Ronnie Spector’s Best Live Performances

The world wept when news broke on Tuesday that music pioneer Ronnie Spector had died of cancer aged 78. Few artists were more iconic. With her striking eyeliner and edgy beehive bun, she quickly became the undisputed “It Girl” of rock ‘n’ roll in the 1960s.

Although Spector’s story is often remembered for his dark days, such as his marriage to producer-turned-murderer Phil Spector, his infectious energy shone brighter than any stage light. Her voice was the definition of timeless and the strength of her unique charm exploded with each decade.

The American mermaid was the mastermind behind girl group the Ronettes, which she founded in her hometown of New York alongside her older sister and their cousin. The trio captured the hearts of music lovers around the world when the Ronettes made their US television debut with their hit “Be My Baby.”

Here are five of Ronnie Spector’s most iconic live performances, starting with the one that started it all.

1. The Ronettes perform “Be My Baby” live at the Moulin Rouge Club on November 29, 1965.
It was the TV performance that set the hearts of all of America on fire, and that fire quickly spread around the world. Spector, along with bandmates Estelle Bennett and Nedra Talley, rocked the airwaves with their synchronized moves and matching looks at the Moulin Rouge Club in Los Angeles.

2. Ronnie Spector performs a cover of Billy Joel’s “Say Goodbye to Hollywood” on an English TV show top pops in November 1977. Spector gives a beautiful, heartfelt solo performance on UK TV with a captivating and personal stage presence. The singer invites viewers to sing as if you were the only two in the room.

3. Ronnie Spector performs a Christmas medley (on request) on Letterman on December 18, 1987.
This performance is a perfect example of Spector’s contagious and radiant energy. As soon as she takes the stage, she compels the audience to join in the fun. Her smile, her movements and her eye contact come together to completely captivate the audience and convey a message of warmth, friendliness, celebration and happiness.

4. Ronnie Spector performing “I Can Hear Music” with Brian Wilson at the Ronnie Spector Tribute Concert in the year 2000. Before Spector joined his friend Brian Wilson on stage for this song, the Beach Boys founder sang a cover of “Be My Baby” in tribute to Spector. The duo deliver a touching double performance with “I Can Hear Music” – a Beach Boys song originally recorded by The Ronettes – and seeing these powerhouses of American music share a moment of mutual admiration and respect is amazing. ‘gold.

5. Ronnie Spectro performs “Do I Love You” at City Winery in New York City on December 22, 2018, as part of his Ronnie Spector & The Ronettes: Best Christmas Party Ever Holiday Show. One of Spector’s later performances served as proof of his timelessness. As the world changed over her decades-long career, the magic of her powerful voice remained constant, as did her caring spirit and amazing ability to make the listener feel like family. At the start of this clip, Spector speaks candidly with his audience and we get a glimpse of his cheerful nature.

Kenneth T. Shippee