100 Greatest Singers
August 10th, 1943
Key Tracks "Be My Baby," "Baby I Love You," "Walking in the Rain"
Influenced Joey Ramone, Patti Smith, Billy Joel
Backed by future husband Phil Spector's wildly romantic production, Veronica "Ronnie" Bennett's knife-blade belting with the Ronettes became a defining voice of the early Sixties, and it filtered down to everyone from Patti Smith to Joan Jett to the E Street Band. Steve Van Zandt grew up listening to hits such as "Be My Baby," but the true power of Ronnie Spector's singing only reached him later. "It was when Marty Scorsese screened a movie he had just done, called Mean Streets, for me and Bruce," Van Zandt says. "I was, like, 'Whoa!' " Scorsese's use of "Be My Baby" perfectly captures the innocence and erotic promise of Spector's voice. Van Zandt would later produce Spector. "I was a little too reverent," he says, looking back. "I didn't want to put anything around her voice. I just wanted to hear her."