The lyrics to "Be My Baby" eerily foreshadow the life of Ronnie Spector.
Married to one of the maddest men of the 1960s, the front girl for the Ronettes tried and failed to make Phil “so proud of me.” As told in Ronnie’s recently re-released autobiography (a very readable book), Mr. Spector was a one man Wrecking Crew, a control freak who wanted to possess her and never let her go. She WAS a baby when they met, still in high school, being raised by a protective mother. But Ronnie wanted to be the baddest chick in rock and her stage persona, along with her backup singers, certainly projected that with the eyeliner out to here, beehive up to there, and skirts that showed off every curve. Throw in that voice and her dream came true. But at a very heavy price.
Sure, she had a load of fun along the way to Phil’s mansion, which soon became her prison, but hanging with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones quickly became just a memory, just like her career. Naive Ronnie thought she was in love, being loved, but really, she was just another person for Phil to dominate. His verbal tirades and his irrational jealousy took their toll. She became an alcoholic to combat the boredom of rich housewifery and the moods of her unstable spouse, who adopted three children in a twisted attempt to make her happy. And while becoming a mother was a dream come true, even that did not help, because parenthood came with yet another set of bizarre Spector rules. Eventually, Ronnie just walked out the door.
And unlike many other former singers whose careers got derailed, Ronnie did make a comeback after she escaped the Wall of (No) Sound. It may not have been the way she wanted it, but she did survive and thrive. (See Eddie Money’s "Take Me Home Tonight.") Ronnie fell in love, had children, and found herself again, found that innocence she had to bury. In a sense, she became a baby again, growing up to become a new woman. That kind of success cannot be measured on the Top 10 charts. It took some years for her to realize what she had, but in the end, she did.
Ronnie came out on top. There is no better proof than the induction of the Ronettes into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007, a move vehemently opposed by her ex, because he really was that vindictive. A few months after this well-deserved recognition, Phil went on trial for murder and was eventually convicted. Karma. Ain’t she a bitch?
And her name might be Veronica.