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The Ronettes (Holiday)

The Ronettes weren't the most commercially successful girl group, but their music was some of the most groundbreaking in the field, thanks to their association with the legendary Wall of Sound producer Phil Spector. Their biggest hit, "Be My Baby," is widely regarded as one of the crowning achievements of Spector's oeuvre, and of girl-group pop in general. In fact, many critics have deemed it one of the most supremely romantic records of the rock & roll era; Spector's production frames the song's yearning lyrics and Ronnie Bennett's sweetly sultry vocals in a sweeping, near-symphonic level of emotion. Even though the Ronettes never managed another hit as big as "Be My Baby," many of their subsequent singles boasted the same kind of creative synergy between Spector and Bennett. It apparently carried over into real life as well, since the two were married in 1968, not long after Bennett went solo. Unfortunately, the union was an unhappy one, as Spector soon turned reclusive and controlling, largely preventing her from recording (or even leaving the house). After their divorce, she recorded sporadically without much success, but became something of a female rock icon when she published her survivor's-tale autobiography.

The Ronettes were formed in the Washington Heights/Spanish Harlem area of New York City. Sisters Veronica (aka Ronnie) and Estelle Bennett and their cousin Nedra Talley first started harmonizing together as teenagers in 1959, inspired by doo wop groups like Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers and Little Anthony & the Imperials. First calling themselves the Darling Sisters, the trio also worked on their dance moves, and won the famed amateur talent contest at the Apollo Theater; afterward, they began formal vocal training. In 1961, they were standing in line to get into the Peppermint Lounge -- epicenter of the twist dance craze -- when a manager mistook them for an act he'd booked. They performed to great response, and were quickly hired as regulars. Later that year, they appeared in the film Twist Around the Clock, and danced in shows staged by disc jockey Murray the K. They also got a record deal with the Colpix label, issuing their debut single "I Want a Boy" as Ronnie & the Relatives that year. Follow-up singles credited the group as the Ronettes, including "I'm on the Wagon," "Silhouettes," and "Good Girls," but none were anything more than regionally popular.

The Ronettes caught their big break when they met Phil Spector, who saw in them talent he could mold to his specifications; he was already tiring of his association with the Crystals, substituting outside singer Darlene Love on several records credited to them. Spector signed the Ronettes to his Philles label, where they were given a more defined image than most female artists of the time. They were still sweet and feminine, to be sure, but they had hints of attitude -- they were photographed with tall hairdos, heavy eyeliner, and tight skirts. Moreover, their songs dared to address the objects of their affection directly ("I love you" as opposed to "I love him"), even -- on a subliminal level -- seductively. Spector lavished all his attention on his new protégées, collaborating on material with some of the top Brill Building songwriting teams. Their first Philles single was "Be My Baby," a tune Spector co-wrote with Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich especially as a showcase for Ronnie Bennett. Right from the often-imitated drum kick that opened the song, "Be My Baby" announced itself as a pop classic; Spector's lush arrangement seemed to echo into infinity, while Bennett's sweet vulnerability captured the hearts of enough teenage male listeners to send the song to number two on the pop charts and number four R&B. It also became the all-time favorite record of Beach Boy Brian Wilson, who was directly inspired to emulate Spector's arsenal of production innovations; he also penned "Don't Worry Baby" for the Ronettes in tribute, but when Spector refused the song, the Beach Boys recorded it themselves for a hit.

None of the Ronettes' other singles even managed to make the Top 20, but they continued to turn out high-quality work over the next two years. Their next hit, 1964's "Baby, I Love You," featured Leon Russell as the session pianist, as well as backup vocal support from Darlene Love and a young Cher. Subsequent singles like "(The Best Part Of) Breakin' Up," "Do I Love You?," "Walking in the Rain," and "Is This What I Get for Loving You?" still rank as all-time girl-group classics; "Walking in the Rain" went on to win a Grammy for Best Sound Effects, the only one Spector ever received. Meanwhile, Spector was testing the waters for Bennett as a solo artist; she recorded a song under the name Veronica, "So Young," which nonetheless included backup harmonies by the other two Ronettes (it was withdrawn not long after release).

