Skip to main content

Few people will know that Jimi Hendrix was close friends with The Ronettes’ Ronnie Spector. Hendrix was only around in the music scene for a few short years before his untimely death. Yet, he made a lasting impact and some memorable friendships with a lot of his rock ‘n’ roll peers.

Spector, who died on Jan. 12, never forgot her friendship with Hendrix. He said her voice sounded like a guitar. As the only person to tell her such a thing, Hendrix gave Spector the confidence she needed.

Jimi Hendrix wearing psychedelic clothes in 1967 and Ronnie Spector posing in suspenders, jeans, and boots in 1977.
Jimi Hendrix and Ronnie Spector | Avalon/Tom Sheehan/Getty Images

Jimi Hendrix told Ronnie Spector that her voice sounded like a guitar

During a 2016 interview with Rolling Stone, Spector recalled some of her fondest memories of Hendrix, including one time when Hendrix said her voice sounded like a guitar.

“He used to play in a small place downtown in the house band,” Spector said. “I’d get up and sing – anything he would do on his guitar, I would repeat with my voice. He would say, ‘Boy, your voice sounds like a guitar.'”

Spector probably never forgot that moment because Hendrix was one of the first people to tell Spector that her voice was great. “I didn’t know my voice was supposedly that great because people didn’t tell you back then how great you were,” she continued. “Then it was, ‘Go to the ladies’ room. Re-do your eye makeup, or something.'”

When The Ronettes recorded their hit “Be My Baby,” Spector said no one wanted her to know how good she was on the track. “I don’t think anybody wanted me to know how good I was, other than Jack Nitzsche,” Spector said.

Still, Hendrix saw Spector’s talent and maybe something more. Unfortunately for Spector, though, she couldn’t enter into a romantic relationship with the guitar player because she was already married to her producer, Phil Spector. That didn’t stop Hendrix from trying to get Spector alone.

Hendrix once made an attempt to be alone with Spector

If Spector hadn’t married her producer, her long line of suitors would have been knocking down her door. Hendrix was one of them (so was John Lennon, who flirted with Spector at a party, and David Bowie), and he didn’t seem to care about her marital status. He tried hard to be alone with her.

“One time, my sister called me up when I’d come back to New York, visiting my parents. She said, ‘Jimi is dying to see you again.’ So I went over to Jimi’s house at Electric Lady, and he has a mattress on the floor, and about four girls hanging around the bed,” Spector explained to Rolling Stone.

“My sister was sitting in a chair, and he was like, ‘Ronnie, you’ve got to go on my record. Even if you just say ‘ooh’ or ‘ahh,’ you know, your little ‘oh-ohs.” So I did that. They had shipped my Camaro to New York, so Jimi and all of us, the girls, got in after recording and we were all crowded in there, and I dropped Jimi off and said, ‘OK, good night!’

“The next morning, somebody’s ringin’ my bell. I look through the peephole and I say, ‘Oh, it’s Jimi!’ [Laughs] I open the door and he had one hand on his hip and said, ‘Hi Ronnie. I left my tapes in your car.’ He left that tape on purpose. I thought it was the sweetest thing. Because he wanted to see me alone. Yet I was married at the time, so… I couldn’t see him too much [laughs].”

Looking back, Spector probably wished she hadn’t married Phil. Not only because he made her a prisoner in her own home, but because she could have had some fun times with Hendrix and whoever else.


How Much Money Did Jimi Hendrix Make From Playing Woodstock?

Spector was literally a prisoner during her marriage to Phil Spector

Once the Spectors married, Phil became jealous of his wife. He turned their home into a literal high-security prison and forbade Spector to leave the house.

“My ex took singing away from me and it was devastating because I had no idea that I would never record,” Spector told Rolling Stone. “I had no idea I would never perform again, which was my life. I was in shock with that because here’s a person who wrote your records and produced them… And then, you’re never gonna sing again.”

Spector managed to escape and divorced Phil in 1974. Later, Phil was convicted of murder. “I never knew ‘What goes around, comes around,’ until he went to prison,” she continued. “Then I knew what it meant. Because I was in prison in the mansion and I couldn’t even get out.

“For seven years, I didn’t go anywhere. I never saw a movie. I never did anything in California because everything was brought to me.”

Reflecting on her marriage, Spector was sad that her friends like Hendrix and Bowie died too soon while Phil still lived in prison. “Some people are good people. It’s, like, David Bowie was such a good guy, why did he have to go? And why is my ex still alive? [Laughs] The good people die… like Jimi Hendrix, I knew him really well then all of a sudden he’s gone. Gone. It bothers me that a lot of the rock & roll people that I loved, that I hung out with, are gone.”

Now, Spector, Hendrix, and all of the singer’s friends are back together again, making music again.