Ronnie Spector, who brought the sound of a girl group, dies at 78

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Ronnie Spector, lead singer of Ronettes, the 1960s vocal trio who brought a passionate, bad girl side to the sound of pop girl groups with hits like “Be My Baby” and “Baby, I Love You” , died on Wednesday. She was 78 years old.

She died after “a brief battle with cancer,” according to a statement from her family, which gave no further details.

With tousled hair, tight clothes and seductive looks, the three young women of the Ronettes – Ronnie, née Veronica Bennett; his sister Estelle; and their cousin Nedra Talley – transformed the virginal model that had defined female pop groups since the 1940s.

And in songs like “Be My Baby”, a No. 2 hit in 1963, they sang with thin but powerful vocals of urban romance (“We’ll make them turn their heads wherever we go”), on the bloating production Phil Spector’s “sound barrier”.

The song became a 1960s pop icon that seemed to reveal both innocence and courage, and it garnered the constant admiration of fellow musicians.

The Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards, in his speech inducting the Ronettes into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2007, described hearing the band warm up backstage when they shared touring plans in the 1960s. could sing through a wall of sound, ”he said. “They didn’t need anything.

Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, who modeled his own work as a producer on that of Mr. Spector, recalled in 2013: “I was driving and had to pull over on the side of the road – it got me. blown away. I started to analyze all guitars, pianos, bass, drums and percussion. Once I learned all of this, I knew how to make records.

The song appeared in Martin Scorsese’s “Mean Streets”, the 1987 television hit “Moonlighting” and the title sequence of “Dirty Dancing”, a placement that gave the film’s producer “goose bumps.”

Ms Spector later detailed the abuse she suffered while married to Mr Spector. When the band were inducted into Rock Hall, they conspicuously didn’t mention their former producer.

A full obituary will be published shortly.

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