Born In: East Harlem, New York, United States
Ronnie Spector was a well-known American rock-and-roll singer of the early 1960s and 1970s, who gained the reputation of being “the original bad girl of rock ‘n’ roll.” Ronnie joined her sister and cousin to form the popular girl band ‘Darling Sisters,’ which later changed its name to ‘The Ronettes.’ After their initial days of struggle, they finally made it big when they signed a deal with Phil Spector and his record label. Their first success came with the song ‘Baby, I Love You,’ and soon, their tracks ‘Is This What I Get for Loving You?’ and ‘Born to be Together’ were among the top 100 hits on the music charts. The group toured Europe, where they performed with ‘The Beatles’ and the ‘The Rolling Stones.’ However, the career of Phil Spector took a negative turn and the band dissolved in the late 1960s. Ronnie married Phil Spector and went through a failed marriage for six years, till she ran away and filed for divorce. She later married Jonathan Greenfield and lived with him in Danbury, Connecticut.
Also Known As: Veronica Greenfield, Veronica Yvette Bennett
Died At Age: 78
Spouse/Ex-: Jonathan Greenfield (m. 1982), Phil Spector (m. 1968–1974)
father: Louis Bennett
mother: Beatrice Bennett
siblings: Estelle Bennett
children: Austin Drew Greenfield, Donte Phillip Spector, Gary Phillip Spector, Jason Charles Greenfield, Louis Phillip Spector
Born Country: United States
Ancestry: Irish American
U.S. State: New Yorkers
Ronnie Spector was born Veronica Yvette Bennett, on August 10, 1943, in East Harlem, New York City, New York, US. Her father was of Irish–American descent and her mother was of African–American/Cherokee descent. She had a sister named Estelle Bennett, with whom she grew up in Spanish Harlem. Ronnie and Estelle were raised by their mother, as their father had abandoned the family when the children were still very young.
Ronnie Spector career received a boost in the mid-1960s, when ‘The Ronettes’ signed a deal with Phil Spector and his record label, ‘Philles Records.’ Their first success came with the songs ‘Baby, I Love You’, ‘Be My Baby,’ and ‘The Best Part of Breaking Up.’ By 1965, their tracks ‘Is This What I Get for Loving You?’ and ‘Born to be Together’ were among the top 100 hits on the music charts. Ronnie’s voice was ideally suited to Phil Spector’s ‘Wall of Sound’ effect that was in vogue at that time.
After her band broke up, Ronnie Spector went solo with the single ‘Try Some, Buy Some.’ She worked with George Harrison and John Lennon but failed to produce any major hits. In the mid-1970s, she briefly formed a new ‘The Ronettes’ with Chip Fields and Dian Linton. However, their music did not match up to the works of the original band.
Ronnie Spector recorded her first solo album, ‘Siren,’ in 1980. This paved her way to work with the punk-rock star Joey Ramone and his band. By 1986, she had regained her popularity and was featured on Eddie Money’s ‘Top 5 Hit’ list, with her song ‘Take Me Home Tonight,’ which became one of the top videos on ‘MTV’ that year.
In 2016, her album ‘English Heart,’ which was her version of the songs of bands such as ‘The Beatles,’ ‘The Rolling Stones,’ and the ‘Bee Gees,’ peaked at number six on the ‘Billboard Top Heatseekers’ chart. Lately, in August 2017, ‘People’ magazine featured her and ‘The Ronettes,’ with their new single, ‘Love Power,’ produced by Narada Michael Walden. Thus, her music career traveled a full circle.
As a solo artist, Ronnie Spector recorded the albums ‘Siren’ (1987), ‘Unfinished Business’ (1987), ‘She Talks to Rainbows’ (1999), ‘Something’s Gonna Happen’ (2003), ‘Last of the Rock Stars’ (2006), and ‘English Heart’ (2016).
Ronnie married songwriter and record producer Phil Spector in 1968. The couple adopted three children, Donté, Louis, and Gary Phillip. Spector had earlier launched Ronnie’s music career. However, Ronnie accused him of imprisoning her in their California mansion and tormenting her psychologically. During this period, she took refuge in drugs and even attempted suicide. Ultimately, she escaped from the mansion in 1972, with the help of her mother, and filed for divorce in 1974.
Ronnie later married Jonathan Greenfield, in 1982. They had two sons, Austin Drew and Jason Charles. The couple lived in Danbury, Connecticut.
Ronnie Spector died from cancer on January 12, 2022. She was 78.
Ronnie provided a glimpse of her tormented life with Phil Spector in her memoir, ‘Be My Baby: How I Survived Mascara, Miniskirts, and Madness,’ which was published in 1990.
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