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Be My Baby: How I Survived Mascara, Miniskirts, and Madness, or My Life As a Fabulous Ronette [Audiobook on 2 CDs, Abridged]

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Pop icon Ronnie Spector reads her bestselling memoir Be My Baby in an abridged audiobook edition that captures the singer's no-holds-barred story of her life and times as the original bad girl of rock'n'roll. You'll have a front row seat as Ronnie recalls her humble beginnings as a "half-breed" teenager in Spanish Harlem, and you'll thrill as she recounts the Cinderella st Pop icon Ronnie Spector reads her bestselling memoir Be My Baby in an abridged audiobook edition that captures the singer's no-holds-barred story of her life and times as the original bad girl of rock'n'roll. You'll have a front row seat as Ronnie recalls her humble beginnings as a "half-breed" teenager in Spanish Harlem, and you'll thrill as she recounts the Cinderella story of her meteoric rise to fame as lead singer of the most influential girl group of all time, The Ronettes. You'll be enthralled at Ronnie's firsthand account of her days as the voice at the center of Phil Spector's Wall of Sound, and you'll gasp as she reveals the wild and shocking details of her marriage to Phil Spector -- a romance that began as a fairy tale but soon descended into a nightmare of depravity and isolation behind the locked gates of a Beverly Hills mansion. Finally, you'll laugh and cry with Ronnie as she describes her daring escape from the prison her life had become, and you'll feel Ronnie's despair as she recounts the challenges she faced in her struggles to reclaim her life, her sanity, and her voice. Finally, you'll cheer for Ronnie's triumph when she finds a new life, with a new husband, kids, and a happiness she never dreamed possible. And through it all is that voice--the same voice that inspired her friendships and musical collaborations with rock legends from John Lennon to Bruce Springsteen; the same voice that continues to thrill and inspire fans around the world; and the same voice that casts its spell as Ronnie reads this one-of-a-kind memoir of a one-of-a-kind life lived at the very epicenter of rock'n'roll.


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Pop icon Ronnie Spector reads her bestselling memoir Be My Baby in an abridged audiobook edition that captures the singer's no-holds-barred story of her life and times as the original bad girl of rock'n'roll. You'll have a front row seat as Ronnie recalls her humble beginnings as a "half-breed" teenager in Spanish Harlem, and you'll thrill as she recounts the Cinderella st Pop icon Ronnie Spector reads her bestselling memoir Be My Baby in an abridged audiobook edition that captures the singer's no-holds-barred story of her life and times as the original bad girl of rock'n'roll. You'll have a front row seat as Ronnie recalls her humble beginnings as a "half-breed" teenager in Spanish Harlem, and you'll thrill as she recounts the Cinderella story of her meteoric rise to fame as lead singer of the most influential girl group of all time, The Ronettes. You'll be enthralled at Ronnie's firsthand account of her days as the voice at the center of Phil Spector's Wall of Sound, and you'll gasp as she reveals the wild and shocking details of her marriage to Phil Spector -- a romance that began as a fairy tale but soon descended into a nightmare of depravity and isolation behind the locked gates of a Beverly Hills mansion. Finally, you'll laugh and cry with Ronnie as she describes her daring escape from the prison her life had become, and you'll feel Ronnie's despair as she recounts the challenges she faced in her struggles to reclaim her life, her sanity, and her voice. Finally, you'll cheer for Ronnie's triumph when she finds a new life, with a new husband, kids, and a happiness she never dreamed possible. And through it all is that voice--the same voice that inspired her friendships and musical collaborations with rock legends from John Lennon to Bruce Springsteen; the same voice that continues to thrill and inspire fans around the world; and the same voice that casts its spell as Ronnie reads this one-of-a-kind memoir of a one-of-a-kind life lived at the very epicenter of rock'n'roll.

30 review for Be My Baby: How I Survived Mascara, Miniskirts, and Madness, or My Life As a Fabulous Ronette [Audiobook on 2 CDs, Abridged]

  1. 4 out of 5

    *TUDOR^QUEEN* (on hiatus)

    Five Stars Ronnie Spector was never on my radar as a point of interest, except indirectly. As a huge Beatles fan, last year I read a new Beatles book which recounted a story about John Lennon pursuing Ronnie romantically when The Beatles first took America by storm in 1964. I'm also a big Beach Boys fan, and leader Brian Wilson was obsessed by The Ronettes' Phil Spector produced megahit "Be My Baby" and considered it the most perfect pop song. I also knew that Ronnie was married to Phil Spector a Five Stars Ronnie Spector was never on my radar as a point of interest, except indirectly. As a huge Beatles fan, last year I read a new Beatles book which recounted a story about John Lennon pursuing Ronnie romantically when The Beatles first took America by storm in 1964. I'm also a big Beach Boys fan, and leader Brian Wilson was obsessed by The Ronettes' Phil Spector produced megahit "Be My Baby" and considered it the most perfect pop song. I also knew that Ronnie was married to Phil Spector and that he was a nut case. This was recounted in various Beatles books as they employed this producer and his wall of sound techniques to rescue their shabby "Let it Be" recordings. John Lennon and George Harrison also used him to produce their solo albums. He was known to brandish a gun in the recording studio. Phil Spector was also convicted in later years of shooting/murdering actress Lana Clarkson. So, I finally decided to request an arc of this book in the hope of reading a good story. Well, it was quite an interesting ride! This book was originally published in 1990, but is now being re-released with an updated Epilogue chapter that was only fine tuned weeks ago in January 2022. This is especially poignant because Ronnie Spector died just a week ago. How wonderful that this musical icon resurrected her memoir from 30 years ago to bring it full circle at the apex of her life. This is touted as one of the greatest musical autobiographies, and I now see why. I plowed through this within a few days-unheard of for me. Ronnie unabashedly told the story of her rise to fame, horrendous marriage to producer Phil Spector, struggles with alcohol addiction and depression, career longevity and its challenges, romantic dalliances, etc. Her prose is free flowing, honest and easy and such a pleasure to read. This is one of the best rock biographies I have read. It's like Ronnie left behind a gift for us all. Thank you to the publisher Henry Holt and Co. for providing an advance reader copy via NetGalley.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Martin

