Ronnie Spector dies: rockers react

Ronnie Spector, lead singer of iconic ’60s girl group the Ronettes, died on Wednesday after a brief battle with cancer. She was 78 years old.

“Ronnie lived his life with a twinkle in his eye, a spunky attitude, a mischievous sense of humor and a smile on his face,” Spector’s family shared on his social media pages. “She was filled with love and gratitude. Her cheerful sound, playful nature and magical presence will live on in all who knew, heard or saw her.”

Spector and the Ronettes shot to fame in the early ’60s with hits like “Be My Baby,” “Walking in the Rain” and “(The Best Part of) Breakin’ Up,” making Spector and his bandmates his sister Estelle Bennett and cousin Nedra Talley, household names. “Our lives were turned upside down,” Spector later wrote in his memoirs,

His talent was recognized by crowds of other singers, including John Lennon, who once asked the Ronettes to accompany the Beatles on their flight to the United States in 1964. (The offer was turned down.) “I remember one night when I was with John,” Spector later recalled. “And he said, ‘Ronnie, kinda sing ‘Be My Baby’ in my ear. So I went, [full-voiced] ‘Be my little baby!‘ And he almost passed out. I can’t sing low, I had to do everything. It blew him away.

Spector’s distinctive vocal style inspired countless singers, and even into the late ’60s his solo career continued. After surviving a violent marriage, she collaborated with Steven Van Zandt of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, Southside Johnny, Eddie Money, Misfits, Patti Smith, Keith Richards and many more.

Following news of Spector’s death, an outpouring of condolences appeared online from musicians and friends. You can read reactions from some of rock’s biggest names below.

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