Ronnie Spector in 1966 Credit: Public domain; https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ronnie_Spector_1966.jpg

The unapologetically sultry rock and roll singer of The Ronettes has died at 78 years old.

Spector was an incredible influence to countless bands and rock artists such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, who opened for her early in their careers, along with great admiration from Madonna, Aretha Franklin and Amy Winehouse who fashioned her signature beehive hairstyle after Spector’s iconic style.

The Ronettes’ 1963 classic hit, “Be My Baby” changed the landscape of rock and roll and transformed the presence, look and feel of Black female frontwomen for decades to come.

Spector, who was African American, Irish and Cherokee, grew up in Spanish Harlem in New York City, and revolutionized the New York punk scene just as much as the mainstream rockers who could not get enough of her bad girl image and sensual voice over the famous music producer, Phil Spector’s unique production style called “The Wall of Sound,” which offered an echoing larger than life sound that helped make Ronnie and the Ronettes musical icons. The Ronettes released a number of Top 40 hit songs following “Be My Baby” including three 1964 songs “(The Best Part of) Breakin’ Up,” “Do I Love You?” and “Walking in the Rain.” The year 1965 ushered in the songs, “Born to Be Together” and “Is

This What I Get for Loving You?” which made the top 100 charts.

The Ronettes broke up in 1967 and Ronnie Spector married Phil Spector, enduring years of traumatic abuse from the producer, but continued to revive her music career in the early 1970s, with recordings with The Beatles, George Harrison and the reforming of the Ronettes in 1973 with new members (Chip Fields Hurd and Diane Linton).

Spector never truly picked up traction the way she did in the 1960s, but continued to make music through the 2000s singing backup for the punk band, The Misfits in 2004 and releasing albums in 2006, 2016 and a single called “Love Power” in 2017 as Ronnie Spector and The Ronettes.

The history is all there and just waiting to be explored as this one-of-a-kind Black woman music trailblazer can be sighted as one of the most important rock musicians of all time. She was cool, funny and gave the rock world more gifts and inspiration than one can describe. She will be deeply missed and will never be forgotten as a creator, a bright light in a male-dominated industry and a true survivor.

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