    This was a very fast, compulsive read. A real page turner. I'm one of the biggest Ronnie Spector fans, but I didn't know what to expect. She has some crazy stories about Phil and about her alcoholism, but she presents everything as matter-of-fact. Her writing does not dwell on self-pity or her constant passivity even when she, as a character, is mired in them. What I find refreshing is that she never bashes Phil Spector, even though it would be so easy. The way she described their early professi This was a very fast, compulsive read. A real page turner. I'm one of the biggest Ronnie Spector fans, but I didn't know what to expect. She has some crazy stories about Phil and about her alcoholism, but she presents everything as matter-of-fact. Her writing does not dwell on self-pity or her constant passivity even when she, as a character, is mired in them. What I find refreshing is that she never bashes Phil Spector, even though it would be so easy. The way she described their early professional relationship it is easy to see how she developed feelings for him. She admits that nobody around her understood what she saw in him, but she conveys her admiration of him very well to the reader. Once he becomes abusive, she describes all the signs that in hindsight should have warned her, if only she hadn't been so young, insecure and in love. She never blames anyone but herself, and even when she succumbs to Phil's mindgames and sabotage, she takes responsibility for her reactions to him. She has some wild stories, such as her various encounters with John Lennon who first tries to romance her in London, later sidles up to Phil and sits in on the session for her Apple Records flop, then appears at her divorce trial as a guest of Phil, and later befriend her in New York to the degree that Ronnie maintained a friendship with May Pang after John went back to Yoko. Also notable is Ronnie's friendship with Cher, already noted in Darlene Love's bio, whose marriage to Sonny Bono parallels Ronnie's marriage, except that Cher did not lose herself and was therefore better equipped to reinvent herself time and again. And the one night stand with Bowie is brief but memorable. I really can't recommend this book enough to anyone who has ever loved girls group music or the Wall of Sound.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Alanna Why

    Pretty wild that Ronnie Spector accidentally sets a bed on fire by falling asleep with a lit cigarette not once, but twice in this. ALSO PHIL SPECTOR IS A PIECE OF SHIT!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Linden

    Ronnie's memoir was originally published in 1990, but has been re-released and updated apparently shortly before she died. Ronnie tells us about her career with the Ronettes--three girls, two sisters and a cousin, from Spanish Harlem. They were thrilled when they attracted the attention of Phil Spector, who helped them at first. Even though he was talented, he was an abusive monster who kept Ronnie prisoner in their mansion until her mom helped her to escape. Eventually, she got her life back to Ronnie's memoir was originally published in 1990, but has been re-released and updated apparently shortly before she died. Ronnie tells us about her career with the Ronettes--three girls, two sisters and a cousin, from Spanish Harlem. They were thrilled when they attracted the attention of Phil Spector, who helped them at first. Even though he was talented, he was an abusive monster who kept Ronnie prisoner in their mansion until her mom helped her to escape. Eventually, she got her life back together after many challenges. Recommended for anyone who likes music biographies, or just wants to read about a strong woman. Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for the ARC.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    Just kill me. This book! I had to force myself to finish it. I thought I was going to be reading a fun, wacky memoir of a rock singer from the sixties but what I read was the memoir of a severely emotionally abused woman who became an alcoholic in order to cope with the hell of her life. I needed a stiff drink just reading about it. I can certainly see why she drank. Honestly, I was surprised she didn't start sooner. It reminded me of a memoir I read a few years ago about the teenage abused wife Just kill me. This book! I had to force myself to finish it. I thought I was going to be reading a fun, wacky memoir of a rock singer from the sixties but what I read was the memoir of a severely emotionally abused woman who became an alcoholic in order to cope with the hell of her life. I needed a stiff drink just reading about it. I can certainly see why she drank. Honestly, I was surprised she didn't start sooner. It reminded me of a memoir I read a few years ago about the teenage abused wife of a Mormon fundamentalist/polygamist. The same isolation, mental exhaustion, despair, hopelessness. Ugh. I can't even. Throughout the reading of this book I kept wondering how Ronnie's life & career would have been different if she hadn't gotten involved with that douchebag extraordinaire Phil Spector. Her private life? Obviously a million times better. I'm hard pressed to think of a man worse than Phil to have gotten involved with. Charles Manson? George C Scott? It's a pretty short list of men who would make a more terrible boyfriend/husband than Phil. As for her career, yes Phil did produce several hits for her but with her talent I think anyone could have gotten the same results. Oh, there were so many missed opportunities at the beginning, before Ronnie was locked up in that spooky mansion. My mouth literally dropped open when I read how The Beatles - The Beatles! - wanted Ronnie to open for them on tour and Phil said no AND RONNIE ACQUIESCED!!!! WTF Ronnie. Ronnie explained why she stayed with Phil for so long - low, I mean LOW, self-esteem, fear of poverty/the need to support multiple family members, no good roles models of healthy relationships growing up, the rapidly changing music scene of the sixties where many of her musical peers became has-beens/washed up, her (to me incredible) empathy she had for Phil's struggles in childhood - but I still had such a hard time accepting that she chose to stay with him. It was difficult to pick up the book and read because I knew how frustrated I would get. He wouldn't let her read magazines?! What?! Why?! And why does she go along with such a stupid rule? And there were just so many ridiculous things like that. I considered when would I have broken it off with Phil, assuming I was in Ronnie's place. (Not that I would have ever found him appealing in the first place - shiver) I think the big warning/idea I need to break this off would have been when Ronnie found out The Rolling Stones had been threatened by Phil and told to not even speak to Ronnie while they were all on tour together. WHAT. Don't tell me who I can & can't speak to. Especially people I am currently working with. The final straw for me would have been when Phil forbade Ronnie to fly home to the States on The Beatles private jet. Not in a bazillion years would I have said ok to that request but Ronnie did and got surprised when she watched The Beatles landing on TV a few days later and there was Phil, getting off the jet with them. OH MAN. Just blind rage! The main result of reading this book is that I can now state with 100% certainty Phil is guilty of the murder of that actress. No way was it an accident or a suicide. Ugh, those are such Phil excuses, deflecting the blame on the person he is attacking. He better not ever get out of prison.To me, the biggest shock is that it took Phil until 2003 to actually murder someone. He is a full blown sociopath. Ronnie is lucky he didn't kill her before she escaped (barefoot because Phil had taken all her shoes so she couldn't leave - ACK. I cannot make this shit up)

