Ronnie Spector: Farewell to the voice of all voices

Ronnie Spector has died, at the age of 78, but her voice will go on being heard for as long as we have recorded music and a way to play it. The lead singer of The Ronettes, she lent her unforgettable vibrato to their immortal 1963 single “Be My Baby” before marrying the song’s producer, Phil Spector. He was a cruel, macabre and jealous abuser, keeping her locked away from the world and forbidding her from performing. After escaping in 1972, Ronnie was encouraged by many of the musical icons she’d influenced and inspired to return to singing. “So that’s what I did,” she told Vice in 2016. “I went right back, because I had people like Keith Richards and John Lennon and Billy Joel and David Bowie – even Springsteen – telling me ‘Ronnie, you have the voice of all voices.’”

Born Veronica Yvette Bennett on 10 August 1943 in New York’s Spanish Harlem, Spector grew up surrounded by family and music. Her mother had six sisters, all hairdressers, who years later would help create and maintain The Ronettes’ signature towering beehives. On Saturday nights, their extended family would gather at Spector’s grandmother’s house, and the children would sing. “By the time I was eight,” Spector recalled in her 2004 memoir Be My Baby. “I was already working up whole numbers for our family’s little weekend shows.”

Continue reading at The Independent.