With his attention consumed by Tina Turner in early 1966, Spector put the Ronettes on the back burner; one of his final sides with the group, the lovely "I Wish I Never Saw the Sunshine," was never even released. Jeff Barry produced the final Ronettes single for Philles, "I Can Hear Music," in late 1966. Shattered by the cool reception afforded his magnum opus, the Ike & Tina Turner single "River Deep-Mountain High," Spector soon shut down the Philles label, and the Ronettes disbanded. Spector left his wife to marry Bennett in 1968, and the two lived together in Spector's L.A. mansion. However, his behavior grew increasingly erratic and controlling. In spite of Ronnie's ambitions for a solo career, Spector took pains to ensure that she remained at home -- not just refusing to book recording sessions, but not even allowing her to leave the house without his permission. He became psychologically abusive, allegedly threatening to kill her, monitoring her phone calls, and forbidding her to read books or see friends. When the couple failed to conceive children, Spector adopted three -- the last two without even consulting his wife -- which ensured that she was kept busy at home. Even amid all of this, two singles made their way to release -- 1969's aptly titled "You Came, You Saw, You Conquered" (which was credited to the Ronettes Featuring the Voice of Veronica), and 1971's "Try Some, Buy Some," issued on the Beatles' Apple label.

Ronnie left her husband in 1973, and their divorce was finalized the following year; reportedly, Spector made a substantial alimony payment by sending Ronnie a truckload of dimes. Nonetheless, Ronnie kept his last name, and formed a new version of the Ronettes with Denise Edwards and Chip Fields; they recorded a couple of singles for Buddah over 1973-1974, but none charted. Ronnie Spector released several solo records during the late '70s without much success; she did return to the spotlight as a guest vocalist on rocker Eddie Money's Top Five hit "Take Me Home Tonight" in 1986. Two years later, on the heels of a "Be My Baby" revival in the film Dirty Dancing, the three original Ronettes sued Spector for nonpayment of royalties; the case dragged on for years and years. In 1990, Ronnie published her autobiography Be My Baby: How I Survived Mascara, Miniskirts, and Madness; the book was a sensation thanks to its detailed account of her bizarre relationship with Spector, though she maintained that she had been genuinely in love with him at the start, and that he was never physically abusive to her. In late 2001, a New York court announced a verdict in favor of the Ronettes, ordering Spector to pay nearly three million dollars in back royalties; the judgment was later overturned on appeal, but part of the case was sent back to a lower court, renewing the group's hopes. ~ Steve Huey
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Back To Mono (1958-1969)

Disc 1

1. To Know Him Is To Love Him

2. Corrine, Corrina

3. Spanish Harlem

4. Pretty Little Angel Eyes

5. Every Breath I Take

6. I Love How You Love Me

7. Under The Moon Of Love

8. There's No Other Like My Baby

9. Uptown

10. He Hit Me (It Felt Like A Kiss)

11. He's A Rebel

12. Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah

13. Puddin' N' Tain

14. He's Sure The Boy I Love

15. Why Do Lovers Break Each Others Hearts

16. (Today I Met) The Boy I'm Gonna Marry

17. Da Doo Ron Ron

18. Heartbreaker

19. Why Don't They Let Us Fall In Love

20. Chapel Of Love

21. Not Too Young To Get Married

22. Wait Til My Bobby Gets Home

23. All Grown Up

Disc 2

1. Be My Baby

2. Then He Kissed Me

3. A Fine, Fine Boy

4. Baby, I Love You

5. I Wonder

6. Girls Can Tell

7. Little Boy

8. Hold Me Tight

9. (The Best Part Of) Breakin' Up

10. Soldier Baby Of Mine

11. Strange Love

12. Stumble And Fall

13. When I Saw You

14. So Young

15. Do I Love You

16. Keep On Dancing

17. You, Baby

18. Woman In Love (With You)

19. Walking In The Rain

Disc 3

1. You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'

2. Born To Be Together

3. Just Once In My Life

4. Unchained Melody

5. Is This What I Get For Loving You?

6. Long Way To Be Happy

8. Ebb Tide

10. Paradise

11. River Deep-Mountain High

12. I'll Never Need More Than This

13. A Love Like Yours (Don't Come Knockin' Everyday)

14. Save The Last Dance For Me

15. I Wish I Never Saw The Sunshine

16. You Came, You Saw, You Conquered

Disc 4

11. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)

