Happy 70th Birthday to Ronnie Spector of The Ronettes, a group of my generation, the Baby Boomer Generation. I listened to Ronnie and The Ronettes (originally the Ronettes) on that 6-transistor portable radio my parents gifted me for my Grade 6 graduation. Just a side note: In April, 2013, I mentioned my transistor radio and that I listened to a gread DJ, Jerry White, on WJRZ who played every folkie: Dylan, Baez, Patrick Sky and so many more. Well yesterday, I received an email from Jerry White’s daughter who said he died last May, 2012 and he loved those days as a DJ on WJRZ out of Newark, NJ. Wow, I couldn’t get over hearing from her!
I was 10 years old when the Ronettes released “Be My Baby” written by the great songwriting husband/wife duo, Jeff Barry (a Brooklyn Boy!) and Ellie Greenwich (a Brooklyn Girl!) and, of course, produced by Phil Spector.
“Ronnie Spector was born and raised in upper Manhattan. She formed the Ronettes while in her teens and released her first records in 1961 on the Colpix label. One of those early songs was “You Bet I Would,” co-written by Carole King. Another was the rocking “He Did It,” written by Jackie DeShannon and Sharon Sheeley – which Ronnie still performs today. The Ronettes were also professional singers and dancers at New York’s Peppermint Lounge. There they were discovered by legendary disc jockey “Murray the K” (Murray Kaufman), who promptly hired them as dancers for his Brooklyn Fox Theater rock and roll revues. Beginning in 1963, Ronnie Spector – as lead singer of the ultimate girl group, The Ronettes – recorded a long string of classic pop hits: powerful, poignant teen anthems like the Grammy Award-winning “Walking in the Rain,” “Do I Love You,” “Baby I Love You,” “The Best Part of Breaking Up,” “I Can Hear Music,” and the international Number One smash “Be My Baby.” These records are among the best-loved and most-emulated recordings in the history of rock and roll. “There were girl group hits before the Ronettes,” wrote Canadian critic Carl Wilson in a 2003 feature for the Toronto Globe & Mail. “But Ronnie Spector was the first woman in rock to provoke anything like the hysteria that Elvis had caused, which was soon to engulf the Beatles.” –ronniespector.com
Ronnie Spector is still rockin’ on!