Ronnie Spector, lead singer of iconic US girl group the Ronettes, has died.
The vocalist passed away yesterday (12 January). She was 78. Spector’s family announced the news in a statement posted to her official website. “Our beloved earth angel, Ronnie, peacefully left this world today after a brief battle with cancer,” the statement reads. “She was with family and in the arms of her husband, Jonathan.”
“Ronnie lived her life with a twinkle in her eye, a spunky attitude, a wicked sense of humor and a smile on her face,” it continues. “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.” Read the full statement here.
The singer was born Veronica Bennett on 10 August 1943 in New York. Spector founded girl group the Ronettes, which also featured her older sister Estelle Bennett and their cousin Nedra Talley, while still in her teens. The group were catapulted to pop stardom and fame in the 60s and had a plethora of hits including Be My Baby, Baby, I Love You and Walking in the Rain.
The Ronettes toured with a number of influential bands including the Rolling Stones and the Yardbirds. In 1966, the group teamed up with the Beatles for a US tour. The Ronettes split up the following year, with Spector later embarking on a solo career.
Her husband Phil Spector, whom she was married to from 1968 to 1972, produced and co-wrote many of the Ronettes’ songs. In the studio, the producer was known for his “wall of sound” recording technique. However, in her 1990 memoir Be My Baby: How I Survived Mascara, Miniskirts, and Madness, Ronnie Spector revealed she was subjected to years of psychological abuse and death threats by her husband. She eventually escaped in 1972.
Phil Spector died in January 2021 while serving a prison sentence for the murder of actress Lana Clarkson in 2003. Following news of his death, Ronnie Spector described him as “a brilliant producer, but a lousy husband”.
Artists such as Joan Jett have shared their tributes to the late singer online. Read them below.
Our dear friend Ronnie Spector, has passed. She was the sweetest person you could ever know. And her mark on rock and roll is indelible.
.#RonnieSpector @RonnieSpectorGS pic.twitter.com/9ozv0Yqk9j
— Joan Jett (@joanjett) January 12, 2022
RIP Ronnie Spector. The iconic voice of the Ronettes.I was proud to have spent some time with Ronnie at A&M Studios, listening to her tell stories about the early years of rock ‘n roll. She will be missed. https://t.co/nKgJxT45cw
— Gene Simmons (@genesimmons) January 13, 2022
I just heard the news about Ronnie Spector and I don’t know what to say. 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.
Love & Mercy, Brianhttps://t.co/dXZKTMWv8a
— Brian Wilson (@BrianWilsonLive) January 12, 2022
RONNIE SPECTOR FOREVER pic.twitter.com/6TcBaQqIqt
— Light In The Attic (@lightintheattic) January 12, 2022
Peace and Love, Ronnie Spector.💔 pic.twitter.com/QbkuVEgg92
— Susanna Hoffs (@SusannaHoffs) January 12, 2022
this totally blows. fuck cancer. RIP the legend Ronnie Spector. Thank you for the music, for being so freaking cool. pic.twitter.com/RqKEWsZtrL
— Kathy Valentine (@Kathy_Valentine) January 13, 2022