Translated From: Ronnie Spector, the soul legend who led The Ronettes, dies | Cu …

Discovered on: 2022-01-13 04:00:32

“When we sang I always said that we were not better, we were different.” This is how Ronnie Spector described The Ronettes in 2007, the phenomenon she led in the sixties, a group that forever changed the sound of the time. A friend of the Beatles, the Stones, a backup singer for Bruce Springsteen, a survivor of a hellish marriage, Spector died Wednesday after a “brief battle with cancer,” according to relatives. He was 78 years old.

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Born in New York as Veronica Bennett, she began acting in 1959 alongside her sister, Estelle Bennet, and her cousin, Nedra Talley, before finishing high school. The trio then called The Dolly Sisters grew up near Spanish Harlem, a neighborhood where they saw first-hand the exuberant aesthetics and ease of Puerto Rican women, and listened to the Harlem soprano boy, Frankie Lymon, who inspired them to sing to Ronnie, as she was known.

When he was 13 years old, he performed with his sister and cousin at the famous Apollo Theater in Harlem, in what was known as “the amateur hour.” In 1961 they managed to be invited to participate in the film Twist Around the Clock. The girls’ choreography caught the attention of Murray K, a popular DJ, who got them work in some clubs in the city, including the famous Peppermint Lounge, a mecca for twist and go-go and who had Marilyn among his clients. Monroe, Frank Sinatra, Truman Capote, Audrey Hepburn or Jackie Kennedy.

“The 60s were as wonderful as they seem,” Ronnie summed up. Between 1963 and 1966 came “the best times”, as it was when they were most successful. In October 1963, Be My Baby was released, a single that changed the history of music that decade. The group had run into producer Phil Spector, key to placing The Ronettes in a different category compared to the rest of the female vocal pop groups of the time.

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The arrival of Spector, a brilliant madman sick with jealousy, into Bennet’s life also meant many problems. The producer tried to sign Ronnie as a solo artist for his label, Philles. The singer was strongly opposed to dissolving the partnership with her sister and cousin. The trio provided backing vocals for other label artists until the 1963 single made them a worldwide phenomenon. Wearing very short dresses and very high combed hairdos the Ronettes were a concert event. “When we walked onstage, one of the two of us either caused a ruckus or there were guys rolling on the floor having orgasms,” Ronnie recounted.

The impact was not limited to the United States. When they arrived in England in 1964, on their first European tour, John Lennon and George Harrison of the Beatles asked to meet them. Lennon, according to Ronnie, tried to seduce her at a party, but she rejected him because she had started a relationship with Phil Spector, who would become her husband four years later, in 1968.

The marriage was hell. This is how Ronnie describes it in his 1990 memoir, Be My Baby: How I survived Mascara, Miniskirts and Madness. Spector abused her psychologically and controlled all aspects of her life, both personal and professional. It did not allow him to leave the couple’s mansion in Los Angeles. “I was crying every night,” he told this newspaper a few years ago. The situation led her to drink just so she could leave the house for alcoholic meetings.

The relationship with Spector sunk Ronnie’s career. In 1971, George Harrison, after All Things Must Pass, gave him several songs for an album that would be released on Apple, the Beatles’ label. The recording sessions at Abbey Road featured musicians from Derek and the Dominoes and Badfinger, as well as Leon Russell. John Lennon also played the piano. But it was all a fiasco. The group worked on four songs until an alleged episode of Phil Spector’s health forced everyone to stop. From those recordings came Try Some, Buy Some and Tandoori Chicken. Ronnie Spector did not feel comfortable with the first song, composed by Harrison, because she did not understand what it was about. “Was it about religion? Sex? Drugs? It was unnerving. The more George sang, the more he puzzled me, ”he wrote. The song was canned for 40 years. The experience, however, did not overshadow a decades-long friendship that began when the Beatles invited The Ronnettes in 1966 to accompany them on tour.

Ronnie, who finally had her first solo album in 1981, was also close friends with Keith Richards, the guitarist for The Rolling Stones, who sponsored the group when they entered the Hall of Fame in 2007. “Keith, whenever I see you I feel sorry for you. which is 1964. As you have told me: they never thought we would live to see this. Ha, we cheated on them! ”He said. In 2016, in a nod to the past, he released a tribute album to the music of the British invasion.

Part of the incomprehensible delay in the Ronettes’ induction into the Hall of Fame was due to Phil Spector. The influential producer, who received the same honors in 1989, operated to avoid the appointment of his ex-wife, whom he divorced in 1973. Years later, in 1980, Ronnie took Spector to court demanding years of defaults. The producer had paid them $ 15,000 when he signed The Ronettes. They never saw a dollar more despite the successes. The trial to receive the royalties lasted 15 years. In 2000 a judge awarded them more than $ 2 million, but the decision was reversed on appeal.

At the 2007 ceremony Ronnie had the luxury of not mentioning her ex-husband even once. “Thanks to Stu Phillips, our first producer,” he underlined and left a dramatic sarcastic silence on the air. The words came a week before Phil Spector’s trial for the murder of model and actress Lana Clarkson began, in which he was found guilty.

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