#478: (The Best Part of) Breakin’ Up by The Ronettes
Veronica Yvette Bennett was born in Spanish Harlem in 1943, on the island of Manhattan. In the fall of 1955, at the age of 12 she began to sing with her sister Estelle Bennett, then 14. An older sister, Estelle was born in East Harlem in 1941. Veronica and Estelle sang in a trio with their cousin Nedra Talley, who was born in 1946, making her the youngest of the trio, at age nine. In 1957 Veronica, who had shortened her name to Ronnie, formed a group. It consisted of Ronnie, her sister Estelle, and their cousins Nedra, Diane, and Elaine. The five girls learned how to perfect their harmonies first at their grandmother’s house, and they became proficient in songs such as the Spaniels’ “Goodnight Sweetheart”. They wanted to have a Frankie Lymon sound-alike, so they coaxed their cousin, Ira, to join the group. They entered a Wednesday night amateur show at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem. Their appearance was a disaster and Ira, Diane and Elaine quit the group the next day. The original trio renamed themselves Ronnie and the Relatives. In August 1961 they released a single with Colpix Records on the May label titled “I Want A Boy”. They followed with another release in January 1962 titled “I’m Gonna Quit While I’m Ahead”.