 2011, after the death of Amy Winehouse, Ronnie Spector released her version of Winehouse's single "Back to Black" (2006) as a tribute and for the benefit of the Daytop Village addiction treatment centers. She has also performed this song as part of her live act, including during her UK tour in 2015.
In 2016, she released, through 429 Records, English Heart, her first album of new material in a decade. The album features her versions of songs of the British Invasion by the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Yardbirds, Bee Gees, and others produced by Scott Jacoby. English Heart peaked at #6 on the Billboard Top Heatseekers chart.
On August 9, 2017, People Magazine premiered a new single Love Power produced by Narada Michael Walden by Ronnie Spector and The Ronettes, making it the first Ronettes single in decades. The song was released August 18, 2017.
In 2018, Spector appeared in the music documentary; Amy Winehouse: Back to Black (2018), based on the singer Amy Winehouse, who died in 2011, and her final 2006 studio album Back to Black. The album was inspired by 1960s girl groups Winehouse gathered inspiration from listening to, such as The Ronettes. It contains new interviews as well as archival footage.
In September 2020, it was announced that actress Zendaya will portray Spector in a biopic adapted from her memoir Be My Baby: How I Survived Mascara, Miniskirts And Madness.
Bennett and Phil Spector began having an affair soon after she was signed to his label in 1963. Early in their relationship, she was unaware that he was married. Once, Bennett was busted by house detectives for prostitution at the Delmonico hotel in New York City after leaving a room they had booked. She was allowed to call Spector, who threatened the hotel, and then they allowed her leave. After Spector divorced his wife in 1965, he purchased a home in Beverly Hill where he lived with Bennett.
They married at Beverly Hills City Hall on April 14, 1968. Bennett changed her surname and became known as Ronnie Spector. Their son Donté Phillip was adopted in 1969. Two years later, Phil surprised her with adopted twins, Louis and Gary, for Christmas.
Spector revealed in her 1990 memoir, Be My Baby, that after they married, Phil subjected her to years of psychological torment and sabotaged her career by forbidding her to perform. He surrounded their house with barbed wire and guard dogs, and confiscated her shoes to prevent her from leaving. On the rare occasions he allowed her out alone, she had to drive with a life-size dummy of Phil. Spector stated that Phil installed a gold coffin with a glass top in the basement, promising that he would kill her and display her corpse if she ever left him. She began drinking and attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings to escape the house.
In 1972, Spector fled their mansion barefoot and without any belongings with the help of her mother. "I knew that if I didn't leave I was going to die there," she said. In their 1974 divorce settlement, Ronnie forfeited all future record earnings after Phil threatened to have a hit man kill her. She received $25,000, a used car, and monthly alimony of $2,500 for five years. Spector later testified that Phil had frequently pulled a gun on her during their marriage and threatened to kill her unless she surrendered custody of their children.
Spector tried to rebuild her career, keeping his surname professionally because "I needed any way I could to get back in, I'd been kept away so long." But Phil hired lawyers to prevent her singing her classic hit songs and denied her royalties. In 1988, Spector and the other Ronettes sued Phil for $10 million in damages, rescission of the contract, the return of the masters, and recoupment of money received from the sale of Ronettes masters. It took 10 years for the case to make it to trial, and after a prolonged legal battle, Phil was ordered to pay Spector over 1 million dollars in royalties.
In 1982, Spector married her manager Jonathan Greenfield. They live in the area of Danbury, Connecticut with their two sons, Austin Drew and Jason Charles.
Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes Featuring Veronica, 1964
The Ronettes Greatest Hits – Volume 1, 1981
The Ronettes Greatest Hits – Volume 2, 1981
The Best of The Ronettes, 1992
Peak chart positions
Label: RCA, Polish Records
Released: May 1987
The Last of the Rock Stars
Released: May 8, 2006
Label: Bad Girl Sounds
Released: April 8, 2016
"—" denotes a release that did not chart.
She Talks to Rainbows EP, 1999
Something's Gonna Happen EP, 2003
Best Christmas Ever EP, 2010
1964: "So Young" (Phil Spector 1)
1964: "Why Don't They Let Us Fall in Love" (Phil Spector 1)
1971: Try Some, Buy Some (Apple 1832)
1975: "You'd Be Good For Me" (Tom Cat YB-10380)
1976: "Paradise" (Warner Spector SPS 0409)
1977: "Say Goodbye To Hollywood" (Epic 8-50374)
1978: "It's a Heartache" (Alston 3738)
1980: "Darlin'" (Polish PR-202)
1987: "Who Can Sleep" (Columbia 38-07082)
1987: "Love On a Rooftop" (Columbia 38-07300)
Be My Baby: How I Survived Mascara, Miniskirts, and Madness (1990)
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