  6. 5 out of 5

    Anina

    Phil Spector is a murderous douche. Ronnie's great, of course. A lot of your reviews say she sounds self centered...but it's an autobiography of a successful woman, so duh, I bet you wouldn't say that if she were a man! Get out of here with that nonsense. There's some really interesting stuff about how different the music industry used to be. Don't forget to read the introduction by Billy Joel!!! Phil Spector is a murderous douche. Ronnie's great, of course. A lot of your reviews say she sounds self centered...but it's an autobiography of a successful woman, so duh, I bet you wouldn't say that if she were a man! Get out of here with that nonsense. There's some really interesting stuff about how different the music industry used to be. Don't forget to read the introduction by Billy Joel!!!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Devika

    When I heard they were making a movie about the extraordinary life of the lady who sang Be My Baby (which by the way was one of my top-listened-to tracks through the first year of the old 'Rona) I thought well dang good luck casting someone with that voice. Then I read this memoir and realized that might be the last of their concerns because this book is speckled with a number of small timey acts that might be just a little challenging to cast. It shouldn’t be hard to show Ronnie spector making When I heard they were making a movie about the extraordinary life of the lady who sang Be My Baby (which by the way was one of my top-listened-to tracks through the first year of the old 'Rona) I thought well dang good luck casting someone with that voice. Then I read this memoir and realized that might be the last of their concerns because this book is speckled with a number of small timey acts that might be just a little challenging to cast. It shouldn’t be hard to show Ronnie spector making breakfast at George Harrison’s apartment, sharing lipsticks with Diana Ross, friendzoning John Lennon (I have so many feelings about this), sitting in Cher’s convertible, having an affair with David Bowie (I wrote a 2 page journal entry about this), eating scrambled eggs with the Rolling Stones, clubbing with Bob Dylan and crying in the bathroom with Darlene Love right? I’ve never been less jealous of a casting director. Musical divinity aside, this story is about a woman who wore her heart on her sleeve and lived her life in her own terms till her very end- a rock and roll star through and through. Despite the absolute horror show her life sometimes became, she had the most brilliant spirit. No Sensitive Sue could have made it out alive through the things she faced. I’m not a big believer in binary afterlife constructs but I sure hope Phil Spector’s room in hell doesn’t have a poster of Lenny Bruce. In fact, I hope it has one of his own unsightly, skanky reptilian head so he can barf his way into a glorious afterlife death.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Dominic Anton

    My favorite book. Ever. Ronnie is a rock n roll legend and will be dearly missed and remembered for generations. Her story is unlike any other and there will never be a story like hers again.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Joe

    A good and enjoyable read. Like many autobiographies of this nature, the last third of the book feels a bit long and less interesting, but... the first two thirds are GREAT! If all this is true, it's amazing she even survived being married to Phil Spector. Also, some very interesting stories about the Beatles, especially John Lennon. I loved the Tandoori Chicken story with George Harrison. If you're a fan of 60s music history, this book is a must read. A good and enjoyable read. Like many autobiographies of this nature, the last third of the book feels a bit long and less interesting, but... the first two thirds are GREAT! If all this is true, it's amazing she even survived being married to Phil Spector. Also, some very interesting stories about the Beatles, especially John Lennon. I loved the Tandoori Chicken story with George Harrison. If you're a fan of 60s music history, this book is a must read.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    This caption, from one of the photos in the book, is just one example of the insane things she recounts in this great autobiography- "A family snapshot taken a few years after my divorce from Phil. That's Donte, standing with Gary and Louis, the twin brothers that Phil adopted as a surprise for me when I got out of the sanitarium." This caption, from one of the photos in the book, is just one example of the insane things she recounts in this great autobiography- "A family snapshot taken a few years after my divorce from Phil. That's Donte, standing with Gary and Louis, the twin brothers that Phil adopted as a surprise for me when I got out of the sanitarium."

