Ronnie Spector is a famous pop singer. She is a swaggering 1960s pop icon with the sky-high beehive whose sultry, quavering voice-powered numerous hits for The Ronettes, including “Be My Baby,” has died, her family announced in a statement Wednesday. She was 78.
“Our beloved earth angel, Ronnie, peacefully left this world today after a brief battle with cancer,” the family said. “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.”
Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys has called “Be My Baby” the greatest pop recording ever produced.
Tributes to Spector’s talent began pouring in from music royalty.
“I just heard the news about Ronnie Spector and I don’t know what to say,” Wilson wrote on Twitter. “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.”
Joan Jett said Spector’s “mark on rock and roll is indelible.”
Born Veronica Bennett in the Spanish Harlem neighborhood of New York City, she formed the Ronettes in 1961 with an older sister and a cousin while she was still a teenager.
The group didn’t become famous until after they auditioned two years later for music producer Phil Spector, creator of the 1960s’ “Wall of Sound” style, who signed them to his label.
Fueled by the runaway success of “Be My Baby,” their first single for Spector, they toured the country with Dick Clark’s Caravan of Stars and reeled off a string of pop hits over the next several years, including “Baby I Love You,” “Walking in the Rain” and “Do I Love You?”