Legendary Vocalist Ronnie Spector Dead at 78

Ronnie Spector, whose unmistakable voice brought her husband Phil Spector’s musical vision to life in The Ronettes, has died.  She was 78.

Her family released a statement that she passed “after a brief battle with cancer. She was with family and in the arms of her husband, Jonathan.” The family added that “in lieu of flowers, Ronnie requested that donations be made to your local women’s shelter or to the American Indian College Fund.”

  • The then Ronnie Bennett sang lead on The Ronettes’ string of classic hits, including “Be My Baby,” “Baby, I Love You” and “Walking in the Rain” from 1963 to 1967.
  • She launched a solo career in 1964 but didn’t release a full solo album until 1980. 
  • She and Phil Spector began having an affair in 1963, and eventually married in 1968. They adopted their son Donté in 1969, and sons Louis and Gary in 1971. 
  • She fled their home in 1972, after years of psychological abuse, with the help of her mother. She divorced Spector in 1974 and gave up all royalties from the Ronettes catalog. She later testified that Spector had frequently pulled a gun on her during their marriage and threatened to kill her unless she surrendered custody of their children.
  • In 1982, Spector married her manager Jonathan Greenfield and they had two sons together, Austin and Jason.
  • In 1986 she experienced a career resurgence when she was featured on Eddie Money’s song “Take Me Home Tonight.”
  • In 1988, she and the other Ronettes sued Spector for $10 million in damages and to get their masters back. Eventually the group got almost $2.6-million in back royalties and Ronnie once again started receiving royalties.
  • In 2007, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of The Ronettes.
  • The Ronettes’ version of “Sleigh Ride” has become a holiday standard, and achieved it’s highest chart peak in 2021 by making it to number-10 on the Billboard Hot 100.

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