Ronnie Spector ‘Be My Baby’ Singer Dies at 78

Courtesy of duncan c (Flickr CC0)

Iconic 1960s singer, Ronnie Spector, has passed away at the age of 78. She is highly known as the bee-hived, cat-eyed rock ‘n’ roll enchantress who sang as the leader of the girl band The Ronettes. They sang such 1960s “Be My Baby,” “Chapel Of Love,” “Breaking Up,” and “Keep o Dancing.”

She is one of the few musicians in history to defy an entire era in pop music. She embodied the soul, heart, and passion of a female rock ‘n’ roller in the 1960s. To date, no one has ever surpassed her trademark powerful vocals, fearless “attitude, or her innocent but knowing sexuality,” according to her website.

She was born on Aug. 10, 1943, in Harlem, New York. Spector was born under the name Veronica Bennett. The iconic rocker was raised in Spanish Harlem. She started The Ronettes when she was in her teens. The first record she released was with the Coplix label in 1961.

Courtesy of annulla (Flickr CC0)

Not only were The Ronettes professional singers, but they also danced at New York’s Peppermint Lounge. Legendary disc jockey “Murray the K” — real name Murray Kaufman — discovered them and promptly hired the group to dance for his Brooklyn Fox Theater rock and roll revues.

Spector and her group gained fandom quickly and were soon headlining for major artists like Eric Clapton, The Yardbirds, and The Rolling Stones. Spector’s band was personally asked by The Beatles to sing with them during their final U.S. tour in August 1966. Richard Pryor opened for The Ronettes’ final live performance at the Basin Street East later that year.

The talented singer married Phil Spector in 1968. They had three children together before divorcing in 1974. She divulged her marriage to him was filled with sadness and abuse in her 1990 autobiography “Be My Baby: How I Survived Mascara, Miniskirts And Madness.” In her book, Spector states her husband kept her locked up in their Beverly Hills mansion.

She married Jonathan Greenfield on Jan. 16, 1982. They had two children together.

Spector was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall Of Fame in 2004. Her song “Be My Baby” was added to the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress in 2006.

She is survived by her husband, children, family, and friends. May she rest in peace.

Written by Sheena Robertson


IMDB: Ronnie Spector
SF Gate: Ronnie Spector, ’60s icon who sang ‘Be My Baby,’ dies at 78; by Mark Kennedy
Ronnie Spector and The Ronettes: Bio

Top and Featured Image Courtesy of duncan c’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of annulla’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License