Ronnie Spector, lead singer of the Ronettes and 1960s icon, dies aged 78

13 January 2022, 00:46

Ronnie Spector, the lead singer of the group Ronettes, has died.
Ronnie Spector, the lead singer of the group Ronettes, has died. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

Ronnie Spector, lead singer of the Ronettes and the soaring voice behind hits like "Be My Baby", has died at the age of 78 after a "brief cancer battle".

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Her family say she lived her life "with a twinkle in her eye", as they paid tribute to the rock 'n' roll siren who died on Wednesday following a short battle with cancer.

"Ronnie lived her life with a twinkle in her eye, a spunky attitude, a wicked sense of humour and a smile on her face. She was filled with love and gratitude," a statement said.

Alongside her sister Estelle Bennett and cousin Nedra Talley, Spector scored hits with pop masterpieces like Baby, I Love You, Walking In The Rain, I Can Hear Music and Be My Baby, which was co-written by Spector, Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich.

Ronnie Spector has died.
Ronnie Spector has died. Picture: Alamy

The Ronettes' sexy look and powerful voices - plus songwriting and producing help from Phil Spector - turned them into one of the premier acts of the girl-group era, touring England with the Rolling Stones and befriending the Beatles.

"We weren't afraid to be hot. That was our gimmick," Spector said in her memoir.

"When we saw The Shirelles walk on stage with their wide party dresses, we went in the opposite direction and squeezed our bodies into the tightest skirts we could find. Then we'd get out on stage and hike them up to show our legs even more."

She is survived by her husband, Jonathan Greenfield, and two sons, Jason and Austin.

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