Veronica Bennett (Ronnie Spector), Estelle Bennett and Nadry Talley made up one of the greatest of the sixties girl groups – The Ronettes. This group had it all – Veronica Bennett’s voice, Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil writing their songs, session supremos, The Wrecking Crew playing on the tracks and Phil Spector writing and producing. Unfortuantely the magic that made them special tore them apart through Spector’s infamous erratic behaviour and although they had four Top 40 US hits their sole album “Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes featuring Veronica” only managed to reach No.98 in the US charts despite their single successes.
Their first release on Spector’s Philles Records was Be My Baby reaching No.2 on the US chart and No.4 in the UK in 1963. The follow up single Baby I Love You reached No.24 in the US and No.11 in the UK in the same year. The girls were a huge success that led them to tour with and/or have romantic relationships with members of The Beatles and The Stones. The hits continued into the following year but their success was short lived. (The Best Part of) Breakin’ Up scraped into the US Top 40 – Do I Love you fared a little better but even though Walking In The Rain hit No. 24 and won a grammy, their popularity was on the wane and they broke up in 1966.
Later Veronica Bennett Married Phil Spector but Estelle Bennett and Nadry Talley had already left the group due to Spector’s meddling. Spector’s madness has been written about in Veronica Bennett’s autobiography – keeping her a prisoner in her own home until she finally fled never to return.
Estelle Bennett, Veronica’s older sister suffered greatly after The Ronettes demise – anorexia, schizophrenia and homlessness on the streets of New York City. Nadry managed to get on with her life and is married with children and works in real estate.
Estelle Bennett died in 2009 , Phil Spector is serving 19 years at the California State prison in Stockton, California for the murder of Lana Clarkson at his mansion in 2003.
The legacy is the Spector Wall Of Sound, Bennett’s voice, unforgettable songs and those gravity defying hairdos!.
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