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Be My Baby: How I Survived Mascara, Miniskirts, and Madness, or My Life As a Fabulous Ronette

3.84  ·  Rating Details ·  371 Ratings  ·  45 Reviews
Ronnie and Phil Spector made music history with the Ronettes, but as Phil's creative powers began to wane, their marriage soured. He became increasingly reclusive and violent, and Ronnie's life became a constant battle to fend off madness-both his and her own.
Hardcover, First Edition, 318 pages
Published September 12th 1990 by Harmony Books (first published January 1st 1990)
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Jun 22, 2012 Martin rated it really liked it
This was a very fast, compulsive read. A real page turner. I'm one of the biggest Ronnie Spector fans, but I didn't know what to expect. She has some crazy stories about Phil and about her alcoholism, but she presents everything as matter-of-fact. Her writing does not dwell on self-pity or her constant passivity even when she, as a character, is mired in them. What I find refreshing is that she never bashes Phil Spector, even though it would be so easy. The way she described their early professi ...more
Feb 05, 2012 Karen rated it really liked it
This caption, from one of the photos in the book, is just one example of the insane things she recounts in this great autobiography-

"A family snapshot taken a few years after my divorce from Phil. That's Donte, standing with Gary and Louis, the twin brothers that Phil adopted as a surprise for me when I got out of the sanitarium."
Aug 16, 2012 Laurenemque rated it did not like it
She's really obsessed with being loved and adored.
She's always talking about her sex appeal, her hair, mascara or how EVERYONE IN THE WORLD WANTS HER for crying out loud. I never knew she was so arrogant. It's an exhausting read. Delusions of grandeur for sure.
Julie Barrett
Just kill me. This book! I had to force myself to finish it. I thought I was going to be reading a fun, wacky memoir of a rock singer from the sixties but what I read was the memoir of a severely emotionally abused woman who became an alcoholic in order to cope with the hell of her life. I needed a stiff drink just reading about it. I can certainly see why she drank. Honestly, I was surprised she didn't start sooner. It reminded me of a memoir I read a few years ago about the teenage abused wife ...more
Dave Hofer
Jan 05, 2014 Dave Hofer rated it liked it
Fun, quick read. Phil Spector is cray. Just seeing the title of this book gets the song stuck in my head so I'm glad I'm done reading it.
Apr 06, 2014 Nell rated it liked it
Be My Baby is a fast paced account of Ronnie's life, from her upbringing in the Spanish Harlem, the breakthrough of the Ronettes, through to her marriage (and breakdown) to mentor and producer, Phil Spector. What immediately struck me about Ronnie is that as much as she was enamoured with music, she was equally (and probably more so) with fame. She isn't shy in coming forward about her ambitions, and once hitting the proverbial 'big time', she relishes in it, regaling in stories of riot-inducing ...more
Aug 03, 2015 Carmen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music, non-fiction
What a read! A wild, gossipy ride through the sixties music scene with the heavy hitters - Phil Spector, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, etc. Ronnie is not a writer of great finesse, but her storytelling voice is true to the time and place. I was sorry to not hear more about her sister, Estelle, and sometimes Ronnie does come off as wrapped up in herself, but she is honest about her shortcomings and the naïveté of a teenager entering the burgeoning business of rock and roll. With Spector's lush ...more
Aug 11, 2014 Veronica rated it it was ok
As an avid reader/supporter of all music-related biographies, this one was just okay. It is not that Ronnie Spector had an uninteresting life, I just did not appreciate her voice as a storyteller. To be fair, I cannot pin all the blame on her, as her ghostwriter should take some heat. But when I think about the autobiographies I love that have been ghostwritten, (Life by Keith Richards, It's So Easy: and Other Lies by Duff McKagan, or Slash by, well, Slash), it just does not hold up. Though, I h ...more
Randal Bridges
May 15, 2014 Randal Bridges rated it it was amazing
Loved this book! I recently found a vinyl re-issue of The Ronettes album that was produced by wacko/genius Phil Spector. After listening, I wanted to know her story. This book is told in a frank, non sugar coated way. Ronnie doesn't try to make herself look saintly, she talks warts and all. This book is one of the better bio's I ever read. If you're a classic Rock or oldies fan, look this one up! Be My Baby How I Survived Mascara, Miniskirts, and Madness, or My Life As a Fabulous Ronette by Ronnie Spector
Apr 24, 2012 Herzog rated it really liked it
Shelves: music
Having recently finished Phil Spector's bio, I was curious to hear Ronnie's side of the story. I guess, predictably, it mirrors Phil's. A sensation in her early 20's, she spent many years looking to replicate that success. With the failure of her career, marriage and motherhood, she turned to alcohol which could easily have cost her her life. This book was written more than 20 years ago, but, at that time, she seemed to have faced down her demons. To me she'll always be one of the great voices o ...more
Oct 15, 2007 Donald rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone
As a huge fan of Phil Spector's "wall of sound," I had to read this memoir by his ex-wife, lead singer of The Ronettes Ronnie Spector. "Be My Baby" relates not only Ronnie's rise from rags to riches, and her days as a huge pop star, but her long and sad marriage to Phil Spector, during which she was held as a virtual prisoner in his mansion. Those reading this probably wouldn't be surprised at Spector's arrest years later for murder. He was a genius at producing records, but not a very good huma ...more
Gunnar Hjalmarsson
Dec 24, 2013 Gunnar Hjalmarsson rated it really liked it
Ronnie Spector segir sögu sína á afdráttarlausan en dálítið slúðurkenndan hátt. Hennar stærsta móment var Be My Baby sem hún söng sem forystusauður The Ronettes og svo var hún gift geðsjúklingnum Phil Spector í 7 ár. Það allt saman er frábærlega skemmtilegt að lesa um. Líf hennar var mun minna spennandi eftir skilnaðinn og því eru síðustu kaflarnir fremur boring og maður fór yfir þá á hundavaði. Bókin kom fyrst út í kringum 1990 en var endurútgefin með öppdeiti eftir að Phil drap leikkonuna.
Jun 20, 2016 Gwen rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. The edition I read had the updated info from when Phil Spector had been charged with murder. Ronnie Spector lived with this madman for 10 years and told it like he was. She also told the dirt on herself and her life. I feel very sorry for her son, Donte and the twins she and Phil adopted. If only things had worked differently perhaps Donte would have had a different life.

