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Ronnie Spector, the lead singer of the 1960s girl group the Ronettes who scored a string of hits including Be My Baby and Baby, I Love You, died Wednesday at the age of 78.
The music icon died after a brief battle with cancer, her family said in a statement announcing her death
“Ronnie lived her life with a twinkle in her eye, a spunky attitude, a wicked sense of humor, and a smile on her face," read the statement.
"She was filled with love and gratitude." No other details were revealed.
Boosted by the prowess of legendary record producer Phil Spector, The Ronettes became one of the top acts of the 1960s girl-group era.
The group toured England with the Rolling Stones and were friends of the Beatles.
Spector's sister Estelle Bennett and cousin Nedra Talley made up the other members of the group.
They were known for their sexy look and powerful voices, as well as scoring many of their biggest hits.
The group scored hits with “Walking in the Rain” and “I Can Hear Music” which was co-written by Spector, Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich.
“We weren’t afraid to be hot. That was our gimmick,” Spector said in her memoir. “When we saw The Shirelles walk on stage with their wide party dresses, we went in the opposite direction and squeezed our bodies into the tightest skirts we could find. Then we’d get out on stage and hike them up to show our legs even more.”
Spector, born Veronica Bennett, and her bandmates grew up in the Washington Heights area of Manhattan. They began singing and dancing in clubs as Ronnie and the Relatives, becoming noteworthy for their liberal use of eyeliner and mascara.
“The louder they applauded, the more mascara we put on the next time,” she wrote in her memoir. “We didn’t have a hit record to grab their attention, so we had to make an impression with our style. None of it was planned out; we just took the look we were born with and extended it.”
The group’s debut album, “Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes Featuring Veronica,” was released in 1964. Five of its 12 tracks had made it to the U.S. Billboard charts.
She is survived by her husband, Jonathan Greenfield, and two sons, Jason and Austin.
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