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Nothing Could Ever Silence Ronnie Spector, Least of All Phil Spector

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Here’s to Ronnie Spector, the loudest noise of the 20th century, the queen of the New York dolls, the ultimate rock & roll goddess. She belted her way into history with the Ronettes’ 1963 hit “Be My Baby,” flexing the bombastic power of her raw young voice, all brash passion and streetwise bravado. She made a bold promise in the first verse of her first hit: “We’ll make them turn their heads, every place we go.” She lived up to that promise her whole life. Ronnie Spector was the Spanish Harlem incident who blasted into the world and fucked it up forever. Her voice lives in the soul of anyone who’s heard it, which is why we’re grieving the news of her death at 78.

“Be My Baby” was the hit that took three teenage girls from the streets of Spanish Harlem and made them legends, all glam mascara and fire-hazard beehive hairdos and the unquenchable craving in Ronnie’s voice. That song can still transform anyone who hears it, just as it always transformed her. As she said a couple of years ago, “It just does something to my whole body.” Her hair was taller and meaner and scarier than all four Shangri-La’s combined, plus the drummer from the Honeycombs. When Madonna first blew up in 1985, she proclaimed, “I like to look the way Ronnie Spector sounded: sexy, hungry, totally trashy.”

In 2016, Rolling Stone’s David Browne asked if she had a bucket list. She said, “I’ve outgrown that. Now it’s a ‘fuck it’ list.” But Ronnie always had that “fuck it” snarl in her voice, even as an ingenue. Even in a non-hit like “You Came, You Saw, You Conquered,” you can hear that “fuck it,” all street-punk aggro wrapped up in teen romance. Has any singer sounded so tough?

She needed every bit of that toughness. When she married her producer Phil Spector, she thought her dreams were coming true. As she wrote in her excellent 1990 memoir, Be My Baby, “He was the only guy I ever met who could talk me into an orgasm.” But he held her prisoner in their mansion, behind guards and barbed wire. She finally left in 1974, her career in ruins, but fought her way to the musical redemption she deserved.

So many artists have built their legends around worshipping Ronnie Spector — or just trying to live up to her spirit. The first one, obviously, was Phil Spector, who made his best records for the Ronettes. The Beatles and the Rolling Stones basically invaded America just as an excuse to meet Ronnie. The New York Dolls invented punk by trying to imitate her. Then there’s Bruce Springsteen and David Bowie. (Should we mention Eddie Money? Of course we should.)

Elton John’s glam anthem “Bennie and the Jets” is his fan letter to her, or at least that’s how I’ve always heard it. The girls in the song are Candy and Ronnie and Bennie, an in-joke since Bennett was her birth name. Bob Seger told Rolling Stone’s Andy Greene that “Be My Baby” was the song that inspired “Night Moves” — the song he sings alone in the dark, when he’s “hummin’ a song from 1962.” (It came out in 1963, but never argue with Bob Seger.)

Brian Wilson once told me how Ronnie’s voice changed his life, in a 1999 phone interview. I asked him where “Good Vibrations” came from. He said, “God. And Phil Spector. God, Phil Spector, and the Beach Boys all combined.” It was mid-afternoon, so naturally Brian was watching The People’s Court, but when he started talking about “Be My Baby,” he actually muted the TV. The first time he heard that song in the car, he pulled over to cry. With “Good Vibrations,” he was just trying to echo her. “It was like hearing ‘Be My Baby’ for the first time,” he told me. “I knew God was with us when we were doing it. It’s no ‘Be My Baby,’ but it’s a good record.”

She grew up in Harlem, surrounded by a huge biracial family, but with her African American and Cherokee heritage, she always felt like an outsider. She formed a group with her sister and cousin to sing at sock hops and bar mitzvahs. But it all changed when she met Phil Spector, who threw all his genius into “Be My Baby.” She rehearsed her vocals in the ladies’ room at LaGuardia Airport, then flew across the country to sing it for Phil, hoping to sound “like a girl Elvis.” She defined rock with “Be My Baby”; she defined roll with “Walking in the Rain,” the wistful ballad where she yearns for her dream boy. Phil put an actual thunderstorm on the record. I still can’t decide which Ronettes hit I love more, after a lifetime of listening.

