Ronnie Spector Bookends Region at Mahaiwe and Bardavon

Ronnie Spector

(GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass., and POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y.) – Iconic “girl-group” vocalist Ronnie Spector performs with the Ronettes at the Bardavon in Poughkeepsie on Friday, July 21, at 8pm, and at the Mahaiwe in Great Barrington, Mass., on Saturday, July 22, at 8pm. Artists including Amy Winehouse, Macy Gray, Joan Jett, Patti Smith, and countless others are unimaginable without the template fashioned by Ronnie Spector, arguably the first major female rock ‘n’ roller to embody a dialectic of innocence and experience.

Few artists in history have been capable of defining an entire era in pop music. Ronnie Spector is one of those artists: the embodiment of the heart, soul, and passion of female rock and roll in the 1960s. No one has ever surpassed Spector’s powerful trademark vocals, her gutsy attitude, or her innocent but knowing sexuality. Ronnie Spector & the Ronettes were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in March 2007.

Spector’s career is inextricably linked to producer-songwriter Phil Spector, to whom she was married from 1968 to 1974. Phil Spector wrote and produced such iconic Ronnie & the Ronettes hits as “Be My Baby,” “Baby, I Love You” and “(The Best Part of) Breakin’ Up,” all of which featured Phil Spector’s trademark “Wall of Sound” production style.

Ronnie Spector was born and raised in Spanish Harlem. She formed the Ronettes while in her teens and released her first records in 1961 on the Colpix label. The Ronettes were also professional singers and dancers at New York’s Peppermint Lounge. There they were discovered by legendary disc jockey Murray the K (Murray Kaufman), who promptly hired them as dancers for his Brooklyn Fox Theater rock ‘n’ roll revues.

Beginning in 1963, Ronnie Spector — as lead singer of the ultimate girl group, The Ronettes — recorded a long string of classic pop hits: powerful, poignant teen anthems like the Grammy Award-winning “Walking in the Rain,” “Do I Love You,” “Baby I Love You,” “The Best Part of Breaking Up,” “I Can Hear Music,” and the international Number One smash “Be My Baby.” These records are among the best-loved and most-emulated recordings in the history of rock ‘n’  roll.

“There were girl group hits before the Ronettes,” wrote Canadian critic Carl Wilson in a 2003 feature for the Toronto Globe & Mail. “But Ronnie Spector was the first woman in rock to provoke anything like the hysteria that Elvis had caused, which was soon to engulf the Beatles.”

As the Number One pop group in England, Ronnie Spector and the Ronettes headlined over acts like the Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton and the Yardbirds. The Beatles personally requested that the Ronettes join their final U.S. tour in August 1966; later that year, at Basin Street East, a talented young comedian named Richard Pryor was the opening act for the Ronettes’ final live performance.

In 1970, Spector sang on Jimi Hendrix’s recording of “Earth Blues.” In 1971, Ronnie Spector released her Apple Records debut single, “Try Some, Buy Some” — written and produced by George Harrison, with a backing band that included Harrison, John Lennon, and Ringo Starr. In 1976, Billy Joel wrote “Say Goodbye to Hollywood” as a tribute to Spector. The next year, she recorded the song with backing by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, and it was issued as a single on Epic Records.

Ronnie Spector

In 1986, Spector’s duet with Eddie Money — “Take Me Home Tonight” — reached No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and hung on the chart for 23 weeks. The song was nominated for a Grammy Award and became a heavy rotation video on MTV. In 1989, Spector took time off to write the story of her remarkable life and great music. “Be My Baby: How I Survived Mascara, Miniskirts, and Madness” (Crown, 1990) was an international bestseller; a revised and updated mass-market paperback was published in June 2004. In 1999, Spector released the critically acclaimed EP She Talks to Rainbows on the cutting-edge indie label Kill Rock Stars. Highlights included Johnny Thunders’ “You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory,” and a duet with EP producer Joey Ramone on his own composition “Bye Bye Baby.”

In June 2000, after a fifteen-year legal battle, Ronnie Spector won a landmark decision in the New York State courts. The ruling eased the way for veteran artists of the 1950s and ‘60s to collect past-due royalties on their old recordings. In 2004, Spector was recognized for her contribution to American popular music when she was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.

Spector’s CD, The Last of the Rock Stars, released 2009, marked the first time she was ever in full control of her material, arrangements, and production. The supporting cast includes Nick Zinner (Yeah Yeah Yeahs), members of The Raconteurs, The Dead Weather, Patti Smith, and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones.

Her latest holiday CD, Ronnie Spector’s Best Christmas Ever, released 2010 complements her classic Christmas songs “Sleigh Ride,” “Frosty the Snowman,” and “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.” “Sleigh Ride” (#3) and “Frosty the Snowman” (#17) are among ASCAP’s Top 20 most-played holiday radio hits of the past decade.

2011 was a significant year for Spector with her cover of Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black” being named  Single of the Month  in Britain’s influential MOJO Magazine. In May, she appeared with Lou Reed, Macy Gray, Dr. John, and Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen in a benefit for the Jazz Foundation of America at Harlem’s hallowed Apollo Theater – where Ronnie made her performing debut at age eleven, then headlined with the Ronettes in 1965. June of that same year, Ronnie appeared at London’s Royal Festival Hall for the prestigious Meltdown Festival curated by Ray Davies (of the Kinks).

In the summer of 2012, Spector debuted her biographical one-woman multi-media show Beyond the Beehive in New York City to star-studded audiences and standing ovations. Following several more sold-out Gotham shows, Spector took Beyond the Beehive to London for its premier UK performance at Queen Elizabeth Hall on March 9, 2014. “Ronnie Spector’s Beyond the Beehive shines like a polished diamond!” declared The Independent (UK) in their five-star review.

In 2015, Sony Legacy released The Very Best of Ronnie Spector, the first cross-label collection of her career. This fourteen-track CD includes hits by the Ronettes and by Ronnie as a solo artist including “So Young” (as Veronica), “Say Goodbye To Hollywood” (Ronnie Spector and the ‘E’ Street Band) and “All I Want” (from Last of the Rock Stars).

Ronnie celebrated her 55th year in the recording industry with the release of her British Invasion inspired collection of covers English Heart, and followed it up with a performance at the venerable Glastonbury Festival that garnered a five-star review in The Telegraph (UK) in 2016.

In 2017, Ronnie was presented the Legend Award by The Woman’s International Music Network at their “She Rocks Award” ceremony.

The style, look, and sound of Ronnie Spector continue to serve as an inspiration and role model for generations.

Spector’s upcoming live band performances combine multi-media elements, never-before-seen video footage, personal stories and more.







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