According to Rolling Stone, singer Ronnie Spector, co-founder of The Ronettes, passed away on Wednesday after losing her battle with cancer. She, along with her sister and cousin, formed the 1960s girl group, The Ronettes. Her family also released a statement through Spector’s personal website:
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. Ronnie lived her life with a twinkle in her eye, a spunky attitude, a wicked sense of humor and a smile on her face. 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. In lieu of flowers, Ronnie requested that donations be made to your local women’s shelter or to the American Indian College Fund. A celebration of Ronnie’s life and music will be announced in the future. The family respectfully asks for privacy at this time.
The Life and Times of Veronica Yvette Bennett
Initially named Veronica Yvette Bennett, Ronnie Spector was born in Spanish Harlem, New York, on August 10, 1943. Her mother was African-American and Cherokee, with her father being Irish-American. Her older sister, Estelle Bennett, and their cousin, Nedra Talley, were no strangers to singing, eventually forming the Darling Sisters as they attended George Washington High School in Washington Heights, Manhattan.
The Ronettes started performing at local establishments in the greater New York area. After some successes, they were eventually signed to the Colpix Records label and produced some singles with little success. So the trio decided to leave their label and signed with Phil Spector’s Philles Records in 1963.
Spector would help them find success with hits Be My Baby (1963), Baby, I Love You (1963), The Best Part of Breakin’ Up (1964), Do I Love You? (1964), and Walking in the Rain (1964). This also got them the opportunity to tour with and even open for The Beatles in 1966 as both bands went on a 14-city tour across America.
Eventually, in 1967 the trio broke up and would regroup in 1973, and this go-around would only last a year. Ronnie married Phil Spector in 1968, and they would later divorce in 1973 after their marriage turned toxic. The co-founder of the Ronettes‘ last single came in 2017 by the name of Love Power, which was the first Ronettes single in over a decade.
Not only was Ronnie Spector a singer, but she was also a wife and mother to their two sons, Austin Drew and Jason Charles.