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Ronnie Spector became famous in the 1960s as the lead singer of the Ronettes, whose hits include "Be My Baby" and "Walking in the Rain."
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Somehow, during this period she also managed to produce one record with The Beatles, the single "Try Some, Buy Some" written by George Harrison. It was a moderate success but did not revive her career the way she had hoped. After returning to the United States from the recording sessions in England, she tried to get away from Phil Spector several times,
but it was not until 1972 that she finally broke out of the house, taking Donte with her and leaving all her personal belongings behind. She said in a later interview, "I knew I was going to die there… I don't know much else, but I can tell you that. I knew in my heart." She never returned. In 1974, she secured a legal divorce.
After her marriage ended, Spector tried to revive her career and get her life back on track. In the early and mid-1970s, Ronnie Spector briefly reformed The Ronettes with new singers and toured with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. She released one single called "Say Goodbye to Hollywood," written by Billy Joel and backed by Springsteen and the E Street Band. However, she still could not find anything close to the level of success she had enjoyed in the 1960s.
By 1978, the years of terror were over and she moved past Phil Spector for good when she met a theater worker named Jonathan Greenfield; his support and friendship quickly blossomed into love. The two married in 1982, had two sons together, and are still married to this day.
In 1986, Spector signed a new deal with Columbia Records in 1986 and released an album called Unfinished Business. She followed that with the critically acclaimed She Talks to Rainbows, a 1999 set produced by her good friend Joey Ramone, who provided support as she recovered from her traumatic marriage. Spector continued to tour through the end of the 1990s, trying to show the younger generation how the original rock 'n' rollers did it: "I know I'm doing San Francisco, all the 'in' places, you know. A lot of college stuff, so kids can see what rock 'n' roll was really about. I think God saved me so I can show the kids what it was really about in the '60s."
In 2003, the original Ronettes sued Phil Spector for withholding royalties he owed them for their songs, winning a $3 million settlement. In 2007, the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Though her life has certainly not been perfect, Ronnie Spector and The Ronettes will always be remembered for perfectly capturing the explosive intersection of girl power, teen angst, and social freedom of the 1960s. She still performs and shows no signs of slowing down. "I don't do regrets," she says, "and I ain't bitter. As I get older, I think maybe everything in life was meant to be. The way I look at it, I'm still here. I'm still singing. People still love my voice. And I made some great pop records, songs that people hold in their hearts through their whole lives. Ain't nobody can take that away from me."
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