  11. 5 out of 5

    Alice Ozwald

    Without a doubt Phil Spector was/is a madman. And Ronnie Spector left/abandoned/sentenced three innocent children to live with him. She should have made it her life's work to get those children out of that environment instead of making shitty records with washed up musicians. Book sucked; anti climatic, self important, self absorbed. The more I think about this book, the more I dislike it. Without a doubt Phil Spector was/is a madman. And Ronnie Spector left/abandoned/sentenced three innocent children to live with him. She should have made it her life's work to get those children out of that environment instead of making shitty records with washed up musicians. Book sucked; anti climatic, self important, self absorbed. The more I think about this book, the more I dislike it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Diana

    This is one of the saddest and most compelling biographies I’ve read, Ronnie Spector is a gem to rock n roll history and didn’t deserve this.

  13. 5 out of 5

    J Earl

    Be My Baby by Ronnie Spector has been called the best rock autobiography of all time and this new updated edition only adds to the wonderful story. Thankfully she had finished her revisions and her Postscript before she passed away. Like so often, she gave us all a gift. Parts of this book can be tremendously difficult to read. Her relationship with Phil Spector obviously being the most difficult. It will make you angry, sad, and so many other feelings in between. But don't let her difficulties i Be My Baby by Ronnie Spector has been called the best rock autobiography of all time and this new updated edition only adds to the wonderful story. Thankfully she had finished her revisions and her Postscript before she passed away. Like so often, she gave us all a gift. Parts of this book can be tremendously difficult to read. Her relationship with Phil Spector obviously being the most difficult. It will make you angry, sad, and so many other feelings in between. But don't let her difficulties in life influence how you view the book. This is a wonderful read, almost conversational in tone, and what would you want her to do? Gloss over the abuse so the book would fit better with your vapid desire for just reading music industry anecdotes? She gives us her life, appreciate it in all of its highs and lows. I am under the impression from things I've read and people I've spoken with that as time has gone on most people remember her for one of two things: the Ronettes singles or her horrific marriage to Phil. This book really fills in the gaps so that you not only get a better view of the public Ronnie Spector but you also meet the person, the human being, who had to juggle all of the public perceptions. Highly recommended for anyone with an interest in music, particularly rock era music. This is also an excellent read for those who simply enjoy autobiographies. You can't truly call yourself a fan of rock, especially of the major groups of the time (The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys) if the name Ronnie Spector is just a peripheral name to you. You may like the groups but you aren't truly a fan of the music if you don't know and appreciate the influences. This book will bring you into the next level. Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.

  14. 5 out of 5

    feral

    zendaya is actually going to be perfect as ronnie i can't wait for the movie this woman lived such a life zendaya is actually going to be perfect as ronnie i can't wait for the movie this woman lived such a life

  15. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    This was so good! I was never a fan of Ms Spector, but I love a great book about music. Now I will have to go search out some of her music. She tells a wonderful story....as if you were sitting and listening to a friend. Wonderful!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Porter-Smith

