“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.
“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.”
“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.”
“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 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.”