But her marriage became a nightmare, as her husband refused to let her out of the house. He kept making her watch Citizen Kane over and over. (The first time she ever dared to say the word “no” to him came when she refused to see Kane anymore.) He buried the Ronettes’ career, not letting her near the stage or the studio, and didn’t even release some of her finest work, like the heartbreaking 1966 ballad “I Wish I Never Saw the Sunshine.”

“Be My Baby” whisked her to the big time, and then to the lowest lows of adult heartbreak. By the Eighties, when she got dropped by her record company and couldn’t get a gig, she figured she’d bombed out of the Ronnie Spector business. Then one night, she got a phone call in her kitchen, some guy named Eddie Money, asking, “What are you doing these days?” She said, “The dishes. When can we get started?”

Eddie was a meat-and-potatoes rocker who wanted her to sing on his new single, “Take Me Home Tonight,” which goes on to become one of the immortal hits of the Eighties. It sounded bizarre on the radio at the time and still does — there’s no attempt to explain who Ronnie is. Eddie says, “Just like Ronnie sang,” and that’s when Ronnie steps in to utter those four magic words: “Be my little baby.” That’s all it takes. In this song, we hear the most ordinary guy (“Eddie Mahoney” to his mom) get touched by a goddess, as her voice transforms him from a clod into a star. “Take Me Home Tonight” has never left the radio, like “Be My Baby” itself.

Ronnie Spector’s voice is everywhere, and it is everything. It’s in the way the Jesus and Mary Chain began their classic debut Psychocandy with the “Be My Baby” drum intro. (They called it “Just Like Honey.”) The L.A. hair-metal band Poison began their debut album with the same beat, as if Sunset Strip glam metal and Scottish feedback are just two different ways to channel Ronnie Spector. Martin Scorsese used “Be My Baby” to kick off his first big movie, Mean Streets, the all-time coolest rock & roll movie moment. It’s the same beat that begins Dirty Dancing and ends Lost in Translation. Hal Blaine is on the drums, but Ronnie drives it home: Wherever you hear that beat, you’re hearing her.

Her fanboy Joey Ramone produced the beautiful She Talks to Rainbows, the 1999 musical comeback she’d spent decades aiming for. When she sang Johnny Thunders’ “You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory,” she made it hers. After that, she was never off her game again. Her excellent 2016 English Heart was a set of British Invasion tunes, with one of the all-time great Rolling Stones covers, the gender-flipped “I’d Much Rather Be With the Girls.” It was fitting because Mick Jagger did plenty of Ronnie imitations in his early days — just listen to him Ronnie it up in the Stones’ first U.S. hit, “Tell Me.”

The Beatles always idolized her. When they arrived in the U.S. in 1964, John Lennon spent his first night in New York in his hotel room, calling up radio DJs and asking them to play the Ronettes. She took the Fabs up to Harlem for barbecue ribs; as she said, “Nobody bothered them because they thought they were just some Spanish dorks.” When she and her sister double-dated John and George, John whispered, “Ronnie, sing a bit of ‘Be My Baby’ in my ear.’” “It Won’t Be Long” is merely their most explicit Ronettes tribute.

George later wrote a 1970 comeback single for her, “Try Some Buy Some,” with the B side “Tandoori Chicken.” She told him, “I don’t understand a word of it.” He said, “That’s OK. I don’t either.” But the single flopped. As she fumed in her book, “My husband produced ‘My Sweet Lord’ for George Harrison and ‘Instant Karma’ for John Lennon, but when it came time to record me, what did he pick? A song about Indian chicken.”

The Ronettes finally made it into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2007, so Ronnie had a celebration party in NYC. By 2 a.m., she hadn’t shown up, as people started grabbing their coats to slip out. I was there with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the NYC punks who perfected her glam-trash punk aesthetic, and we weren’t leaving — if you think there’s a chance Ronnie Spector might walk into a room, would you leave? By 4, the stragglers were pretty much down to me and the band, but that’s when Ronnie showed up, just to own the room for a few minutes and then breeze on, not a bit surprised to see people dazed at her presence.