    After watching the recently released Tina Turner documentary I fell down a bit of a 60s female icons rabbit whole which led me to Ronnie’s biography. I hate to say it but I found her insufferable and I had to drag myself through this book. I enjoyed an insight into the 1960s, my favourite era for music and fashion, but Ronnie personally I just couldn’t stomach. I’m not going to say much about her relationship with Phil Spector as I think most people know enough about Phil and the type of man he After watching the recently released Tina Turner documentary I fell down a bit of a 60s female icons rabbit whole which led me to Ronnie’s biography. I hate to say it but I found her insufferable and I had to drag myself through this book. I enjoyed an insight into the 1960s, my favourite era for music and fashion, but Ronnie personally I just couldn’t stomach. I’m not going to say much about her relationship with Phil Spector as I think most people know enough about Phil and the type of man he was already so let’s discuss some other things. The majority of the book takes place in the 60s & 70s of course but was written in the 90s. You would be forgiven for thinking this book was from the 60s though with several racist comments regarding Chinese people and constant fat phobia references. “My sister Estelle couldn’t possibly rejoin the Ronettes...she’d gained 30 pounds!!” “X was a big, fat backing singer who always made me laugh.” Ronnie also refers to how utterly gorgeous and unbelievably talented she was/is at least every second page. How men fell in love with her constantly and every glance she gets from any man is because she was just so sexy and irresistible. I’m all for a women feeling themselves but when this is interspersed with fat phobic comments about others it starts to rub the wrong way. Or bitchy comments about Liza Minelli (who looked at her the wrong way once) & Diana Ross (whom she doesn’t appear to have ever met). The Ronette’s were great but Ronnie holds her talent in such absurdly high regard. She talks about sitting with Cher and how people must have seen them together and thought, “Look at those two rock and rolls queens!” I imagine everyone was probably looking at Cher since Ronnie hadn’t had a hit in several years at this point. She also has a hissy fit about two men excitedly discussing a Supremes concert they are going to in front of her. Do they not know that SHE is Ronnie Spector and Diana Ross has nothing on her?? Literally that’s almost a word for word quote. DIANA ROSS and CHER! Come on Ronnie! Everybody was utterly obsessed with her amazing voice apparently. The Beatles, Elvis, Bruce Springsteen. & they all wanted to fuck her of course. Even if she could only tell that because they “gave her a look”. I honestly don’t even know where to start when it comes to discussing her children. She adopts a baby that is only a few weeks old because she saw and advert for him on the TV. She immediately turns up at the agency and can’t believe she can’t just take the baby home right then and there. She laments that adoption was soooo much more difficult back then. I mean she had to wait a whole month before she could finally adopt the baby! Not to mention the fact that Phil Spector adopts two twins for her as a surprise gift for Christmas. So no Ronnie, it really wasn’t that hard to adopt a baby in the 60s. When she leaves Phil she leaves the 3 kids behind. She then has nothing to do with the twins for the rest of her life but sees the first boy once a month. That is until she gets a call from the police to say he’s ran away from his home with father Phil Spector because he was being starved and emotionally abused. This seems to be a shock to Ronnie despite her knowing first hand what Phil is like and spending time with her son every month. The son comes to live with her after that. He is 10 years old. She says she is shocked how much money it takes to raise a child. Why is it a shock Ronnie? You’ve been his mother for 10 YEARS. By the time he is 11 the son leaves to go live with his grandmother, Phil’s mother, because Ronnie is an alcoholic, obsessed with her failed career and mostly absent. She then laments on and on about how her son “left her” and “it isn’t just boyfriends and husbands who can break your heart”. This poor little boy adopted on a whim from a TV advert and then basically neglected by both his parents broke HER heart?? She also drones on about wanting to be a mother once she’s in her mid 30s. That maybe she can cope with her failed career if she can redeem herself by become a Mum. Ronnie...YOU HAVE A SON. You adopted him over a decade ago now! He doesn’t seem to count now apparently. When she does have her first biological son it is at 7 months and he is just over 2lbs. She shares a room in the hospital with another mother who is complaining that she’s in so much pain after given birth. Ronnie smugly says she feels fine and doctor “didn’t even have to do any stitches”. Yes Ronnie because your baby was hugely premature and tiny! Have some empathy for your fellow new Mum! Ronnie clearly faced challenges in her life, Phil Spector being the greatest of them, but she is so full of self pity and self obsession that it’s difficult to empathise with her beyond her situation with Phil. I loved hearing about the 60s music scene and can’t wait to read Tina Turner’s biography for more insight. I’ll always love “Be My Baby” but I’m sorry Ronnie, you personally are just not my cup of tea.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Dean

    In the land of rock'n'roll tell-all biographies, "Be My Baby" has one basic story to tell: Ronnie Bennett, lead singer in what became The Ronettes, fell in love with and eventually married Phil Spector, and he was one nasty, narcissistic, messed up guy. While Mr. Spector may for a time have been a genius record producer, he was also a master of psychological abuse, and Ronnie put up with it for years, becoming an alcoholic and a deeply miserable woman. She finally escaped, quit drinking, and got In the land of rock'n'roll tell-all biographies, "Be My Baby" has one basic story to tell: Ronnie Bennett, lead singer in what became The Ronettes, fell in love with and eventually married Phil Spector, and he was one nasty, narcissistic, messed up guy. While Mr. Spector may for a time have been a genius record producer, he was also a master of psychological abuse, and Ronnie put up with it for years, becoming an alcoholic and a deeply miserable woman. She finally escaped, quit drinking, and got her life in order. (Mr. Spector, now age 78, is serving a life sentence for murdering Lana Clarkson in 2003, an event that occurs well after the time frame of this book.) Ronnie has a number of adventures with other luminaries like John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen and, notably, David Bowie. "Be My Baby" is an okay (and fast) read, if you're in the mood for this sort of bio. You might want to listen to The Ronettes' Greatest Hits while you're at it.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Hans Peter

    Take a pretty, naive and insecure teenager with a marvellous voice and make her a rock'n roll star overnight. Then marry her to a young, brilliant and newly rich producer with a gigantic inferiority complex and a few psychopathic strains. Then you have the plot for most of this book. The song "Be my baby" by the Ronettes (produced by Phil Spector) was and still is one of my favourites. The live version with Belinda Carlisle and Grace Slick as the two supporting Ronettes is a masterpiece. The book Take a pretty, naive and insecure teenager with a marvellous voice and make her a rock'n roll star overnight. Then marry her to a young, brilliant and newly rich producer with a gigantic inferiority complex and a few psychopathic strains. Then you have the plot for most of this book. The song "Be my baby" by the Ronettes (produced by Phil Spector) was and still is one of my favourites. The live version with Belinda Carlisle and Grace Slick as the two supporting Ronettes is a masterpiece. The book is yet another illustration of the difficulties associated with money and stardom. It seems as Ronnie (Veronica) came out alive on the other side, but she might as well have ended in the club with Amy Winehouse, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Randal Bridges

