A variety of famous music stars, including The Rolling Stones‘ Keith Richards, The Beach Boys‘ Brian Wilson and Billy Joel, have paid homage to legendary Ronettes singer Ronnie Spector, who died Wednesday of cancer at age 78.
Richards, who was a longtime friend of Ronnie’s and had a brief romance with her during the 1960s, wrote on his social media pages, “This is so sad. Ronnie was a very dear friend and she leaves a huge gap. How I’m going to miss that infectious laugh and that great voice! My deepest condolences to her family and loved ones.”
Wilson was a huge fan of The Ronettes’ 1963 hit “Be My Baby,” which inspired him to write “Don’t Worry Baby.” He presented “Don’t Worry Baby” to Ronettes producer Phil Spector for the group to record, but Phil turned it down, and it went on to become a hit for The Beach Boys in 1964.
Paying homage to Ronnie, Brian wrote on Twitter, “I loved her voice so much and she was a very special person and a dear friend. This just breaks my heart. Ronnie’s music and spirit will live forever.”
Accompanying the post is a YouTube video featuring footage of Ronnie visiting Brian backstage at a 2002 New York City concert. In the clip, she gushes at how much she loved “Don’t Worry Baby” and serenades a swooning Wilson.
Joel, whose classic song “Say Goodbye to Hollywood” was covered by Ronnie and Bruce Springsteen‘s E Street Band in 1977, writes, “The great Ronnie Spector has died. So many faces in and out of my life…We mourn her passing.”
In addition, Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan posted a video of him performing an acoustic version of the Ronettes hit “Baby, I Love You.”
Here are some other tributes to Ronnie from various well-known artists:
Joan Jett: “Our dear friend Ronnie Spector, has passed. She was the sweetest person you could ever know. And her mark on rock and roll is indelible.”
The Beach Boys’ Al Jardine: “So sad to hear about Ronnie.”
“Little Steven” Van Zandt: “RIP Ronnie Spector. It was an honor to Produce her and encourage her to get back on stage where she remained for the next 45 years. Her record with the E Street Band helped sustain us at a very precarious time…Condolences to her husband and family.
Southside Johnny: “She was definitely one of the high points of my teenage years, one of the high points of my touring life. When she came on stage with The Jukes the crowd went crazy. And, I got to play castanets! Who could ask for more. Rest in a groove, Ronnie.”
The Bangles‘ Susanna Hoffs: “Peace and Love, Ronnie Spector.”
Darlene Love: “I’m in total shock! Did not see this one coming. Please give me time to process my thoughts to give Ronnie the proper tribute she deserves. She and I shared so much together.”
Go-Go’s bassist Kathy Valentine: “this totally blows. f*** cancer. RIP the legend Ronnie Spector. Thank you for the music, for being so freaking cool.”
The Pointer Sisters: “Condolences to family & friends of #RonnieSpector RIP”
Paul Shaffer: “Our voice has been silenced.”
Carole King: “Rest In Peace #RonnieSpector”
Jimmy Webb: Sad to hear that #RonnieSpector left us today. #TheRonettes and Roni were a main part of the soundtrack of the early 60’s & ‘Be My Baby’ was certainly a signature song. Ronnie’s vocals rang out with her beautiful clear voice across the radio waves. Rest in power, Roni.”
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