Estelle Bennett - In Dedication

In her glory days with George Harrison
In her glory days with George Harrison
She wants you... how can you resist?
She wants you... how can you resist?
That's her on the left behind Phil Spector...
That's her on the left behind Phil Spector...
Check out the styles...
Check out the styles...

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder and to my eyes this is it. I saw a picture of The Ronettes recently and wondered who the beautifully exotic looking back-up singer was and so I did some research. Her name is Estelle Bennett and she was one of the two back-up singers of The Ronettes (the other being Nedra Talley her cousin) and the sister of lead singer Veronica Bennett (later known as Ronnie Spector). And yes, I am enchanted. This may be a silly tribute but I felt such an attraction to her and to her life's troubles that I decided to dedicate this hub to her. It's not something that I can explain. I just want you to know her too.

Estelle is a woman who achieved untold fame as part of one of the great girl groups of the early sixties and then later in life suffered severe bouts of mental illness. She was from Manhatten and grew up as a family act. After several years of singing lessons and starts and stops, The Ronettes became managed and produced by Phil Spector. During the Spector years (1963 – 1966) The Ronettes achieved their greatest level of fame singing songs such as “Be My Baby” and “Baby I Love You.” If you ever wondered about Amy Winehouse and her style, you can see she patterned herself after The Ronettes, especially the bee-hive hair.

To me, The Ronettes epitomized the male fantasy of the virginal but street-wise girl who just wanted to be loved by her man. It was a dream-bake for sure but the audiences fell under their spell. For Estelle she was able to live the star life. From what I have read Estelle loved being a Ronette. This was her life. She was young and beautiful and even had a romance with George Harrison when The Ronettes toured with The Beatles. What a life for a young woman! But Phil Spector, who had a romance with Ronnie (they were later married) held a tight rein over the girls careers and in several instances refused to release singles they had recorded because of his insecurities and jealousies over their success. Poor Estelle was caught up in the troubles and eventually The Ronettes career ended. It has been reported that she was devastated as she wanted the group to continue together.

As she fell into obscurity it appears she began having mental problems (schizophrenia) and at one point became homeless. It is a sad story to be sure and a long fall from fame. Finally, The Ronettes were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (an honor apparently denied them for years due to Phil Spectors opposition). Estelle appeared but did not sing. She did make this brief statement:

“I would just like to say, thank you very much for giving us this award. I'm Estelle of the Ronettes, thank you."

It’s almost heartbreaking to read her remark. She just wanted everyone to know she was Estelle. It was a “do you remember me” moment and full of sadness. For some reason this woman’s story has touched my heart and it makes me want to take her hand and tell her how loved she is for who she was and for what happened to her. I was saddened to find that she passed away a few years ago. It was as if I discovered an oyster that held a pearl but the pearl was gone. The life had been lived and it ended in anonymity and tragedy for a young woman who once was a face of love and dreams for young men all over the world.

Estelle

I know I love you
Although we never met
You were a star
That time would soon forget
A beautiful heart
That wanted only love
You received fame
The kind we dream of
But then it ended
For our beautiful baby
The boys looked at you
Now they think you’re crazy
They found another lover
To dream of each day
But you still lived
Alone, far far away
You told us you loved us
And just wanted to be in our arms
But in the end
Only the streets knew your charms
And now you’re gone
And there is nothing I can do
I wish we had been lovers
So that I could tell you
How wonderful you are
And how much I care
Maybe someday we’ll meet
If God will only answer this prayer


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Comments 11 comments

Teylina profile image

Teylina 4 years ago

I remember the songs and her name. I don't remember why her name stands out--maybe because she was involved w/GeorgeH for a while. Exotic is the word, and it saddens me to learn of the things you included of which I was unaware. I had no idea she suffered so much later on. A Beautiful Tribute, and it's never, ever silly to offer tribute to someone who deserves it for whatever reason--beauty, talent, etc. This is one of those 'what if's' of life--hers, at least. She must have thought those words a million times. Thanks for the research and the hub! Up, interesting and beautiful--she was, and you showed us how.


The Suburban Poet profile image

The Suburban Poet 4 years ago from Austin, Texas Author

Hi Teylina. I'm really glad you commented on this one. I just really kind of fell into "interest" over Estelle recently. I spend time listening to early 60's music while I write and The Ronettes are featured fairly. So I went to Google and it just kind of went from there. It's amazing how a person can have such highs and lows in their life.


Teylina profile image

Teylina 4 years ago

Now THAT I could write about! But I did remember Estelle, and I thought the word "exotic' was perfect. Glad you wrote this. I, too, hear them, but forget. Same w/many others. Maybe I'll take your lead and look up some answers myself.


The Suburban Poet profile image

The Suburban Poet 4 years ago from Austin, Texas Author

Maybe you should write a poem about your highs and lows or maybe you already have. Let me know if you have or do so I can read it...


Teylina profile image

Teylina 4 years ago

So many notes; so many starts and stops; so many "good grief, I can't say that!" But your writings have jolted my senses so much, I can honestly say I have literally "re-felt" if there is such a word pain, frustration and the awesome beauty of being at the right times with the right people--you've given a lot of courage as well as good reading; maybe I'll attempt it. I've been told I need to make this a banner year! Thanks for the encouragememt. Still glad you wrote this hub on Estelle!


The Suburban Poet profile image

The Suburban Poet 4 years ago from Austin, Texas Author

Well I think you should cast caution to the wind and tell us everything; not because we want to know your secrets but because that is the way to set your writing on fire. Intensity and honesty are the driving forces in my view. My writer friend told me once that to be a good writer you have to "kill your parents" meaning you can't worry about what they or anyone else thinks about your feelings. You can say that.... that is what matters... you can...


Teylina profile image

Teylina 4 years ago

I've heard that line, too, and I must admit I laughed this summer when my mother died, and my son put his arm around me and said, "look at it this way, now you can write anything you want in that damn book!"


The Suburban Poet profile image

The Suburban Poet 4 years ago from Austin, Texas Author

So go for it!


Teylina profile image

Teylina 4 years ago

Great advice! Ooooooooooooooooooh!


Joanie 4 years ago

Well - that goes both ways. We parents hold back a lot too so we don't "kill our kids".


The Suburban Poet profile image

The Suburban Poet 4 years ago from Austin, Texas Author

Ha ha MOM! Go for it!

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