The American singer Ronnie Spector, leader of the group Les Ronettes and unforgettable voice of the tube Be my baby, died on Wednesday January 12 at the age of 78, her family announced.
“Our beloved angel, Ronnie, peacefully left this world today after a brief battle with cancer”his relatives said in a statement. “Ronnie has lived his life with a sparkle in his eye, a spirited demeanor, a fierce sense of humor and a smile on his face.”, adds his family.
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Ronnie Spector was born Veronica Greenfield on August 10, 1943, in New York, to an African-American and Native American mother and father of Irish descent, in the neighborhood of Spanish Harlem. She had formed the Ronettes with her sister, Estelle Bennett and her cousin Nedra Talley.
The group made a name for itself in the New York area, with its soulful love songs, before signing in 1963 with legendary producer Phil Spector, soon to be Ronnie’s husband. Les Ronettes rolled out a series of hits in the early 1960s, including Baby, I love you, (The Best Part of) Breakin ‘Up, Where Be my baby, who was inducted into the 1999 Grammy Hall of Fame. The song, emblematic of Phil Spector’s symphonic production style, known as Wall of sound, has been used as a soundtrack in films like Mean streets by Martin Scorsese (1973) or Dirty Dancing (1987).
Along with the Supremes, the Ronettes were one of the most popular groups of the era, and the only girl group to tour with the Beatles, opening their act in 1966.
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In 1967, the Ronettes split up and Ronnie Spector continued a solo career, punctuated by several collaborations with artists such as Eddie Money and Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band. His album released in 2006, The last of the Rock Stars, included collaborations with Keith Richards and Patti Smith.