Ronnie Spector passed away after a brief battle with cancer. However, her legacy spans past her lifetime and beyond.
By Luna Wyatt – 11th grade
A tragic destiny. On January 12, 2022, Veronica Bennet 78 years, passed away. Better known under the name of Ronnie Spector, she formed the girl group, the Ronettes, with her older sister Estelle Bennet and their cousin Nedra Talley in 1957. They recorded some singles with Colpex Records, which were unsuccessful. It was then the girls signed with Phil Spector, American record producer who worked with artists such as Stevie Wonder, Ben E King, the Beatles, and the Beach Boys.
They came out with several hits, including “Be My Baby,” “Walking in the Rain,” “Sleigh Ride,” and more. Unfortunately, Phil turned out to be a black mark on Ronnie’s record. He reportedly used holding artists at gunpoint as a producing tactic, some of those artists being John Lennon, Leonard Cohen, and the Ramones. Phil and Ronnie eloped in 1968, the marriage going south practically as soon as it began. Spector held his new bride hostage in his mansion, fortified with firearms and bodyguards. She later commented, “I used to cry myself to sleep every night. I missed singing so much. And performing. Man, I missed it so much.” He tied her up and locked her in a closet, and hid her shoes so she couldn’t walk out on him. The most disturbing affront was that he installed a gold coffin with a glass top in the basement of the house, saying that he would kill her and display her corpse if she ever left him. He allegedly threatened, “I can keep my eye on you after you’re dead.”
In 1972 she was able to get free, breaking the glass of a sliding door and escaping barefoot. She divorced him in 1974, consequently saying, “I knew if I didn’t leave at that time, I was going to die there.” In 2009, Spector was charged with the murder of actress and model Lana Clarkson. He died of natural causes, in prison, during January of 2021. Still, as a member of the Ronettes, Ronnie received much recognition. This included a Grammy Award and a special mention on the People’s Hall of Rock and Roll Legends. The Ronettes have been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame (1999), the Vocal Group Hall of Fame (2004), and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (2007). The Ronettes were at the forefront of the 1960s girl group trend, changing the lives of many. As Ronnie said it best, “the people need to feel the music.” Rest in power, Ronnie.