Ronnie Spector — the cat-eyed rock ‘n’ roll singer who fronted the 1960s group the Ronettes, whose era-defining hits included the classic 'Be My Baby' — died on Wednesday. She was 78 years old.
“Our beloved earth angel, Ronnie, peacefully left this world today after a brief battle with cancer,” read a family statement.
“Ronnie lived her life with a twinkle in her eye, a spunky attitude, a wicked sense of humour and a smile on her face,” the statement continued. “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.” Born Veronica Greenfield in New York’s Spanish Harlem on August 10, 1943, Spector was the daughter of an African-American and Cherokee mother and Irish-American father.
She formed the musical group that became known as the Ronettes with her sister Estelle Bennett and cousin Nedra Talley. They gained traction in the New York area with their soulful songs of young love, before signing in 1963 with the then-legendary producer Phil Spector — whom she later married.
Originally published in Dawn, January 14, 2022