The passing of Estelle Bennett reminded me of the 2007 induction ceremony of the Ronettes into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Estelle attended but was not well enough to perform. Ronnie Bennett Spector and Nedra Talley performed three of their greatest hits — “Baby I Love You,” “(Walking) In the Rain” and “Be My Baby.”
This is really an incredible performance, completely unlike the typical reunion/nostalgia concert. Paul Shaffer leads a massive band/orchestra that pulls off the best recreation of Phil Spector’s “wall of sound” I have ever heard. (Other than the studio productions themselves. )
And Ronnie Spector is dazzling. Just dazzling.
There is a bizarre coda to the performance. At the end, Shaffer reads a congratulatory message from Phil Spector. This message came after Spector, in his role as a member of the Hall of Fame Board of Governors, prevented their induction. And that is only one piece of the behind the scenes abuse and theft that marked Spector’s treatment of the Ronettes and his former wife Ronnie Spector.
Why did Spector finally allow their induction? Let’s just say that being charged with murder and being out on $1 million bail in 2007 didn’t leave him in the strongest position.
Spector’s trial is still ongoing.
But forget all this, and take a look at the kind of performance that you almost never get so many years after the cheering stops.