2009 – Ronettes singer Estelle Bennett died at her home in Englewood, N.J. She was 67. The 60’s girl group best known for their work with producer Phil Spector had the 1963 hit ‘Be My Baby’ which epitomized the famed “wall of sound” technique.
Estelle Bennett (July 22, 1941 – February 2009) was a member of the girl group The Ronettes, along with her sister Veronica Ronnie Spector (the ‘Ronnie’ of the band’s name) and cousin Nedra Talley.
After the Ronettes’ 1966 break-up, she recorded a single for Laurie Records, “The Year 2000/The Naked Boy”. She then quit the music business and had rarely been seen since. She married the group’s road manager Joe Dong, and they had a daughter, Toyin.
In 2007, when the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, she refused to perform with them, and spoke only a brief two sentences during her acceptance speech, “I would just like to say, thank you very much for giving us this award. I’m Estelle of the Ronettes, thank you.”
Bennett died of colon cancer aged 67 in Englewood, New Jersey. Her body was discovered on February 11, 2009. Bennett’s memorial was held at 11:00 am., Friday, March 20, 2009, at Riverside Church in NYC, at 120th & Riverside Dr. Interment was a private service at the Trinity Church Mausoleum, in Trinity Church Cemetery, at 74 Trinity Place, at Wall Street and Broadway, in NYC.
Fellow Ronette Nedra Talley Ross and Bennett’s daughter were interviewed for the article. Ronnie Spector declined to be interviewed