Ronettes Win Royalties Battle Against Producer Phil Spector

Judge reportedly orders $2.6 million payment from '60s hits' earnings

Legendary producer Phil Spector must pay $2.6 million in back royalties and interest to the former members of the Ronettes, including lead singer Ronnie Spector, a Manhattan Supreme Court judge ruled Friday, according to wire service reports.

"I worked very, very hard making those records in the '60s. I just didn't know I'd have to wait 37 years to get paid for my efforts," Ronnie Spector said in a statement quoted by Reuters.

The Ronettes, who recorded such classics as "Be My Baby" and "Walking in the Rain," had sued Spector for $11 million, alleging that they had not received any payment for their work since the '60s.

Judge Paula Omansky reportedly ruled that Phil Spector — Ronnie Spector's former husband — used the Ronettes' music in ways not authorized by his contract with the group, including licensing it for use on television, in movies and on compilation albums.

But Omansky reportedly denied the group ownership of their master recordings, which they had demanded in their lawsuit against the producer, who is known for his influential, multilayered "wall of sound" method of recording.

The Ronettes also included Ronnie Spector's cousin Nedra Talley and her sister, Estelle Bennett.

Ronnie Spector divorced Phil Spector in 1974. Her last release was the EP She Talks to Rainbows (1999), produced by Joey Ramone.

The EP includes a cover of punk icon Johnny Thunder's "You Can't Put Your Arms Around a Memory" (RealAudio excerpt).