Friday, February 13, 2009

Estelle Bennett

Estelle Bennett of the Ronettes has died. In 1963 when the Ronettes hit number one 1 with Be My Baby I was 17 and already a fan of the girl group sound as exemplified by The Crystals among others. Phil Spector's Wall of Sound production may have been the key to the Ronettes' chart success, but they also looked amazing. Those beehive hairdos, exotic make up and tight skirts were the stuff of teenage fantasy and I drooled over their black and white appearances on Ready Steady Go. Ronnie went on to suffer abuse at Phil's hands only to re-emerge decades later still looking and sounding great, as I witnessed at last year's Ponderosa Stomp. But Estelle faded into obscurity, apparently suffering from anorexia and fighting a battle against Spector for back royalties. Estelle's contribution to 60s music, and that of sister Ronnie and cousin Nedra , was recognised in 2007 when the Ronettes were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But fame apparently did little for Estelle once the Ronettes broke up in 1967 and the Wall of Sound disintegrated. Such beautiful and exciting memories though. May she rest in peace. Here are a couple of reports.


At 9:40 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Ronettes were one of my favourites too. Like you I was seventeen in 1963, and I still have (& play!) the LP you illustrate. Although Ronnie sung lead, Estelle and Nedra's backing vocals were excellent and contributed greatly to the girls' sound. As Larry Levine said on the LP's sleeve notes: "He [Spector] proceeded to make 'Be My Baby' with girls who look great, sing great and are great"
'Nuff said: RIP Estelle.


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