    Loved this book! I recently found a vinyl re-issue of The Ronettes album that was produced by wacko/genius Phil Spector. After listening, I wanted to know her story. This book is told in a frank, non sugar coated way. Ronnie doesn't try to make herself look saintly, she talks warts and all. This book is one of the better bio's I ever read. If you're a classic Rock or oldies fan, look this one up! Loved this book! I recently found a vinyl re-issue of The Ronettes album that was produced by wacko/genius Phil Spector. After listening, I wanted to know her story. This book is told in a frank, non sugar coated way. Ronnie doesn't try to make herself look saintly, she talks warts and all. This book is one of the better bio's I ever read. If you're a classic Rock or oldies fan, look this one up!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Alison Hine

    I found this book to be engaging and enlightening. Ronnie comes across as likable, talented, and caring - and the survivor of horrible, ruthless abuse by a sick and evil man. Her perspective of the personality and behavior of Phil Spector illuminates how a person can be both brilliantly talented and a despicable human being. Lesson: just because a person is a genius - artistic, musical, scientific, whatever - doesn't mean that person qualifies as a hero. I'm very glad Ronnie was able to escape f I found this book to be engaging and enlightening. Ronnie comes across as likable, talented, and caring - and the survivor of horrible, ruthless abuse by a sick and evil man. Her perspective of the personality and behavior of Phil Spector illuminates how a person can be both brilliantly talented and a despicable human being. Lesson: just because a person is a genius - artistic, musical, scientific, whatever - doesn't mean that person qualifies as a hero. I'm very glad Ronnie was able to escape from the clutches of this terrible man, and that she chose to tell her story. Well worth reading, in my opinion. Thank you, Ronnie Spector!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dave Hofer

    Fun, quick read. Phil Spector is cray. Just seeing the title of this book gets the song stuck in my head so I'm glad I'm done reading it. Fun, quick read. Phil Spector is cray. Just seeing the title of this book gets the song stuck in my head so I'm glad I'm done reading it.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Carla T

    Ronnie definitely kisses and tells. So much of her story broke my heart.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Monica

    Recently when THE HEIGHTS came out I was very pleased because I recognized many of the locations and was proud because mom's parents and two little sisters (1st generation Irish) lived on West 173rd street and Audubon Avenue. A possible fire in their apartment caused them to move to a different place across the Harlem River in the Kingsbridge section of the Bronx. Recently when a high school photo of Ronnie Spector was being discussed on Facebook I commented that I thought she looked Irish. A bu Recently when THE HEIGHTS came out I was very pleased because I recognized many of the locations and was proud because mom's parents and two little sisters (1st generation Irish) lived on West 173rd street and Audubon Avenue. A possible fire in their apartment caused them to move to a different place across the Harlem River in the Kingsbridge section of the Bronx. Recently when a high school photo of Ronnie Spector was being discussed on Facebook I commented that I thought she looked Irish. A butt-head-know-it-all commented, "No way!" I replied, "Can't you see her cute features? She has a little Irish face?" Still the jerk thought, no. I researched, and, even though I posted a fact, I was still ignored and belittled. Such arrogance is dumbfounding. Phil Spector's arrogance was legendary, only Spector was literally crazy. At least Spector produced some great records. How Ronnie lasted as long as she did with him is mystifying. I bought BE MY BABY to read beyond wiki and see what Ronnie Spector had to say. Her father, Louis Bennet, was of Irish descent and her mom was Cherokee and black. Her dad was a would-be jazz drummer with a happy-go-lucky attitude. He instilled in her a love for music. It's not clear if it's hereditary but Ronnie also inherited his alcoholism. She wrote that she was raised in "Spanish Harlem." Sometimes she'd mention Harlem. Washington Heights is located between the Hudson and Harlem Rivers. Harlem is by the East River. No matter what the neighborhood is called, she lived on 151 street bet Amsterdam and Broadway and went to PS 153. As a young girl she was concerned about being a half breed. "Am I white? Or am I black?" Whites didn't accept her and neither did black kids. She was picked on a lot. Black girls didn't have shiny straight hair like hers and her older sister Estelle's. She wore it in a long braid. One day a student sitting behind her in class asked if she could touch it and CUT IT OFF. Mrs. Bennett immediately moved Veronica to PS 92 on 134th street. Veronica knew from a very young age that she wanted to be a star. She'd push back the couch in her parent's apartment and practice her routines until her mom came home from work. Her relatives loved her singing and she loved the applause. She idolized Frankie Lymon and sang his songs along with the radio. She practiced harmonies with Estelle and her cousin Nedra. They were so good, her mom sent them for singing lessons. Their music teacher introduced them to a producer who got them a contract with Colpix Records. Ronnie, Estelle and Nedra developed a look with teased up hair, lots of dark eyeliner, mascara and short skirts. The songs they released went nowhere. The three girls were paid to dance at The Peppermint Lounge and they performed at Murray the K's shows in Brooklyn. Estelle was able to call Phil Spector and get them an audition. He acted very surprised but had actually seen them in Brooklyn. He was stunned by Ronnie's voice and wanted to sign them to his Phillies label but the girls had to get out of their contract at Colpix. That was easily done. The contract was going to be for all three girls, not just Ronnie, and Mrs Bennett continued as their manager. Early on, when The Ronettes had gained some fame, there was a big commotion behind The Apollo Theater where they were about to perform. A gang of black boys and Puerto Rican boys were screaming at each other, "They're black!! "No!!! They're Puerto Rican!! The cops broke up the disturbance. Ronnie was surprised but her attitude was, "there's enough of nationalities and bloodlines to go around for everybody!" I was kept being disappointed at how boring the book was. She was in love with a terribly abusive person and didn't stand up for herself. Her solution was to drink. So unless you want to read about all the famous guys who thought Ronnie was sexy, you'll get bored, too. I didn't buy this book to read about how crazy Phil Spector was. It was written before he was convicted of murder but the craziness was evident early on. It took her so many years to get out of this nightmare it's frustrating. I'm looking forward to the BE MY BABY biopic. It's only going to be interesting as psychological thriller because this bio was fairly boring!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mila Melia-Kapoor

