Ronnie Spector

By: Mimi Lipson
August 10, 2010

Editor’s note: This is one of the most popular posts, traffic-wise, ever published on HiLobrow. Click here to see a list of the Top 25 Most Popular posts (as of October 2012); and click here for an archive of all of HILOBROW’s most popular posts.


RONNIE SPECTOR (born Veronica Bennett, 1943), her sister Estelle, and their cousin Nedra Tally were a naturally occurring girlgroup: aggressive, fashionable, racially ambiguous, reared in musical homes in the multiracial Manhattan neighborhood of Washington Heights. Phil Spector must have felt the heavenly nimbus of destiny descend upon him when he first heard The Ronettes sing. “So young,” Ronnie quavered on an indifferent pre-Philles release. “Can’t marry no one”; but her voice didn’t sound young at all. It throbbed with friction and experience, and it was majestic. Spector had found in Bennett a singer who could break through the Xanadu of instrumentation he would build around her in his Gold Star Studios echo chamber. He married her, too — a tale for another day — but first he produced a string of pop masterpieces: “Be My Baby,” “Baby I Love You,” “Walking in the Rain,” and on and on, each one a little storm building inexorably, orgiastically to the fade. They were near-perfect records that would have deflated without Ronnie’s lead vocals, and they’ve lived on. The boygroup records that came a decade later emulated her jagged phrasing, defiance, and raw, earnest emotion.



Each day, HILOBROW pays tribute to one of our favorite high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes on that person’s birthday.

READ MORE about men and women born on the cusp between the Anti-Anti-Utopian generation (1934-43) and the Blank Generation (1944-53).

READ MORE HiLo Hero shout-outs.

SUBSCRIBE to HiLo Hero updates via Facebook.

SHARE this post, by clicking on the toolbar below.