Home Celebrity Phil Spector, Even in Prison, Is Still Being Nasty to Ronnie Spector

Ronnie Spector–I could listen to her sing the phone book. It would have been nice if she could have sung her hits from her days with the Ronettes last night at the City Winery. But more than 40 years after she escaped the clutches of Phil Spector, her abusive, controlling producer husband, he still has in it for her. Phil, Ronnie read at the start of the show, will not clear her hits to sing in a theatrical setting. She can sing them in a concert, but not when it comes to dramatic rights. So Ronnie, who’s about to turn 69, performed her autobiographical work in progress show without “Baby I Love You” or “Be My Baby.”

Spector, after lifetime of violence, genius, and insanity, is serving 19 years to life for the murder of actress Lana Clarkson. Ronnie showed a picture of him from prison without his wig and quipped: “I should have shot him, but I didn’t know where he kept the guns.” The audience got a good laugh.

And you know what? If you’re reading this in prison, Phil: it didn’t matter. The show is a hit without Spector’s songs. We can live without them. The audience — which was sold out–just wants to hear Ronnie sing. And talk. About her crazy life in the 1960s with Phil, who locked her up in his mansion. wouldn’t let her leave or speak to other stars and musicians. He kept her off the final Beatles tour, sending the Ronettes out with a replacement. He wouldn’t let her greet the Beatles when they came to New York, even though it was Ronnie who introduced Phil to them.

The stories of abuse go on and on. When she finally left–before Tina Turner or Katie Holmes made their escapes–Ronnie jogged off Spector’s property barefoot, with nothing from her house. It was like a prison break.

She read at the beginning of the show: “My ex husband is a bitter man” to explain why she couldn’t sing her hits. But she did sing “Walking in the Rain” and Brian Wilson’s “Don’t Worry Baby” to perfection. Also “The Best Part of Breaking Up” and “Do I Love You?” Her unique voice has not lost an iota of power or texture. And her trademark refrain–“uh oh oh”– the predecessor of Michael Jackson’s whoops and Sting’s “e-oh-e-oh.” Ronnie sings Johnny Thunders’s “You Can’t Wrap Your Arms Around a Memory” but maybe you can. She’s so ingratiating that it feels as if she is wrapping you up with reassurance.

So she was able to sing “Frosty the Snowman” from her famous Christmas album, and Billy Joel’s “Say Goodbye to Hollywood,” the single that brought her back courtesy of Little Steven and the E Street Band. She needs to add “Take Me Home Tonight” and “You Mean So Much to Me Baby,” duets respectively with Eddie Money and Southside Johnny.

And while it takes a toll on Ronnie to bare her soul and tell her story, she’s a good actress. Because her singing seems effortless–like Gladys Knight o or Sam Moore or Aretha Franklin. It just spills out of her. Let’s hope the show keeps getting tweaked until she’s off Broadway with a hit. She’d be a bright light on the Great White Way.

photo c2012 Showbiz411

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14 replies to this post

  2. I can understand his paranoia and jealousy of Ronnie. Other guys probably would have hit on her, and she might have let herself be seduced by them, who knows? “Locking her up” might have been extreme, but who knows the details? Was it an “Ariel Castro” type situation, or just a controlling husband who wanted his wife to be a housewife because she was so sexy and he was so insecure? All I know is he was head and shoulders above most of the other producers/writers of his day, and I thank him for his music/genius. If someone is off their psychotropic meds and kills someone, how legally responsible are they?

  3. There’s no excuse for a man who locks up a woman (or anyone) for years and deprives them of their human rights just because he has insecurities. Dogs are treated better than the way Ronnie was by Phil. And no matter if you think Phil is guilty of murder or not, his terrorizing Ronnie is beyond excuse, and if you don’t think so, you’re justifying his misogynistic jealousy that manifested itself into psychological trauma. I believe in Ronnie’s autobiography, she said that Phil kept a coffin in their house and repeatedly threatened that that’s where she would end up if she disobeyed him. It’s a good thing he’s in jail now so his demons can’t hurt anyone else. Yes, everyone has their demons. But when your demons manifest to the point where they put other people in danger, that’s a different story.

  4. Obviously he does Mr. Adam Berstein! or he wouldnt have been so controlling, he is just like Ike Turner, 2 peas in a pod and if you side with Spector then you are cut from the same mold

  5. The highest Good would be to seperate the man from his Art.
    The sound, the music he produced and wrote, the many acts
    he transformed will go down in the Halls of Music History.
    His work stands today and will be admired in future.
    Like many a musical and artistic genious, he struggled with
    demons. Instead of turning these demons inward, they spilled
    out of him in violence and domination.
    Furthermore, he has the right to control the work that belongs to him.
    In reality, that is all he CAN control right now.
    Although I do not excuse Spector’s actions, I still listen to his
    music with awe and admiration. “Be My Baby” will still bring
    a tear to my eye as the sound ripples over me with raw emotion
    and thunder.
    Like Morrison, Winehouse, countless other lost souls
    no one ever intervened forcefully enough to convince them
    they needed help

  6. I´m sorry I regret of some of the words I just say. And want to add that me, myself, colud be a b*** or I am sometimes if putting in the same place…and on the same situation the one that gets kill or harm,…could be me or anybody -those who likes to speare great times, fun, good companies. So forgive me for the judge.
    Anyway I think the man is not guilty.-

  7. This is ABSURD. Mr.Phil Spector, I feel sorry for your situation and think is not all true about the shits they say. First I want to say is I hope people who must do, make a litte bit of justice for you now and let you free, sr. Why they stubborn in ruin your oldness time in prision and for 19 years with a fake charge? Public opinion and friends of the killed girl, make the case turn over the sence of facts. The game with guns is share with who wants to…and sure is not supposed to happend that tragedys, of get kill by one, but at the bottom the blame here is shared by both, she and he, in a certain way. So he get punish already, you can´t get his life away and kill him in the walls of prision.
    Is like comic that people afraid of you, Mr.Spector, or some behaviours when themselves know is not so far and they do worst stuff…In other hand everybody is crazy and make violence etc etc… see how that Ronetta speaks jajajajajaajaaaaa, sorry…is so stupid for some tastes.
    And with all respect for the deads and whoever mind, that b*** of lana fuck your life -besides hers, obvious- (I dont stop to think since happend your “accident” -let me say that- since I can´t find you guilty of murder), that she want that shot in her mouth and as well had fun and was just fucking arround in her actrees life. Sad end, yes. Sorry for sure, it shouldn´t have happend.
    Cordial greetings, good night.-

  8. An excellent article touching upon the real Phil Spector in his earlier years which shows how demented he was even 50 years ago…….Murdering our friend Lana Clarkson should never have happened. 50 years of abusing people with guns and it’s unbelievable he was only fined once for $75. This article sheds some light on his devious and brutal behavior even with his own family.
    Edward Lozzi, for the Friends of Lana Clarkson

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