Jan 16, 2022 1 min, 8 secs

Though Ronnie Spector died on Wednesday, aged 78, all the signs are there that, culturally speaking, she is not going anywhere.

Patti Smith wrote: “Farewell, little fireball.” Ronnie Spector isn’t just part of rock’n’roll history, she’s the staples holding it all together.

Madonna said: “I want to look like Ronnie Spector sounds.” Amy Winehouse revered and emulated her, from the teetering beehive to the missing-a-skin delivery.

Billie Eilish, in darker, wittier moments, is a direct Ronnie descendant.

Ronnie spent 15 years wresting back Ronettes money, saying: “It was about winning back me.

As detailed in her 1990 memoir, Be My Baby, he beat Ronnie, threatened her, isolated her, frightened her by showing her a coffin she’d be inhabiting if she tried to leave.

You might ask: why did Ronnie keep his surname?

(See also Tina Turner: another who ditched the abuser and kept the name.) What mattered was that Ronnie overcame her own alcohol demons, and escaped, even though Phil Spector hid all her shoes.

For all the horror Phil Spector put Ronnie through, for all that they encapsulated a sound together, he never managed to wholly define her, nor subdue or distort her legacy, either as Battered Rock Woman or Interchangeable Songbird.

Was Ronnie born out of time?

That’s the thing about originals like Ronnie Spector: they never date, so they never die


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