‘I Was in Prison. Now He Is’: Ronnie Spector Gets Raw on Phil Spector in Unearthed Audio

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Ronnie Spector - Credit: Michael Putland/Getty Images
Ronnie Spector - Credit: Michael Putland/Getty Images

Ronnie Spector, who died last week at the age of 78, speaks candidly about her abusive ex-husband, Phil Spector, and more in never-before-heard audio on the new episode of Rolling Stone Music Now. Phil Spector, who died in 2021, was in prison for murder when Kory Grow interviewed Ronnie in 2016, and she told Grow she saw it as karmic justice for the years when her ex essentially locked her away in their mansion.

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To hear the entire episode, press play above, or listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

“I couldn’t go out for seven years,” Spector said. “I didn’t go anywhere… What goes around, comes around. I was in prison. Now he is. So that’s how I look at it.” In the interview clips, Spector also gives a vivid account of the making of the Ronettes’ epochal hit “Be My Baby” and more.

The episode also includes an in-depth discussion between Andy Greene, Angie Martoccio, Rob Sheffield, and host Brian Hiatt about Spector’s life, music, influence (from Jersey Shore rock to punk to riot grrrrl to, um, Eddie Money), and legacy — as well as her soon-to-be-reissued autobiography.

“She talks in the book about how she was possessed when she was young with the desire to be seen, to be heard, to be accepted,” Sheffield says. “She talks about how she was a cheerleader at her high school. And she was like, that wasn’t enough for me, to be the most popular girl in school. I needed to be in the most popular girl in the world. And you can hear that lust for power in ‘Be My Baby.’ This is the voice of an ordinary girl from the streets of Spanish Harlem who is absolutely intent on making the whole world hear her and go, what the hell was that? And that’s exactly what she did.”

Download and subscribe to our weekly podcast, Rolling Stone Music Now, hosted by Brian Hiatt, on Apple Podcasts or Spotify (or wherever you get your podcasts), and check out three years’ worth of episodes in the archive, including in-depth, career-spanning interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Halsey, Neil Young, Snoop Dogg, Brandi Carlile, Phoebe Bridgers, Rick Ross, Alicia Keys, the National, Ice Cube, Robert Plant, Dua Lipa, Questlove, Killer Mike, Julian Casablancas, Sheryl Crow, Johnny Marr, Scott Weiland, Liam Gallagher, Alice Cooper, Fleetwood Mac, Elvis Costello, John Legend, Donald Fagen, Phil Collins, Justin Townes Earle, Stephen Malkmus, Sebastian Bach, Tom Petty, Eddie Van Halen, Kelly Clarkson, Pete Townshend, Bob Seger, the Zombies, Gary Clark Jr., and many others — plus dozens of episodes featuring genre-spanning discussions, debates, and explainers with Rolling Stone’s critics and reporters. Tune in every Friday at 1 p.m. ET to hear Rolling Stone Music Now broadcast on SiriusXM’s Volume, channel 106.

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