She kept making her music to the end, with her manager and husband of 38 years, Jonathan Greenfield. She lived in suburban Connecticut, a few minutes away from her old friend Keith Richards — they loved to hang at his piano and sing together. She was grateful she’d lived long enough to see the #MeToo era. As she told The Guardian’s Jenn Pelly, “When I was making my hit records, my ex was always ‘the genius’ and you felt like: ‘Well, who am I?’ You felt that small. I’m so glad I’m still on this Earth to see women going out there and saying: ‘You can be fabulous like me, you can do anything.’” Her voice still has the power to make anyone feel that power. Rest in “Be My Baby,” Ronnie Spector.

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How Emma Stone Reacted After Andrew Garfield Lied About His Spider-Man Return

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Andrew Garfield Says Emma Stone Is the “Greatest”

Andrew Garfield had Emma Stone‘s Spidey senses tingling.

The Amazing Spider-Man actor recently revealed that he lied to his former co-star about his appearance in Spider-Man: No Way Home.

As fans may know by now, Garfield and Spider-Man alum Tobey Maguire teamed up with current Peter Parker Tom Holland in the 2021 film. However, leading up to the movie’s release, the stars were very tight-lipped about their surprise cameos. In fact, Garfield wouldn’t even tell Stone, who played Gwen Stacy in the Amazing Spider-Man films. 

“Emma kept on texting me,” Garfield, who dated Stone for four years, recalled on Josh Horowitz‘s Happy Sad Confused podcast. “She was like, ‘Are you in this new Spider-Man film?’ And I was like, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about.'”

“She was like, ‘Shut up, just tell me!'” Garfield continued, laughing as he told Horowitz he kept up the bit until the film’s release.

So, when the movie came out in December, how did Stone react to Garfield’s lie? As he told Horowitz, “She saw it and she was like, ‘You’re a jerk.'”

Though they’ve both moved on romantically, it seem as though Stone, 33, and Garfield, 38, are still friends following their breakup in 2015.

At the time, a source told E! News, “There is definitely still love for each other there. They remain close and are on good terms.”

Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for Sony

And that sentiment has continued over the years. In a 2016 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Garfield named Stone as the one actor or actress he’d have with him on a desert island. “She’s all right,” he told the outlet. “She can come.”

— Josh Horowitz (@joshuahorowitz) January 17, 2022

That same year, in an interview with Vogue, Stone described Garfield as, “Someone I still love very much.”

And in late 2021, the Tick, Tick… Boom! actor couldn’t help but gush to Variety about his time on the set of The Amazing Spider-Man films, calling the experience “beautiful.”

Spider-Man: No Way Home is in theaters now.

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Ulta Skincare Deals Starting at $11: Save 50% Mario Badescu and Peach & Lily Today Only

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ECOMM, Ulta Love Your Skin Event Day 16

We independently selected these deals and products because we love them, and we think you might like them at these prices. E! has affiliate relationships, so we may get a commission if you purchase something through our links. Items are sold by the retailer, not E!. Prices are accurate as of publish time.

If one of your 2022 goals is to take better care of your skin, this is the perfect time to switch up your skincare routine and actually stick to it thanks to Ulta. Ulta’s Love Your Skin Event is here, which means you can save 50% on highly effective, top-selling skincare products. Every day of the sale has different deals for you to shop, so if something strikes your interest, add it to your cart ASAP. 

You can get amazing products for 50% off, but there’s just one problem: these deals only last for 24 hours. If you see a product you’ve been dying to try or if you just want to stock up on your favorites, this is the best time to shop.

Today, you can get major deals (starting at $11) on products from Mario Badescu and Peach & Lily.

