Ronnie Spector: You’d Be Good For Me

Ronnie Spector, best known as the lead singer of quintessential ’60s girl group the Ronettes, has died at 78 years old. Born Veronica Bennett in Spanish Harlem, she formed the trio with older sister, Estelle Bennett, and their cousin, Nedra Talley, in 1957. They soon became a popular live act in NYC, but their biggest hit—”Be My Baby” (with its opening drum beats making it recognizable in seconds)—came in 1963. The song is often noted as the greatest pop song ever. Though it may seem simple, it’s a lush, layered work—thanks to Ronnie’s yearning, tender but tough vocals and producer Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound production. Ronnie entered into a relationship with Phil, eventually marrying him and having a family, but suffered horrific abuse. (When he died she wrote, “He was a brilliant producer, but a lousy husband.”) She escaped the marriage in 1972 and went on to create a new version of the Ronettes as well as work on solo projects with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, punk group Dead Boys and the Heartbreakers, Joey Ramone, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Patti Smith, Keith Richards and others. We have chosen to share her 1975 song, “You’d Be Good For Me,” not only because it’s a delightful, string-laden disco track, but also because it was written and recorded when she found freedom: “I got a new sense of direction,” she sings. Ronnie’s five-decade musical career took her from pop to punk, new wave and beyond, but her sublime voice endured—and will live on.