Be My Baby | Ronnie Spector & The Ronettes, 1962-1967

The Ronettes, from left Ronnie Bennett, Nedra Talley, and Estelle Bennett, early 1960s
“When Phil Spector first heard my voice, I remember he came to one audition to see if I sounded
as great as he thought I did, and he saw us at this little club… When he came to a rehearsal, and
I sang one of Frankie Lymon’s songs, he knocked the bench over from the piano and said,
‘That’s the voice I’ve been looking for.’… I’ll never forget that. And that’s just before they
 went in and wrote ‘Be My Baby.'”

“Brian Wilson was there when I sang `Be My Baby. They wouldn’t let him in the studio, but he
was peeking through one of the little windows. I never forgot that desperate look on his face.”

Ronnie Spector, interview from Connecticut.

Brian Wilson has since referred to “Be My Baby” as the greatest song ever written.
“Don’t Worry Baby” had an equally profound impact on Ronnie Spector,
as a tribute to Brian Wilson, she recorded this in 1999.

Brian Wilson hears Ronnie Spector’s “Don’t Worry Baby”.

“I look around me and I don’t see any rock’n’roll at the moment. Instead it’s all choreography
and stylists and wigs and stuff. It’s like they’re afraid to let the music breathe. No one has their
own identity like the Ronettes did back in the day. We had the skirts with the slits up the side,
sort of tough, sort of Spanish Harlem cool, but sweet too. We didn’t have no dancers, we didn’t
have no goddamn wigs.”

“But, you know, the Stones were my opening act in the Sixties. I loved those British guys,
the way they just stood there and shook their hair.”

“No one has their own identity like the Ronettes did back in the day.”

Ronnie252C2B1962Rolling Stones Ronettes 2BGranada2BTheatre2BWalthamstow2B252822529
Ronnie Spector, 1962                       Ronettes / Rolling Stones – Granada Theatre Walthamstow

“The people need to feel the music.”

“I love Ruth Brown, not just her singing, but Ruth Brown has more girl power than anyone,
because she fought hard against people who ripped her off and then helped other artists
through the Rhythm and Blues Foundation.”

Ronnie Spector, 1961                                          Phill Spector & The Ronettes, Gold Star Studios, L.A., CA, 1963, ph. Ray Avery

“My honeymoon night was spent on the floor in the bathroom with my mother.”

“I have three adopted children with Phil, and for years I was fighting in court with
him over being able to see my kids.”

“I never tried to kill myself or anything.”

Veronica Bennett, later known as
Ronnie Spector

phil spector ronnie sdgcd

Ronnie and Phil Spector, 1963

Ronnie Spector was married to Phil Spector from 1968 to 1974.

Ronnie was 17 and Spector was 24 when they met. I ask her what she fell in love with.

“First,” she says, “I fell in love with his coolness. He was very cool. Always had one hand in his pocket.
And he had a cute butt. I loved his tush, he had the cutest tush. The way he handled the band – here’s a guy, 24 years old, yet he’s telling married men with children what to do? That turned me on so much. I fell in love with that power.”


The Ronettes as young Bronx school girls, from left – Nedra Talley, Ronnie & Estelle Bennett, circa 1961-62
The Ronettes consisted of lead singer Veronica Bennett , her older sister Estelle Bennett and their cousin Nedra Talley.

At first, Phil Spector wanted to sign only Ronnie Bennett.  Beatrice Bennett, however, insisted it was a package deal – all three or none at all.
So in early 1963, the Ronettes became part of Phil Spector’s Philles Records

Be My Baby composed by the trio of Phil Spector, Jeff Barry, and Ellie Greenwich (1963)

Ronnie Spector is the only Ronette to appear on Be My Baby. The Ronettes there is also Cher and Darlene Love, helping with additional backup vocals.

“I always commiserated [with the singers] because Phil didn’t pay too much attention to them.  He treated them as if they were another instrument.
I mean, they weren’t ill-treated, they were just ignored.”

 Larry Levine, studio engineer

Phil Spector with engineer Larry Levine at the custom-made12-channel mixer in the control room at Gold Star.
Seventeen year old2BCher2B2528back252C2Bright25292Band2BPhil2BSpector2Bin2Bthe2Bstudio2Bduring2Bthe2Brecording2Bof2BA2BChristmas2BGift2Bfor2BYou2Bfrom2BPhilles2BRecords.
Cher (far right) at Gold Star studios during session work as a back up singer for the Ronettes.
 Over the other shoulder of Phil Spector is Darlene Love (The Crystals), 1963
Seventeen year old2BCher2B2528back252C2Bright25292Band2BPhil2BSpector2Bin2Bthe2Bstudio2Bduring2Bthe2Brecording2Bof2BA2BChristmas2BGift2Bfor2BYou2Bfrom2BPhilles2BRecords.b
Seventeen-year-old Cher (back, right) and Phil Spector in the studio during the recording
of A Christmas Gift for You from Philles Records, 1963

1 thought on “Be My Baby | Ronnie Spector & The Ronettes, 1962-1967

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *