Born Veronica Yvette Bennett in New York City, Ronnie Spector was the lead vocalist of The Ronettes, with her sister Estelle and cousin Nedra on backing vocals. They had some massive hits in the 1960’s, including “Walking In the Rain,” “Baby, I Love You” and, of course, “Be My Baby.” That last number is possibly the best known example of producer Phil Spector’s “Wall of Sound”, a recording formula that incorporated multiple guitarists playing in unison, full string and horn sections, the unusually reverberant echo chamber of L.A.’s Gold Star Studios, and a band of the best studio musicians in the business—The Wrecking Crew. It all came together to create mono recordings that didn’t lose their grandeur, even when played through the tinny speakers of transistor radios. That sound would have a profound influence on the Beach Boys, The Beatles, and countless others.
Phil Spector was a genius, but a mad one. The Ronettes broke up in 1967 and Ronnie married Phil in 1968. It didn’t take long for his possessive, threatening type of madness to surface. Continue reading