Ronnie Spector, gig review

Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

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The Independent Culture

Amongst the raft of Storytellers-like evenings that have become a staple of the nostalgia circuit, Ronnie Spector’s Beyond The Beehive shines like a polished diamond.

Kicking off with the sublime “Walking In The Rain’’, the focal point of The Ronettes oozes charisma and sex appeal, her jet black hair as big as the voice that thrills with every trademark oh-oh, oh oh oh oh.

Hers is some life story, from a carefree debut at Harlem’s Apollo Theatre, via joyful encounters with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones in 1964, to the mental abuse she suffered while married to Phil Spector.

The architect of the Wall of Sound kept her a virtual prisoner in his California mansion until she made her barefoot escape in 1972, a release symbolized by a euphoric performance of “Say Goodbye To Hollywood”, the Billy Joel composition she recorded with the E  Street Band in 1977.

Her vindictive ex tried to keep her out of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame but, championed by Joey Ramone and the Dirty Dancing generation, she battled on and eventually won recognition and back-dated royalties for the timeless classics “Baby, I Love You’’, “Do I Love You” and the inevitable set closer “Be My Baby”.

Her songs and memories proved a fitting finale to South Bank Centre’s Women of the World Festival. WOW indeed!