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I adore The Ronettes’ music, but didn’t know anything about Ronnie Spector’s life before reading this book. I couldn’t be more glad I did read it (in one sitting – couldn’t put it down) because my god, this book was a rollercoaster. It was gripping, funny, heartbreaking, and atmospheric. It was also full of gossip! A splash of the tea: Ronnie Spector has slept with David Bowie and kissed John Lennon. This shouldn’t have surprised me considering they moved in similar circles, but as I’m such a Ro I adore The Ronettes’ music, but didn’t know anything about Ronnie Spector’s life before reading this book. I couldn’t be more glad I did read it (in one sitting – couldn’t put it down) because my god, this book was a rollercoaster. It was gripping, funny, heartbreaking, and atmospheric. It was also full of gossip! A splash of the tea: Ronnie Spector has slept with David Bowie and kissed John Lennon. This shouldn’t have surprised me considering they moved in similar circles, but as I’m such a Ronettes, Bowie, and Beatles fan, it kind of made my head explode. I read this book while listening to The Ronettes, skipping to each song as she described the stories behind them. The book had an incredible sense of atmosphere. Ronnie Spector painted a striking picture of every city she described, but especially Spanish Harlem, where she grew up. Every detail was so rich, I felt like I was right there with her. Reading about her experience growing up as a mixed-race girl in 1950s NYC was both fascinating and poignant. Although the time and circumstances are worlds apart, there were aspects I found incredibly relatable as a fellow mixed girl. One thing I really loved was Ronnie’s unashamed, vibrant sexuality. It sweat from the pages (or in this case the Amazon Kindle screen). The description of her losing her virginity to Phil Spector to the sound of her song ‘Do I Love You?’ was sensual yet chilling, considering how he turned out. On a darker note, it was heartbreaking to read about the abuse Phil Spector subjected Ronnie to. Her words strikingly illustrate just how twisted and abusive he was. He isn’t the focus of this book or review, so I won’t add much more – but it was a huge relief to read of her escape with her mother from the Beverly Hills mansion he’d imprisoned her in. She was barefoot, because he’d taken her shoes so that she couldn’t leave. I loved this powerful, vivid, and down-to-earth account of Ronnie’s incredible life. It really demonstrated that your life isn’t necessarily easy just because you’re famous. Ronnie Spector went through the mill, but she came out on the other side with admirable resilience, humour, and determination.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    In BE MY BABY, Ronnie Spector presents a wild ride of a memoir that moves at a breakneck speed. Whether Ronnie, the lead singer of the 1960s girl group the Ronettes, describes hanging out with the Beatles at a 1964 sex party ("I may have been dumb back then, but I knew when it was time to get up off a guy's lap," she writes), having cocaine-laced sex with David Bowie or being kept prisoner in her 23-room mansion by husband Phil Spector for five years, Spector has a knack for compelling storytell In BE MY BABY, Ronnie Spector presents a wild ride of a memoir that moves at a breakneck speed. Whether Ronnie, the lead singer of the 1960s girl group the Ronettes, describes hanging out with the Beatles at a 1964 sex party ("I may have been dumb back then, but I knew when it was time to get up off a guy's lap," she writes), having cocaine-laced sex with David Bowie or being kept prisoner in her 23-room mansion by husband Phil Spector for five years, Spector has a knack for compelling storytelling. Much of the memoir focuses on her courtship and eventual marriage to Phil Spector. She lost her virginity to him while listening to a Ronettes record. "And every two minutes and fifty seconds," she writes, "Phil would reach over from the bed and lift the needle back to the beginning of the record." Once married, his paranoia, rages and jealousies take over. Although he threatens to have her killed if she leaves, she is finally able to escape. And like Tina Turner, she attempts restarting a career while being viewed as a has-been. Originally published in 1990, this revised edition includes a new foreword by Keith Richards (replacing Cher's original) and a very short, 11-page postscript covering the last 32 years. This includes winning a $2.6 million lawsuit against Phil Spector for back royalties; the Ronettes' induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; and Phil's 2021 death in prison. Ronnie Spector died at 78 in January 2022--before this republication but after recording the audiobook.