Mario Badescu Grab and Go Travel Set- 2 Items

Get clear, glowing skin with these must-have products from Mario Badescu. This set includes the iconic Drying Lotion, which is just what you need to clear up surface blemishes. Just dip a cotton swab into the bottle and dab directly onto your pimple. Bring this facial spray everywhere you go. It’s a multi-tasking item that boosts hydrates, sets makeup, and refreshes your skin. Another great reason to nab this on-the-go set is that it’s TSA-approved for travel.

Recently, Vanderpump Rules stars Tom Schwartz and Tom Sandoval recommended this spray. Their co-star Lala Kent told E! that she keeps this in her bag

An Ulta shopper said, “The drying lotion is the very best spot treatment for blemishes! It absolutely does magic overnight to make things disappear. Highly recommend!” A fan of the set shared, “I use this combo to combat my maskne from wearing a mask 40hrs per week at work. I spray my face with the toner periodically to freshen up from wearing my mask all day. The spot treatment is great at clearing the breakouts fast!”

Peach & Lily Glass Skin Water Gel Moisturizer

This is what you need to hydrate the skin and create a long-lasting, radiant glow. Bottom line: if you want the healthiest skin of your life, add this moisturizer to your routine.

Ulta shoppers love this one that many of them wrote paragraphs praising the moisturizer as a skin-saving, “holy grail” product. One declared, “I will never give this moisturizer up! I’ve been using it year round and it has taken my skin to the next delicious level. Don’t miss out on the goodness!”

Peach & Lily Super Reboot Resurfacing Mask

This miraculous mask instantly exfoliates, resurfaces, and re-texturizes your skin. This pro-level, wash-off mask unclogs pores in addition to addressing rough patches, bumps, and wrinkles. Add this into your routine and you will have a brighter, smoother complexion.

Many Ulta shoppers called this a “holy grail” product, praising this as “the best and most powerful mask with NO REDNESS.”

Another customer said, “I never leave comments but this is long overdue. I’m on my third jar and I will keep repurchasing. I would use once a week to prevent my skin to looking dull. Put it on at nightly and you’ll wake up glowing. This is the closest thing to a magic. Sunset and hyperpigmentation diminished in just one use. I have acne prone sensitive oily skin and this doesn’t make me break out. Just buy it, you won’t regret it!”

If you want the softest, clearest skin of your life, check out this miraculous face mask.

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Pete Davidson Reportedly Beefs Up Security Following Kanye’s “Eazy” Diss

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Kanye is in the news pretty much every day now due to his seemingly turbulent relationship with his soon to be ex-wife Kim Kardashian. Ye recently took shots at Kims new boyfriend, Pete Davidson, on his latest track with the game “Eazy.”

In the song, Kanye raps: “God saved me from that crash/Just so I could beat Pete Davidson’s ass.”

Julia Fox participated in “EAZY” it is in particular her that we hear saying “WHO?” after Kanye said “God saved me from the accident, just so I could beat Pete Davidson’s ass” ✅ pic.twitter.com/hK8YW4A6ul

— Donda Times (@dondatimes) January 15, 2022

It seems as if Pete Davidson isn’t taking Ye’s bars lightly. Apparently he has hired more security just in case Kanye wants to make good on his promise.

Actually, according to Rap Radar, friends of Pete Davidson said he’s not worried about Kanye, he’s worried about Kanye fans, and thats why he’s beefed up his security.

“Pete isn’t worried about Kanye, but he is concerned about the massive fanbase that Kanye has. His devoted followers listen to his songs and act upon them. That’s why Pete is now using security,” sources told Rap Radar.

Sources added that “Until recently Pete never had security with him when he was out and about, even when he was engaged to Ariana Grande. But dating Kim (Kardashian) is a totally different level of fame. Pete is now a superstar, which comes with a price. As much as he still wants to be low-key and hang with his friends, the reality of his situation has changed.”

“Pete isn’t taking any chances. Whenever he is out with Kim, they use her security. But now Pete needs his own security when he is out alone,” one of Pete’s friends said. “He is still Pete, but now Pete comes with a 6’1, 220 lbs security guard.”

Let’s just hope Ye keeps it on wax.

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