That one album – Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes Featuring Veronica – is the entire album discography of the Ronettes. And that one album is all that a 19-year old Ronnie Spector needed to leave an indelible imprint on the collective psyche of a generation who grew up on Elvis, The Beatles and The British Invasion, and Motown.
Line up all your one-named divas: Cher, Madonna, Pink, Beyonce, Rihanna, Adele. Add Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and anybody else to your list, if you like. If all they had were their first album, only your nerdy music obsessives would be talking about them 60 years later. They eventually grew to become icons. Ronnie Spector was an icon the moment she arrived.
In truth, we didn’t even need the whole album as great as it is. Be My Baby, with her voice at once cutting through and soaring over the infamous Phil Spector’s famous “wall of sound,” would have been enough to establish her legend. It was a voice that Washington Post music critic described as “a voice that seemed to yearn on behalf of humanity” and “sumptuous, tough, alive.” Turning that voice to other songs such as Baby I Love You, (The Best Part of) Breakin’ Up, and the gloriously romantic epic Walking In the Rain burnished her legend.
Whoa-oh. Wah oh oh oh. Never have five syllables conveyed so much meaning, so much emotion. But then, nobody has ever had the look, the charisma, and the sound of Ronnie Spector – the eternal voice of love and longing.
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