Comments

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I love Holiday music!!! My kids think I'm crazy!!!! Lol
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Don't read this for you will be kissed on the nearest Friday by your crush. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. Now you have started reading this.If you ignore this you'll have bad luck.Put this on 15 songs and 143 minutes
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Don't read this. You will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of you life. Tommorow will be the best day of your life. Don't stop this is freaky. But if you read this and ignore it you will get bad luck. Put this on 15 songs in 143 minutes. When you are done press the space bar and your crushes name appear in big letters on the screen. This is so creepy because it actually works
Report as inappropriate
Don't read this. You will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of you life. Tommorow will be the best day of your life. Don't stop this is freaky. But if you read this and ignore it you will get bad luck. Put this on 15 songs in 143 minutes. When you are done press the space bar and your crushes name appear in big letters on the screen. This is so creepy because it actually works
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larryg215
Christmas comment LOL
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Mackenzie
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50/50
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������������
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This song is awesome
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summerstar84 2 0 0 4
Yuck
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Say iPhone 5 times and pick a color then post this on 5 other songs and look under your pillow

Leave a comment. ..
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Thanks Murry the K
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Smoooooooch
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clairebear.o n e a l
Kiss ur left hand pick a school day and close it hand post this 15 times your crush will kiss you on the day you pick
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clairebear.o n e a l
��
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Merry christmas and a happy new year to
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Booooooo
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jasonakers20 1 4
I love it when I hear this song .
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walkliz
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Kkkkkkklkk
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Kkkkkkkkkkkk k k k k k j k k k k k l k k k l k k k l k l k k l k l k k k k l k k o k i k k o i k k o k k k k k k l k l k l k l k k k k k j m k k k k k m j j k k k k k k k k k l k l k l k k k
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Kl,,,,llllll l , l , l , k j l m j j k j k k k k k k k k k k k k l k l k l k k k k k k l k l k l k m k , m m m k m k m k m k m m k k k m i l k m k k l k l k l k l k l k l k k l k k l m l m k l k l m l m l k l k l k l k l k k l k l k l k l k l k k l k l k k k k l k l k l k l k , m m k m k m
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Kl,Jkjkk
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misnme2
It makes me cry when it comes on . and it my favorite song and my name is Olivia im7
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jholloway370
Love sleigh ride by them
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Merry Christmas :)
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THE GREATEST ALBUM EVER RELEASED ,RIGHT UP THERE WITH SMILE AND PET SOUNDS!!! BRIAN WILSON'S FAVOURITE ALBUM OF ALL TIME !!!! UP THEIR WITH ONLY THE LONELY BY FRANK SINATRA!!!!
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Happy holidays
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Love this song
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blankmanbob
Phil Spector lol
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Blessed time of year. Daniela
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Nothing like Christmas time, So exciting
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Pilove
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Love it!
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Yea it sounds great.
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.so old school go. 1960's XD
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pdpeise
Lol so short
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sistaginga
Kiss your hand 10 times say your crushes name 15 times and post this on 2 songs
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I want a sleigh ride can I
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smbeatyj
Wow!! I know it's only November but this song makes every month feel like Christmas!!!
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Lobe pandora's Christmas music!
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tarahamilto
Old lady;s!...?! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
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shyshy1127
I luv The Ronnettes
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Happy b day to me. I'm soooooo happy!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ¡ ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ¡ ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ¡ ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ¡ ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! G o d bless all.
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Ronnie and Darlene WERE the structural support for Phil Spector's Wall of Sound. Great voices now and then - I caught Ronnie's last Xmas Show and she was awesome!
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4U4US4LOVE4L I F E - R G M
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sweetpeadesi g n s . i n
��
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I'm an elf and I'm looking for Christmas spirit. Follow me if u have Christmas spirit, and then u can be an elf too. Post this in other Christmas stations if
U become an elf.
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I love Christmas songs!!! There the best songs to here during Christmas
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