Veronica "Ronnie" Bennett (a.k.a. Ronnie Spector)Lead vocals
Estelle Bennett VannVocals
Nedra Talley RossVocals
Ronnie and Estelle are sisters; Talley is their cousin. They were dancers and backup singers at clubs and on tours before recording as The Ronettes.
Phil Spector produced the group and signed them to his record label. He and Ronnie were married from 1968-1974.
In 1998, Spector was ordered to pay The Ronettes $2.6 million in back royalties. All the money their songs made from movies, commercials and TV shows went to Spector, until a judge agreed the group should be paid. In 2002, the ruling was overturned.
They opened for The Rolling Stones on their first US tour in 1964 and for The Beatles on their 1965 US tour.
In Ronnie Spector's 1990 autobiography, she claims that Phil would make her watch Citizen Kane, a movie about a singer whose husband makes her famous, to remind her that she would be nothing without him.
Even after remarrying, Ronnie kept the last name of Spector for professional reasons. She has since taken the name of her husband and is now known as Ronnie Greenfield.
Spector did not let Ronnie tour with The Beatles. He replaced her with another Bennett cousin.
The Ronettes were multiracial, which was a very unusual sight during the '60s. The Bennetts' mother was black and Native American and their father was white. In her autobiography, Ronnie Spector said that she was not sure if she was black or white at one point in her childhood.
Jerro - New Alexandria, PA
Estelle Bennett died on February 11, 2009 at age 67. Shortly after her death, the New York Times published a story revealing that she struggled with anorexia and mental illness since the '70s.
Thanks to their diverse ethnicities, they had a very exotic look. The Bennett sisters were part black, American Indian and Irish; Talley was black, Indian and Puerto Rican.
They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.
Bertrand - Paris, France
The group got their first regular gig at The Peppermint Lounge in New York City under the name Ronnie and the Relatives. The underage trio was trying to sneak into the hip club when they were mistaken for backup dancers and invited on stage to dance behind the house band Joey Dee and the Starliters. Ronnie ended up on the mic singing Ray Charles' "What'd I Say
" and earned her group a permanent position at the club.
They landed a deal with Colpix Records in 1961 but quickly became frustrated when single after single failed to chart. They contacted hotshot producer Phil Spector, who agreed to audition them. When they started singing Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers' "Why Do Fools Fall In Love?
," Spector exclaimed, "That's it! That's it! That's the voice I've been looking for!" Spector wanted to sign Ronnie as a solo act, but her mother insisted the trio was a package deal, so he agreed to sign them as a group.