Ronnie Spector, frontwoman of iconic 60s girl group The Ronettes, has passed away at age 78, according to a statement shared by her family.
Spector’s voice was front and center on classic hits like “Walking In the Rain,” “(The Best Part of) Breakin’ Up,” and the momentous smash hit, “Be My Baby,” which circled back around to mainstream popularity in 1986 by way of Eddie Money’s hit single “Take Me Home Tonight.”
The influence of “Be My Baby” alone was enormous, with Brian Wilson, the primary creative force behind The Beach Boys, citing the song as the greatest record he had ever heard. The singer apparently spent countless hours attempting to understand the secrets of the record’s sound.
Such secrets came, in no small part, as a result of the trademark production of Spector’s future-husband Phil Spector, whose surname she took, replacing her birth-name, Bennett. The two married in 1968 after years of maintaining a working relationship. The marriage was fraught with psychological abuse from Spector, whose peculiarities and psychological issues had been well documented up until his death last year. Spector detailed these years in her autobiography, Be My Baby: How I Survived Mascara, Miniskirts, and Madness.
Spector would continue to use the producer’s last name throughout her career, despite the two having separated in 1972 and divorced in 1974. The singer married Johnathan Greenfield in 1982 and the couple had two sons together, in a union which would last up until Spector’s passing.
An excerpt from the family statement shared to www.ronniespector.com reads,
“Our beloved earth angel, Ronnie, peacefully left this world today after a brief battle with cancer. She was with family and in the arms of her husband, Jonathan.”