Ronette frontman and “Be My Baby” singer Ronnie Spector dies at 78

Ronnie Spector, singer of beloved ’60s girl group the Ronettes, has died of cancer, her family announced on Wednesday. She was 78 years old.

On their website, the family’s statement reads: “Our beloved earthly angel, Ronnie, peacefully left this world today after a brief battle with cancer. She was with her family and in her husband’s arms, Jonathan [Greenfield]. Ronnie lived his life with a sparkle in his eyes, a brave demeanor, a wicked sense of humor and a smile on his face. She was filled with love and gratitude. Her cheerful sound, playful nature and magical presence will live on in anyone who has known, heard or seen her.

Born Veronica Bennett in 1943 in Harlem, Ronnie rose to fame as the lead singer of The Ronettes, a group she formed with her sister Estelle Bennett and their cousin. Nedre Talley. Their song “Be My Baby” was their biggest hit and they joined The Beatles on their American tour in 1966.

From 1968 to 1974, she was married to Phil Spector, who produced many of the group’s records and died almost exactly a year ago. In his memories, Be my baby she detailed her refusal to let her out of their home, among other allegations of emotional abuse. Spector was convicted of murder in 2009 and died while serving his sentence, but as Ronnie wrote on Instagram after his death, “I always smile whenever I hear the music we made together. , and I always will. Music will be forever.

In 1982, she married manager Jonathan Greenfield and her band was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.

Her family wrote that they had asked for donations from local women’s shelters or the American Indian College Fund in lieu of flowers, noting that a celebration of life would be imminent.

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