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about rock n roll history.
May 20, 2008 Catherine rated it really liked it
I'm so glad Esme made me remember I'd read this book. This was a really weird read. Case in point: the way both? all 3? I forget -- of her sons were born. I won't spoil it for you; you'll just have to read it. I read this book about 12 years ago, on the plane going from one place to another. I remember being completely unconscious of the passage of time. I was engrossed in the weird, sad world of Ronnie Ronette.
Jul 05, 2014 Anina rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
Phil Spector is a murderous douche. Ronnie's great, of course.

A lot of your reviews say she sounds self centered...but it's an autobiography of a successful woman, so duh, I bet you wouldn't say that if she were a man! Get out of here with that nonsense. There's some really interesting stuff about how different the music industry used to be. Don't forget to read the introduction by Billy Joel!!!
Alice Ozwald
Jul 08, 2016 Alice Ozwald rated it did not like it
Without a doubt Phil Spector was/is a madman. And Ronnie Spector left/abandoned/sentenced three innocent children to live with him. She should have made it her life's work to get those children out of that environment instead of making shitty records with washed up musicians. Book sucked; anti climatic, self important, self absorbed. The more I think about this book, the more I dislike it.
May 23, 2016 Jen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: struggling r&b artists
ronnie gave me everything i wanted. trashy behind the scenes gossip about the ronettes. detailed accounts of her (near) sexual liaisons with other rock stars (lennon, bowie). intimate musings on her failed relationship with phil spector. i was in pure heaven. ronnie spector is a true diva, and this book lives up to it's title.
Dec 18, 2007 Esme rated it liked it
Ronnie is an amazing singer but her writing is not so great. That is completley forgiveable because I loved her stories. Very juicy easy read about growing up with stars in your eyes, into a Ronette and Phil Spector's wife and finally into a sad nightmare. Easy read full of really awesome peaks into the music scene with unbelievable tales.
Naomi Krokowski
Dec 26, 2015 Naomi Krokowski rated it really liked it
I love Ronnie's voice and classic work of the early sixties. Reading about her miserable marriage with genius-but-crazy Phil Spector reminded me of Tina escaping Ike Turner. Ronnie's voice and struggles were quite compelling and I enjoyed this book a lot.
Katie Boyer
Jun 02, 2015 Katie Boyer rated it liked it
Shelves: memoirs-bios, music
Ronnie has had quite a life! Very glad I read this, especially before seeing her live this past weekend (she is still amazing at 70!). It's an easy read and although it's not great writing, the story of her rise to fame and her relationship with Phil Spector is super interesting.
Apr 08, 2013 Samantha rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: music folks
All in all Be My Baby is a decent autobiography; though it's clear that writing isn't exactly Ronnie's calling, she gets the point across.
Anyone unsure about Phil Spector's innocence regarding the death of Lana Clarkson should read this book. He's a hint crazy and Ronnie knows first hand.
mr. chad
Aug 07, 2008 mr. chad rated it it was amazing
My mom blasted Ronnie's music through my yearly years. It was a treat to find this book, but even if you don't like Phillies Records, or the music of the 50's, I suggest you read this book. A beautiful story of pain and anguish; ending with self-discovery and love.
Dec 28, 2007 Hannah rated it liked it
Ronnie Spector is as much of a character as her husband Phil, and this account of her rise and fall as a pop singer in the 1960's is full of fantastic stories. It tends towards the trashy side, but it's a fun read for anyone who loves the girl group music of the time.
Robyn Obermeyer
Nov 27, 2015 Robyn Obermeyer rated it it was amazing
Very interesting book, a real page turner! Loved the whole read,and was glad to read she broke free of Phil and found a kinder love. I never heard of a child being born as she described whoa........ she sure is an attractive woman with a great voice and a very honest way with words in book!
Much like the beloved I, Tina this book tries to capture the bad old days with the 60s male impressarios who in addition to making great music, had good backhands and loved to slap their women around. Ronnie's voice (thank god) is still the sweetest thing and I really loved this book.
Matt Chic
Sep 16, 2007 Matt Chic rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i don't own this but i read jonE/betsy/someone's copy of it. thanks whoever you are. i wouldn't mind reading it again though, cause i don't remember it too well. i do remember the part where john lennon tried to get freaky with her, and got turned down. do you think he wrote a song about that?
Aug 28, 2007 Bob rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some great stories, especially regarding Lennon and the Stones, but kinda left me depressed. I didn't realize her life turned out to be such a mess. Her writing style is much like you expect so it's an easy read.
Dec 12, 2013 Vanessa rated it really liked it
Oh the drama! The soapiness! The name dropping! The way that Ronnie totally skirts her substance abuse! The fact that I read this for work! Good times, readers. Good times.
Jul 23, 2011 Katrina rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Helen
Zara got this for a school report. I am reading it here and there. We saw her last year at the All Love All Woodstock party and she was awesome! Still lookin' good.
Sep 11, 2007 Valerie rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone
it was really interesting to learn about ronnie's life and all the craziness. this book was definitely entertaining. i liked it a lot. good stories.
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