Say goodbye to Ronnie: Billy Joel pays tribute to iconic Ronettes singer who cut his song

Ronnie Spector in 1977, while promoting her single “Say Goodbye to Hollywood”; Tom Sheehan/Sony Music Archive via Getty Images

Billy Joel‘s 1976 song “Say Goodbye to Hollywood” was directly inspired by The Ronettes‘ “Be My Baby,” so it’s no wonder he’s paid tribute to the group’s iconic frontwoman Ronnie Spector, who died yesterday at the age of 78 after a brief battle with cancer.

“The great Ronnie Spector has died,” Billy wrote on his website. “So many faces in and out of my life…We mourn her passing.”

“So many faces in and out of my life” is a lyric from “Say Goodbye to Hollywood,” but in addition to being fitting words, there’s another reason why Billy quoted it: In 1977, Ronnie, backed by Bruce Springsteen‘s E Street Band, recorded “Say Goodbye to Hollywood” herself.

Spector’s passing was also mourned by rock legends like Rolling Stone Keith Richards and The Beach Boys Brian Wilson, as well as the E Street Band’s Little Steven Van Zandt and a number of famous female artists, including:

Cyndi Lauper, who tweeted a photo of herself with Spector and a broken heart emoji

Joan Jett: “Our dear friend Ronnie Spector, has passed. She was the sweetest person you could ever know. And her mark on rock and roll is indelible.”

The BanglesSusanna Hoffs: “Peace and Love, Ronnie Spector.”

Darlene Love: “I’m in total shock! Did not see this one coming. Please give me time to process my thoughts to give Ronnie the proper tribute she deserves. She and I shared so much together.”

Go-Go’s bassist Kathy Valentine: “this totally blows. f*** cancer. RIP the legend Ronnie Spector. Thank you for the music, for being so freaking cool.”

Carole King: “Rest In Peace #RonnieSpector”

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