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Spector Of Light, Spector Of Evil

January 19, 2021

Phil Spector is a name that most of us in the music business know very well. However, most of us also have mixed emotions about the man. He passed away in prison on January 17, 2021 of Covid related causes.

Phillip Harvey Spector (born Harvey Phillip Spector, December 26, 1939) was an American record producer, musician, and songwriter who developed the Wall of Sound, a music production formula he described as a Wagnerian approach to rock and roll. Spector was dubbed the “First Tycoon of Teen” by writer Tom Wolfe and is acknowledged as one of the most influential figures in pop music history. After the 1970s, Spector mostly retired from public life. In 2009, he was convicted of second-degree murder and remained incarcerated until his death.

In 1960, he co-founded Philles Records, and at the age of 21, became the youngest ever US label owner to that point. Over the next several years, he wrote, co-wrote, or produced records for acts such as the Ronettes and the Crystals, and later, John Lennon and George Harrison of the Beatles. In all of his musical endeavors, Phil Spector was considered a genius and ahead of his time in terms of production and arrangement. He often employed what would become known as “the Wrecking Crew” as his de facto house band while collaborating with arranger Jack Nitzsche, engineer Larry Levine, and various Brill Building songwriters. Spector’s other chart-topping singles include “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” (co-written and produced for the Righteous Brothers, 1964), “The Long and Winding Road” (produced for the Beatles, 1970), and “My Sweet Lord” (produced for Harrison, 1970).

In my own time as a songwriter and producer, I met Phil Spector on several occasions. While he was certainly a genius, there was always something very creepy about the man. I instinctively kept my distance.

His production genius is perhaps best displayed on the 1962 Crystals’ hit, “He’s Sure The Boy I Love.” Give it a listen; I think you’ll agree that this track is superb in its arrangement and production values. Listen especially carefully for those famous background tracks.

In 2003, actress Lana Clarkson was found dead from a bullet wound in Spector’s home. He maintained to authorities and the media that she had accidentally shot herself. From 2007 to 2009, he was the subject of two trials, the second of which ended in a guilty verdict. He was serving a prison sentence of 19 years to life and would have been eligible for parole in 2025. In the end it is very sad that Phil Spector was at once both the “Spector of light” and the “Spector of evil.”

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3 Comments
  1. Loved his sound but not the person behind it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. He was ugly looking outside as he was inside ,made a lot of people probably ruined a lot of people male and female ,children animals why stop there . hope you’re feeling better Allen. 💖😸💃

    Liked by 1 person

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