ClassicRockHistory.com presents the top 10 Ronnie Spector Songs in an article examining Ronnie Spector’s solo career. This article does not include the material she recorded when she was in the Ronettes. That legendary group just recorded too much great material to include on this Ronnie Spector solo songs list. We got to those songs in a separate Ronettes article. Ronnie Spector has had a fascinating solo career. Her work with the Ronettes had a profound impact on music. It was so profound and unique that many artists she worked with during her solo career would often hire her to duplicate that sound.
Many of the songs she recorded in the 70s and 80s and beyond were fueled by artists imitating that famous Phil Spector drum beat and that legendary wall of sound. However, the one artist with whom Ronnie Spector seemed to finally move forward musically was Joey Ramone. The work that Ronnie Spector and Joey Ramone did together stands as some of the highlights of her solo career. Of course, the early George Harrison songs she recorded pushed forward in a different direction, but that was a shelved project.
During her solo career, Ronnie Spector has released four full-length solo albums as of this writing in 2020. Her first solo album, entitled Siren, was released in 1980. After laying low for a few years, Ronnie Spector experienced a huge career resurgence when she sang a duet with Eddie Money entitled “Take Me Home Tonight.” The song became a huge hit, which led to Ronnie Spector releasing a new studio album in 1987 on Columbia Records entitled Unfinished Business.
It would be almost another twenty years before Ronnie Spector released another studio album. In 2006, she released the album entitled The Last of The Rock Stars. Ten more years would pass before Ronnie Spector released another studio album. In 2016, Ronnie Spector released the album English Heart, an album of cover songs.
During her solo years, Ronnie Spector’s musical output has also included a handful of great singles released mainly in the 1970s, a few EPs, and dozens of collaborations with other artists. While her work with the Ronettes has been vastly influential, her voice stands as one of the most iconic voices in music history. No one sounds like Ronnie Spector. Who would not want to work with such a legendary musical artist?
Choosing just ten songs on this Ronnie Spector songs list was tough. We had to decide between the solo songs and her collaborations, which were pretty significant. Ultimately, we combined it up and presented a broad picture of her solo work. It’s a fascinating one that pushes readers to dig deep into Ronnie Spector’s work. It’s so worth it.
# 10 – Try Some, Buy Some
We open our Top 10 Ronnie Spector songs list with this fantastic recording called “Try Some, By Some.” This one could have easily been number one on this list. We opened with it for multiple reasons. One was because it’s the first single Ronnie Spector released as a solo artist. Number two is because it’s so great we wanted to strike you right at the start. “Try Some, By Some” was written by George Harrison.
It was meant to be included on a Ronnie Spector solo album produced by her husband, Phil Spector. However, personal issues with Phil Spector got in the way, and the album was scrapped. The song was challenging to find for a long time until it was released on the great twenty-one song Apple Records compilation entitled Come and Get It: The Best of Apple Records in 2010 (We highly recommend that CD)
# 9 -Take Me Home Tonight
Continuing with our Top 10 Ronnie Spector songs is another essential song defining Ronnie Spector’s solo career. Even though Eddie Money sings the lead vocals on the track, Ronnie Spector’s mesmerizing vocals on the song’s chorus elevated this one to a number ten record and renewed interest in Ronnie Spector’s career.
# 8 – Dynamite
The great up-tempo tune “Dynamite” was released on Ronnie Spector’s first official solo album, Siren. The album was released in 1980. There’s a bit of a pure rock roll 1950s groove to the song, featuring the standard one, four, five blues chord changes.
# 7 – Love on a Rooftop
The song “Love On A Rooftop” was released on Ronnie Spector’s second solo album, Unfinished Business. Ronnie Spector received the 80s all-star writing treatment for this one as 80s songwriters Desmond Child and Diane Warren, who seem to write every big-time hit in the 1980s, penned this one for Ronnie.
# 6 -You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory
While this song may open with the riff to Tom Petty’s “Free Falling,” the melody is as far away from that song as could possibly be. This great minor key song entitled You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory” was released on the sensational She Talks To Rainbows EP that Joey Ramone produced
# 5 – You Mean So Much To Me
As we enter the second half of our top 10 Ronnie Spector songs list, we turn to a band inspired by the sound of the Ronettes, classic 1960s R&B, and rock and roll. The great voice of Southside Johnny and his fantastic band The Jukes, fueled by Steven Van Zandt’s production and Bruce Springsteen’s pen, recorded a fabulous duet with Ronnie Spector in 1976. The song “You Mean So Much To Me” was written by Bruce Springsteen and appeared on the debut album by Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes entitled I Don’t Want To Go Home. This one is killer.
# 4 – You’d Be Good For Me
Ronnie Spector delivers a big-sounding Philly-style song with this tremendous single release entitled “You’d Be Good For Me.” The song was released in 1975 on TomCat Records. The song’s opening groove catches your attention right away as the strings and horns wrap around the soulfulness of this song, leading the way for those Ronnie Spector vocal lines.
# 3 – She Talks To Rainbows
“She Talks to Rainbows” was the title track to a fabulous EP Ronnie Spector recorded in 1999 entitled She Talks to Rainbows. Joey Ramone and Daniel Rey produced the album. The song “She Talks to Rainbows” was written by Joey Ramone. The song starts with a basic guitar riff and then turns to instant magic the second Ronnie Spector’s voice appears. In that simplicity at the song’s opening, we hear the beauty of Ronnie Spector’s voice unmasked without any giant wall of sound stealing her resonance. It’s a perfect moment as the song continues to get better.
# 2 – Say Goodbye To Hollywood
Billy Joel’s “Say Goodbye To Hollywood” was originally released on Billy Joel’s 1974 album Turnstiles. In interviews, Billy Joel said he wrote the song as a tribute to The Ronettes and the Phil Spector Wall of Sound. It’s evident immediately in the uses of that iconic “Be My Baby” drumbeat. So, it makes sense that Ronnie Spector would cover the song and feel at home with it. Ronnie Spector’s great version was recorded with Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band.
# 1 – Here Today, Gone Tomorrow
We close out our top 10 Ronnie Spector songs list with the excellent recording “Here Today, Gone Tomorrow,” released in 1980. New wave music at the turn of the decade in the 1970s was a reworking of a particular style of 60s rock and roll. This is a perfect example of that. Ronnie Spector kills it on this great Ramones song. The song was released on Ronnie Spector’s first solo album entitled Siren. Ronnie Spector singing Ramones songs defined the story of rock and roll from the 1960s through the 1970s. Two brilliant artists who inspired each other come together to produce something extraordinary………..