The singer of hit classics like 'Walking in the Rain' and 'Be My Baby' unfortunately succumbed to cancer on Wednesday.
Ronnie Spector, the frontwoman of the girl group the Ronettes, has tragically passed away at the age of 78. The singer of hit classics like 'Walking in the Rain' and 'Be My Baby' unfortunately succumbed to cancer on Wednesday following a brief battle.
"Ronnie lived her life with a twinkle in her eye, a spunky attitude, a wicked sense of humor, and a smile on her face," said her family in a statement. "She was filled with love and gratitude. Her joyful sound, playful nature, and magical presence will live on in all who knew, heard, or saw her."
The Ronettes were one of the finest acts of the early-Sixties girl-group era. "All the musicians dropped whatever they were holding, their horns and guitars, and they were looking at this new girl in town," recalled Spector during a 2016 interview with Rolling Stone.
"All the musicians were yelling, 'Oh, my God. Her voice!' And I’m saying, 'Me? A little girl from Spanish Harlem?'" she added. "Be My Baby" became an instant success in the summer of 1963 and it turned the Ronettes into superstars. "I was driving [the first time I heard it], and I had to pull over to the side of the road — it blew my mind," Brian Wilson said in 2013.
"I felt like I wanted to try to do something as good as that song, and I never did. I’ve stopped trying. It’s the greatest record ever produced. No one will ever top that one," Wilson added. According to Rolling Stone, the Ronettes had created such an amazing piece of music that they themselves had trouble topping it.
But the following year, the group gave some hits in the form of "Do I Love You," "(The Best Part of) Breakin' Up," "Baby, I Love You," and "Walking in the Rain." Shortly after, Ronnie began dating Phil Spector who signed the group in 1963 and produced all of the group's hits. The two tied the knot in 1968 but split in 1972.
In her 1990 memoir, Ronnie opened up about her abusive relationship with Spector. "As I said many times while he was alive, he was a brilliant producer, but a lousy husband," she wrote shortly after his death. "Unfortunately, Phil was not able to live and function outside of the recording studio. Darkness set in, many lives were damaged. I still smile whenever I hear the music we made together, and always will. The music will be forever."
Then came the success of bands like the Rolling Stones and the Beatles causing groups like Ronettes to lose fans. In 1976 she did make a comeback but not in a big way. And now the legend has bid adieu to the world.
"I just heard the news about Ronnie Spector, and I don’t know what to say," expressed Wilson in a statement. "I loved her voice so much, and she was a very special person and a dear friend. This just breaks my heart. Ronnie’s music and spirit will live forever."
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