  26. 5 out of 5

    AnnieM

    The world lost a great artist in January of 2022 when Ronnie Spector passed away. I was so glad to have the opportunity to read her memoir which was recently reissued and is quite a compelling read. She had quite a rough road as an artist, a woman, a mother yet in the end she found happiness and was able to fulfill all three of those identities. One of the sayings that came to mind as I was reading was "Don't meet your heroes" - in this case Frankie Lymon and Phil Spector - they only end up disa The world lost a great artist in January of 2022 when Ronnie Spector passed away. I was so glad to have the opportunity to read her memoir which was recently reissued and is quite a compelling read. She had quite a rough road as an artist, a woman, a mother yet in the end she found happiness and was able to fulfill all three of those identities. One of the sayings that came to mind as I was reading was "Don't meet your heroes" - in this case Frankie Lymon and Phil Spector - they only end up disappointing you. There has been a lot written about Phil Spector's erratic and abusive behavior and what surprised me is how much she loved and admired him and it took awhile for her to see him as the abuser and manipulator he was. Some of my favorite passages were moments like her mom in the kitchen making scrambled eggs for the Rolling Stones in her kitchen, hanging with David Bowie and John Lennon or her moments with true friends and later with her husband and children. This book is a memoir and also highlights the exploitation of women in music (she had to sue later to get paid back royalties for her songs). She is also candid about her alcoholism throughout as a way to cope with depression and pain. I am really glad I read this book -- because it is a testament of a survivor who did live happily ever after. Thank you to Netgalley and Henry Holt & Company for providing a preview copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Judy & Marianne from Long and Short Reviews

    Talk about going through the fire and coming out the other side. Ronnie Spector is so much more than a Ronette, but until I read this book, I had no idea. First, this book is very much in Ronnie’s hand. It reads like talking to her personally. It’s unpretentious and honest. It feels like talking to a friend. Plus, it zips right along. The author discusses her marriage to the famed Phil Spector, the way he treated her, his methods for keeping her in line and how he tried to manipulate her to stick Talk about going through the fire and coming out the other side. Ronnie Spector is so much more than a Ronette, but until I read this book, I had no idea. First, this book is very much in Ronnie’s hand. It reads like talking to her personally. It’s unpretentious and honest. It feels like talking to a friend. Plus, it zips right along. The author discusses her marriage to the famed Phil Spector, the way he treated her, his methods for keeping her in line and how he tried to manipulate her to stick around. I liked her honesty and her admittance that she was in over her head. She also talks about her alcoholism and struggles with depression. Again, she’s blunt and honest about them. There were times when I thought, gee, this woman is lost. The baby situation comes to mind or her reliance on others is another, but the best part had to be how she managed to come back. She doesn’t totally let her issues get her down. She’s a survivor. If you’re looking for a book that will make you gasp, cheer, tear up a bit and smile, then this might be the story for you.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The story of Ronnie Spector’s life from her childhood in Spanish Harlem through her rise to fame guided by Phil Spector through his mad obsession with control to her escape then battles with alcoholism and finally her finding happiness Okay, the pros: great stories about the early days of Rock & Roll. The genius Phil Spector brought to music with his wall of sound. She definitely had an interesting life. Now the cons: Not the best writing, fairly amateur- if it had been written by only her then The story of Ronnie Spector’s life from her childhood in Spanish Harlem through her rise to fame guided by Phil Spector through his mad obsession with control to her escape then battles with alcoholism and finally her finding happiness Okay, the pros: great stories about the early days of Rock & Roll. The genius Phil Spector brought to music with his wall of sound. She definitely had an interesting life. Now the cons: Not the best writing, fairly amateur- if it had been written by only her then fine but there was a ghost writer, so yeah. Next, I found although she says she accepts responsibility for a share in her problems, it didn’t ring true to me. I don’t know how she could give up on the three boys she had with Phil. I know it was a different time and I keep telling myself that but it’s hard to understand. Let’s just say I didn’t find her exactly likeable. All in all glad I read it but meh.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Moss

    I have mixed feelings about this book. I loved Ronnie RIP, but I didn't love the short glossover of the poor kids.I get that Spector had some $$ and power in LA at the time, which did not help the insane tragedy - it was something that I wanted to hear her speak more on. But back to the rest: Paints a perfect picture of the 60's fusion of rock and soul, go-go revolutionary era, as it unfolded from beginning to end. Living vicariously through her as she hooks up with *ahem spoilers* some legends I have mixed feelings about this book. I loved Ronnie RIP, but I didn't love the short glossover of the poor kids.I get that Spector had some $$ and power in LA at the time, which did not help the insane tragedy - it was something that I wanted to hear her speak more on. But back to the rest: Paints a perfect picture of the 60's fusion of rock and soul, go-go revolutionary era, as it unfolded from beginning to end. Living vicariously through her as she hooks up with *ahem spoilers* some legends of music lore, I couldn't say no to this locomotive express. It could have gone a lot deeper into life and thoughts in general, I felt like the basic gist was dictated to someone - slightly missing a soulful perception of her memories - but it delivered the strange, cinematic wonder that was Ronnie's life.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Pamela

    Always loved the Ronettes, played my 45 of Be My Baby that it warped. Although I could have some pity for her as she was young & thought Phil Spector was the only one who could help her, I also got tired of her telling us on every page how gorgeous she was, how every man fell for her as soon as they met her. She talked about wanting to be a mother so desperately but she left three little boys in the hands of a mad man. She only speaks of the one son although there were two others. Even the way s Always loved the Ronettes, played my 45 of Be My Baby that it warped. Although I could have some pity for her as she was young & thought Phil Spector was the only one who could help her, I also got tired of her telling us on every page how gorgeous she was, how every man fell for her as soon as they met her. She talked about wanting to be a mother so desperately but she left three little boys in the hands of a mad man. She only speaks of the one son although there were two others. Even the way she spoke of her sister when they were trying to get back in the limelight, she had the need to say nasty things about her letting herself go. The Ronettes were a great group in the 60’s but they had their time and she was unable to reinvent herself with the times.

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