Music: Ronnie Spector is gone and hearts break

by Bob Schwartz

Ronnie Spector died this past week.

It profanes talking about her by starting with Phil Spector, but it is an unavoidable preface.

Phil Spector was a genius record producer who changed pop music. He helped turn Ronnie’s extraordinary talent into memorable hits with the Ronettes. He was also a very strange man who abused women, including Ronnie after marrying her, and including another woman he murdered.

Adolescent boys (boys of any age) loved Ronnie Spector. Crush love. It was the pure voice, strong but soft, kittenish but grown cat. It was the songs, tuneful and romantic, about how she wanted you (Be My Baby) or was looking for someone like you (Walking in the Rain) or knew that after you split up it would be better than ever (Best Part of Breaking Up).

Just as much, it was the look. There was and are plenty of beautiful sexy women around, some in your real life, more in the world of entertainment. But none of them looked like Ronnie Spector. Maybe the beauty was a bonus on top of the voice, maybe the other way round. Either way, it is a gift that is cherished.