Synopsis of Pop Music
"The night we met,
I knew I needed you so,
And if I had the chance,
I'd never let you go..."
Without a doubt, the Ronettes made some of the most exciting girl-group records of the 1960's. With pop production wizard Phil Spector behind the controls, this female trio released a string of lush yet bracing hits that can still cause listeners’ hearts to beat quickly today.
The Ronettes were a family affair: Ronnie and Estelle Bennett were sisters, and their cousin Nedra Talley rounded out the trio. They got their start as dancers at New York’s Peppermint Lounge and toured with Joey Dee and the Starliters (the club’s house band) when the latter had a #1 hit with “Peppermint Twist.” Shortly afterwards, they began releasing singles to moderate sale, but the all-female trio truly sealed their future as hitmakers when pop mogul Phil Spector signed them to his label in 1963.
Spector adored Ronnie’s voice and knew it would provide a glorious crowning touch for his elaborate 'wall of sound' production style. He set to work in the studio with trio and the result was “Be My Baby,” a declaration of love with a thunderous, almost operatic production that was sealed by Ronnie’s sultry, heartfelt vocals. “Be My Baby” became a #2 hit and the trio went off on a successful tour. They ended 1963 by appearing on A Christmas Gift For You, the classic various-artists Christmas album produced by Phil Spector.
1964 was a year of Top-40 success for the Ronettes as they racked up hits with ornately-produced, emotion-drenched songs like “Baby I Love You,” “The Best Part of Breaking Up,” and “Do I Love You?” They continued to tour the U.S. and also did a tour of the U.K., becoming friends with the Beatles. The trio ended year with a fourth hit, the intense ballad “Walking In The Rain,” which later won a Grammy for its innovative use of ‘rain’ sound effects.
The Ronettes continued to record and tour throughout 1965. They also made frequent appearances on television, including a CBS special called It’s What’s Happening, Baby and the hit pop-variety show Hullabaloo. Ronnie married Phil Spector during this time, and the trio disbanded in 1966 after one last single, “I Can Hear Music.” Ronnie did the occasional solo recording until she reformed the Ronettes in 1973 with new singers. This unit lasted three years, after which Ronnie did some backup-singing for Bruce Springsteen and returned to solo work.
More than two decades after her original success, Ronnie Spector had a #4 hit duet, “Take Me Home Tonight,” with Eddie Money in 1987. In the song, Ronnie got to revive the chorus line from her past classic, “Be My Baby.” This knowing tribute was an effective testament to her work with the Ronettes and demonstrated the influence that their heavenly music has had and will continue to have on popular music.
Artist Release History1963 - Christmas Gift
1964 - Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes
1965 - The Ronettes
1992 - The Best of the Ronettes
Pop Sub Categoriespop
Essential Music AlbumsThe Best of the Ronettes (ABKCO)
Band MembersRonnie Spector vocals
Estelle Bennett vocals
Nedra Talley vocals