Music | January 17, 2022 6:01 am

Ronnie Spector Played a Massive Role in E Street Band History

A single she recorded with them helped the group tremendously

Ronnie Spector
American Rock singer Ronnie Spector performs onstage at Tuts nightclub, Chicago, Illinois, April 28, 1981.
Paul Natkin/Getty Images

The late Ronnie Spector spent the bulk of her long career making catchy, dynamic music that’s stood the test of time. Look more closely at the record she made and something becomes clear: Spector is someone who was able to bring together seemingly-disparate aspects of the music industry. From her time in the Ronettes to a solo record featuring contributions from Joey Ramone, Spector made great music with a variety of collaborators.

As it turns out, that included the E Street Band. A recent article at explores the crucial role that Spector played in keeping the band intact — something that Stevie Van Zandt wrote about in his recent memoir.

In 1977, Spector recorded a single with the E Street Band, including a cover of Billy Joel’s “Say Goodbye to Hollywood.” This came at a critical time for the band: they were low on money, and Bruce Springsteen was enmeshed in a lawsuit with his original manager that kept the group from recording.

As Van Zandt recalled, the group was paid double scale for the session, which helped get them through a rough financial patch prior to the release of Darkness on the Edge of Town.

Surprising no one, the song itself — which Joel had written as a tribute to the Ronettes — sounds fantastic. The single itself also occupies an interesting place in the band’s history; namely, it’s the first time the E Street Band was credited as such on a record.