Ronnie Spector Dies: Rockers React
Ronnie Spector, singer of the iconic '60s girl group the Ronettes, died Wednesday following a brief battle with cancer. She was 78.
"Ronnie lived her life with a twinkle in her eye, a spunky attitude, a wicked sense of humor and a smile on her face," Spector's family shared on her social media pages. "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."
Spector and the Ronettes rose to fame in the early '60s with hits like "Be My Baby," "Walking in the Rain" and "(The Best Part of) Breakin' Up," making Spector and her bandmates, sister Estelle Bennett and their cousin Nedra Talley, household names. "Our lives were turned upside down," Spector later wrote in her memoir, Be My Baby: How I Survived Mascara, Miniskirts and Madness. "All the things I'd ever dreamed about were finally coming true."
Her talent was renown by throngs of fellow singers, including John Lennon, who once asked the Ronettes to accompany the Beatles on their flight to the U.S. in 1964. (The offer was turned down.) "I remember one night I was with John," Spector later recalled. "And he said, ‘Ronnie, sing a little bit of “Be My Baby” in my ear.’ So I went, [full-voiced] ‘Be my little baby!’ And he almost passed out. I can’t sing low, I had to go all out. It blew his mind.”
Spector's distinctive vocal style inspired countless singers, and even as the '60's came to a close, her solo career continued. After surviving an abusive marriage, she collaborated with Steven Van Zandt of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, Southside Johnny, Eddie Money, Misfits, Patti Smith, Keith Richards and more.
Following the news of Spector's death, an outpouring of condolences appeared online from musicians and friends. You can read reactions from some of rock's biggest names below.