Ronnie Spector, the pop singer who led Ronets, has died at the age of 78

Ronnie Spector, the singer who defined the voice of a group of mid-century girls as the forerunner of the Ronets, has died at the age of 78.

A statement on her website states:

Our beloved earth fairy, Ronnie, passed away peacefully today after a brief battle with cancer. She was with her family and in the arms of her husband Jonathan.

Ronnie lived her life with a twinkle in her eye, a cheerful disposition, a wicked sense of humor, and a smile on her face. She was full of love and gratitude.

Her cheerful voice, playful nature and magical presence will live on in everyone who knows, hears or sees her.

Ronets with Phil Specter. Photo: David Magnus / Rex / Shutterstock

With her tall bee hair and powerful melancholy, melodious voice, Specter is one of the most distinctive personalities in American pop. His hits with the Ronets are very impressive Be my baby – whose distinctive drum beat has been recreated countless times – as well as a series of Baby I Love You, Walking in the Rain and Permanent Christmas cover songs. She also survived an abusive marriage to the group’s producer, Phil Spector, who was later jailed for murder.

Specter was born in 1943 in New York to Veronica Greenfield, whose legacy spans African Americans, Native Americans, and Irish Americans. “When you don’t look like everyone else, you automatically have problems at school,” she told the Guardian. In 2019“My friends used to beat me because I looked different,” he said.

She formed the Ronets in 1957 and soon found a lineup with her older sister, Estelle Bennett, and cousin Nedra Tally. All three earned residencies in local clubs and record deals, but failed to chart early singles. Addison was arranged with Estelle Phil Specter, Who signed the group, and whose co-written song Be My Baby became their first hit, reached No. 2 in the US and No. 4 in the UK in 1963.

With attractive styles based on firm-fitting clothes and heavy makeup – “We are not afraid to get hot. That was our gimmick, “Specter wrote later – and supported by Phil Specter’s” Wall of Sound “product, the group received seven more US chart hits and contributed three songs to Phil Specter’s 1963 collection A Christmas Gift for You. He visited the United States; the Rolling Stones supported him on a tour of the Ronets in the UK. ” They touched my heart there and then and they still touched.

The Ronets split in 1967, and Ronnie began a solo career, written by George Harrison. She did not reach the chart highs of her previous group but continued to play music throughout her life.

In 1976, she sang a duet with Southside Johnny in the duet song You Mean So Much to Me, written by Bruce Springsteen. “It’s an honor to be able to produce and encourage him to return to the stage for another 45 years,” said Steve Van Jandt of the e-street band, which produced the song, paying tribute to his death.

She returned to the top five in the United States in 1986 as a guest singer on Eddie Money’s Be My Baby Interpolating Song Take Me Home Tonight. In 1999, he collaborated with Ramonas frontman Joe Ramon, who produced his EP She Talks to Rainbows. Her most recent album in 2016 was English Heart.

Her romantic relationship with Phil Specter began in 1963 when Phil married. He divorced his wife in 1965 and married Ronnie in 1968. Phil was controlling, insane and abusive in their relationship. The infamous behavior involved Ronnie driving Phil’s life-size dummy to stop other men from progressing. He locked her in his house and threatened to kill her. She finally ran away in 1972, barefoot because Phil refused to give her his shoes.

She spent 15 years with Phil and her bandmates fighting for the royalties they paid, and finally successfully – in 2000 a New York court sentenced Phil to pay her 2.6 million. The decision was reversed in 2002 when judges found that the record agreement group initially signed Phil Spector had the right to record, but in 2006 the New York State Supreme Court awarded the group a lump sum, and ordered Phil to continue paying. Annual royalty. After that decade there were more legal complaints, Phil accused of withholding royalty payments.

In 1982, Ronnie married her manager, Jonathan Greenfield, and their marriage lasted until her death. She is survived by her and their two sons, Jason and Austin.

Beach Boys leader Brian Wilson was one of those who paid tribute, saying: “I loved her voice and she was a very special person and a dear friend. It just broke my heart. Ronnie’s music and soul will live on forever.”

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