August 10: Ronnnie Spector of The Ronettes- the "Original bad girl of rock and roll"- is 68-years-old today.

Born Veronica Yvette Bennett in New York City, Ronnie began singing at an early age, encouraged by her large, close family. The other members of the Ronettes were her older sister, Estelle Bennett (who died in 2009), and cousin, Nedra Talley.

Ronnie has been called the "original bad girl of rock and roll."

The Ronettes were produced and managed by Phil Spector. Bennett was married to Phil Spector from 1968 to 1974, and took his name professionally; they adopted three children, including a set of twins, whom Phil adopted as a single parent after Ronnie and the youngest child left him.

In the early 1960s, they had huge hits with "Be My Baby," "Baby I Love You," and "Walking in the Rain." The group broke up in 1966, never to reunite until their 2007 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

A one-time single, "You Came, You Saw, You Conquered," sung by Ronnie but credited to "The Ronettes Featuring the Voice of Veronica," appeared in 1969 on Herb Alpert's A&M label, with an old Ronettes B-side.

In early 1971, during Phil Spector's tenure as head of A&R at Apple Records, Ronnie recorded the single "Try Some, Buy Some"/"Tandoori Chicken"; released as Apple 33 in the UK, Apple 1832 in the U.S. The A-side of the single was written by George Harrison, and produced by both Harrison and Spector. The single was not a big hit.

In the early to mid 1970s, Ronnie briefly reformed the Ronettes (as Ronnie Spector and the Ronettes) with two new members. In her book, she recounted several abortive attempts to recapture mainstream success throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, during which time she was widely perceived as an oldies act.

Billy Joel's 1976 hit "Say Goodbye to Hollywood" was inspired by Ronnie. Ronnie herself covered it in 1977 backed by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

Ronnie recorded her first solo album in 1980 produced by Genya Ravan, which was a prelude to her work with Joey Ramone in the late 1990s. In 1986, Ronnie enjoyed a resurgence to popular radio airplay as the featured vocalist on Eddie Money's Top 5 hit "Take Me Home Tonight." The video for the recording was one of the top videos of the year and in power rotation on MTV.


(Continued below video and Amazon portals ...)

(Press album, MP3 or book cover for direct link to the entire Amazon Website):

Best of The RonettesBe My Baby: The Very Best Of The Ronettes
She Talks to RainbowsBe My Baby: How I Survived Mascara, Miniskirts, and Madness, or My Life as a Fabulous Ronette

During this period, she also recorded the song "Tonight You're Mine, Baby" (from the film Just One of the Guys) and sang a duet with Southside Johnny on the recording "You Mean So Much To Me," written by Southside's longtime friend Bruce Springsteen and produced by Steven Van Zandt of the E Street Band.

In 1999, she released the critically acclaimed album, She Talks to Rainbows, produced by Joey Ramone, which featured a few covers of older songs. In 2003, she provided backing vocals for The Misfits' album, Project 1950.

In 2003, Ronnie Spector and the other Ronettes sued Phil Spector for non-payment of royalties, winning a $3 million judgment; upholding the terms of the group's 1963 contract as binding.

Ronnie along with her group were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2004. In 2007, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Ronnie's recent album Last of the Rock Stars (Bad Girl
Sounds) was released domestically in 2009 featuring contributions from members of the Raconteurs, Nick Zinner of the 'Yeah Yeah Yeahs', the Raveonettes, Patti Smith and Keith Richards. Ronnie herself has co-produced two of the songs.

A new Christmas EP, "Ronnie Spector's Best Christmas Ever" was released on Bad Girl Sounds in November 2010 featuring five new Christmas songs.

In 2011, after the death of Amy Winehouse, Ronnie Spector released her version of Amy's hit 'Back to Black' as a tribute and for the benefit of the Daytop Village addiction treatment centers.
Ronnie has said that Phil kept her as a virtual prisoner and limited her opportunities to pursue her musical ambitions. In her autobiography, she said that he would force her to watch the film Citizen Kane to remind her she would be nothing without him. Spector's domineering attitude led to the dissolution of their marriage.

Bennett was forbidden to speak to the Rolling Stones or tour with the Beatles, because Phil Spector feared that she would be unfaithful. (In his autobiography, Life, Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones admits to having an affair with Ronnie.)

Bennett claims Spector showed her a gold coffin with a glass top in his basement, promising to kill and display her if she left him. During Spector's reclusive period in the late 1960s, he reportedly kept his wife locked inside their mansion. She claimed he also hid her shoes to dissuade her from walking outside, and kept the house dark because he did not want anyone to see his balding head.

Ronnie stated in her autobiography that she walked out of the house through the closed and locked rear sliding glass door, shoeless, shattering the glass as she left, and feet all cut up by the time she got to the gate. She never returned. Ronnie Spector filed for divorce in 1972.

Her autobiography, Be My Baby: How I Survived Mascara, Miniskirts, and Madness, co-authored with Vince Waldron, was published in 1989. In 2004, Onyx Books republished the book in a revised and updated mass-market paperback edition in the U.S.

Ronnie now lives in Connecticut. She has been performing Ronnie Spector's
Christmas Party annually since the late 1980s around the United States and for the last ten years in New York City at BB King's Blues Club and Grill.

Visit Ronnie's offical Website: