Ronnie Spector ‘lived her life with a twinkle in her eye’: reactions to her death

A woman stands with her arms extended onstage, flanked by two more women.
Ronnie Spector, center, with fellow Ronettes Estelle Bennett, left, and Nedra Talley during their Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction in 2007.
(Seth Wenig / Associated Press)

The death of Ronnie Spector, lead singer of 1960s girl group the Ronettes, caught her friends and admirers by surprise when the news broke Wednesday.

Spector died after a short battle with cancer at age 78.

“I just heard the news about Ronnie Spector and I don’t know what to say,” Beach Boys co-founder Brian Wilson wrote. “I loved her voice so much and she was a very special person and a dear friend. This just breaks my heart. Ronnie’s music and spirit will live forever.”

“I’m in total shock!,” Darlene Love, the lead singer of another midcentury girl group, the Blossoms, wrote on Facebook. “Did not see this one coming.

“Please give me time to process my thoughts to give Ronnie the proper tribute she deserves. She and I shared so much together.”

“The Money Family is saddened to hear about the passing of the legendary Ronnie Spector,” said a message on late singer Eddie Money‘s Facebook page. “Eddie loved Ronnie and was honored to have her join him with her very special and unique voice on the song ‘Take Me Home Tonight’. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family.”


Ronnie Spector, who sang such indelible 1960s hits as “Be My Baby” and “Baby, I Love You” as the leader of the girl group the Ronettes, has died.

Jan. 12, 2022

“Rest In Peace Ronnie Spector such a special time in music. What a beautiful song,” wrote Dave Davies of the Kinks, posting a video of the Ronettes performing “Be My Baby” back in the day.

“It was an honor to Produce her and encourage her to get back on stage where she remained for the next 45 years,” musician-actor Steven Van Zandt wrote. “Her record with the E Street Band helped sustain us at a very precarious time (thanks to Steve Popovich). Condolences to her husband and family.”

Spector’s family posted its own statement on Facebook, saying that a celebration of Spector’s life and music would be announced in the future.

“Our beloved earth angel, Ronnie, peacefully left this world today after a brief battle with cancer. She was with family and in the arms of her husband, Jonathan,” the family said.

“Ronnie lived her life with a twinkle in her eye, a spunky attitude, a wicked sense of humor and a smile on her face. She was filled with love and gratitude.

“Her joyful sound, playful nature and magical presence will live on in all who knew, heard or saw her.”

Read on for more reactions to Ronnie Spector’s death.

Members of the 1960s singing group the Ronettes are entitled to $2.6 million in back earnings from their former producer, Phil Spector, a New York judge ruled Friday.

June 17, 2000


“For the amount of pleasure this woman gave us, what a shame that she was made to suffer at the hands of the man she loved. I’m ashamed that his real name was Harvey. Ronnie, oh Ronnie, won’t you please be my baby?” — actor Harvey Fierstein

“Our dear friend Ronnie Spector, has passed. She was the sweetest person you could ever know. And her mark on rock and roll is indelible.” — Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

“Dearest Ronnie Spector, Your voice was the sound of my youth & my dreams. You saved me from another life. Onto the light.” — singer-songwriter Andy Kim

“Farewell, legend and music icon Ronnie Spector. I imagine Be My Baby will play on repeat across the globe today.” — actor Elijah Wood

Bruce Springsteen described Spector’s music as “violence covered in sugar and candy,” and the abuse suffered by those in his orbit grew inseparable from his art.

Jan. 18, 2021

“The vibrato of Ronnie Spector ‘s voice vibrates in my soul & everyone else’s who heard her sing. She epitomized the notion of ‘Girl groups’ both a dark and a shining life. Ronnie in peace. RIP.” — musician-radio host Michael Des Barres

“Daily or weekly. Apparently we just lose [a] legend daily or weekly, now.” — TV host Yvette Nicole Brown

“Peace and Love, Ronnie Spector.” — singer Susanna Hoffs

“Eternal rest my dear friend.” — singer-songwriter Dion