Thank you, Ronnie Spector

Having just downloaded it into my musical library, I am listening to “Be My Baby: The Very Best of the Ronettes,” and thinking how lucky I am, me and my generation.

My parent’s generation had some girl groups, the most famous being the Andrews Sisters. 

My generation — my oh my.

Some starting in the ‘50s, the girl groups exploded in the ‘60s.

The Ronettes, the Chiffons, the Shirelles, Martha and the Vandellas, the Blossoms (led by Darlene Love), the Cookies, the Shangri-Las, the Crystals, and the supreme Supremes. 

All but the Shangri-Las we’re Black, and my feeling is rock ‘n’ roll — a product of my generation — did more to integrate America, more to open white eyes to Black people — than any other force in society.

I am reminiscing now following the death of Ronnie Spector, lead singer of the Ronettes, and a powerful, breakthrough artist.

Did any group ever use the word “baby” more often, and to greater effect?

Veronica Bennett, backed by her sister Estelle Bennett and their cousin Nedra Talley, created not just a sound, but a look.

Ronnie was not afraid to sell sex, and the trio loaded up on eyeliner, mascara, and tight dresses, their hair swept up. 

“We didn’t have a hit record to grab their attention, so we had to make an impression with our style,” Ronnie said in an interview. “We weren’t afraid to be hot. That was our gimmick.”

They were soon to have hits, most of which had a distinctive heavy drum beat, and handclaps.

Thanks for the music, Ronnie. Thanks for the memories. 

13 thoughts on “Thank you, Ronnie Spector”

  1. I’m about seven years behind you, but I loved all the girl groups you mentioned. By the way, “Seven Years Behind Bykofsky, Yet on the Same Page” sounds like the title of a book. 🙂

    Rock n roll AND Dick Clark ( no relation ) opened this country up like never before .

  3. And I love her cameo performance on Eddie Money’s song, Take Me Home Tonight, where he says “Just like Ronnie sang” and she replies “Be My Little Baby”.

  4. You’re so right. The Wall of Sound has been crumbling, but Ronnie Spector leaves a major hole

  5. Today’s music: you can’t sing it, you can’t dance to it, and it is eminently forgettable. Yet we still love the music of the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Or maybe it’s just me, an old grump.

    1. You forgot the 50’s Vince. The mix of popular and r&r started in the 50’s and continued into the 60’s. Then in the 60’s folk music joined them. But “Rock and Roll is here to stay, it will never die.”

      1. Good point. I still remember Joe Niagara on WIBG kicking off the sound of rock and roll every night, at the very beginning of the R&R tidal wave in the 1950s. “Rock Around the Clock” was the national anthem of R&R. Here’s some trivia for you: Joe Niagara followed ‘Doug Arthur’s Danceland’ on WIBG, and Dough HATED the sound of R&R.

  6. The Ronettes were one of my favorite girl groups and I love many of their songsThey were hot and talented.I was fortunate enough to actually meet her.It was after an oldies show at Valley Forge Music Circus She came into the crowd up to me and my wife and said this was my first performance in several years how was I? I told her you were fantastic and sounded exactly like your records. She thanked me and signed my program. The Valley Forge Music Circus was one of the best venues to watch a show.I must have been there a hundred times and saw many top performers of musis & comedy.I miss it more than any venue I have ever been to.

  7. RIP Ronnie. My condolences to her friends and family.
    I will always remember when I first heard “Be My Baby” and “Walking In The Rain”. While I loved all of the records by the Ronettes those two are my favorites

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