Ronnie Spector // January Babe of the Month
Ronnie Spector is often referred to as the “Bad Girl of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” mainly because she survived a gold-coffin imprisonment disguised as a marriage to Phil Spector. Before and after that, however, she helped define the quintessential girl group aesthetic with her powerhouse voice, mile-high beehive, eyeliner and short skirts. Even today, she continues to be the dream girl of fans and fellow musicians. Bottom line: Ronnie is a timeless babe.
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Eric Davidson returns with another edition of Pouring the Red Whine, where he chats with the one-and-only Ronnie Spector. She’ll be at City Winery in New York tonight for the last performance of “Beyond the Beehive.” For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the City Winery website here. Read more of Eric’s interviews and musings here.
There is this damning conundrum: Phil Spector is a certifiable nutjob; worse, a murderer! But he discovered and molded Ronnie Spector into, arguably, the dominant metaphorical pop voice of American teenage longing in the 20th century, the century of America’s greatest musical contributions. Of course, Ronnie Spector doesn’t think of her psychologically and physically brutal pairing with Phil Spector as “metaphorical.” It was hell. But she, unlike so many others, have never relented to half-baked religious conversions, debilitating drug problems, or picking up a knife and doing some killing of her own. Oh, she drank like crazy for a while, sure, but otherwise bade her time, taking solace in the very few friends Phil Spector would let her see, and waiting for another chance to get onto the pop stage….
All of which and more gets covered in Ronnie’s unbelievably entertaining and revealing new revue, “Behind the Beehive,” rolling out for the last time of a summer run at City Winery in New York City tonight. (Ronnie is hoping for more shows or maybe a tour of the show, as each performance so far this summer has sold out.) During the two-hour show, Ronnie—backed by a fine six-piece band led by legendary NYC guitarist, Daniel Rey—tells tales of the good (hit songs, hob-nobbing with celebs) and bad (locked in Phil Spector’s castle in the Hollywood Hills for nearly seven years). All while incredibly rare photos and film clips are projected on either side of the stage. And of course, and most staggeringly, Ronnie sings.
And my god does she sing! You figure Phil’s psychic beatdown and the years alone would’ve shaved off a few octaves. Instead, the moment she sets off into classics like “Walking in the Rain”, “Frosty the Snowman”, and the rest (though Phil still legally bans her from performing “Be My Baby”), her vox exposes nary a hint of the decades that have gone by. If you go, wear a loose shirt, because the goosebumps do not subside for the duration of the show. And through it all, Ronnie radiates her genetic charm and unspoiled teen enthusiasm. Even when she chokes up sometimes, the tears get quickly absorbed by her whiplash cheekbones as she smiles on the way into another story or song. On the phone with her recently, the glow of her personality was volcanic. I swear you could audibly make out her coy winks through the line.
Rest of article at the link