Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Music

Phil Spector

Phil Spector was brilliant but also troubled. Very troubled. He will be remembered as one of the greatest producers in rock-and roll history but he will also be remembered as a convicted murderer, who in 2009 was found guilty of the 2003 murder of Hollywood actress Lana Clarkson. Spector died Saturday, January 16, 2021 in prison.

Born Harvey Philip Spector in the Bronx, New York , (His father, under severe stress because of the family’s financial condition, committed suicide in 1949. His mother relocated to Los Angeles in 1953.) the young Spector was always a loner, but excelled in music, studying piano, guitar, drums, bass, and French horn in high school, and began writing songs with classmate Marshall Lieb.

Spector was drawn to the LA music scene and began hanging around the studios.

He officially entered the music business in 1958 as the songwriter, guitarist, backup singer, and producer for the group, The Teddy Bears, with “To Know Him Is To Love Him.” The song and title was about his late father. The grave’s inscription-“To Know Him Was To Love Him.” (The group consisted of Spector, Lieb, and another high school friend, Annette Kleinbard.)

The song became a No. 1 smash and the group appeared on several TV shows, including “Bandstand”, but were unable to follow up with another hit.

And there were also royalty problems with the record company. The Teddy Bears soon disbanded, only to resurface as The Spectors Three, but the “new group” was unsuccessful; the trio broke up for good.

Annette Kleinbard became a successful songwriter.(You may know her better by the name Carol Conners). She co-wrote “The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia” (by Vicki Lawrence in 1973 and then Reba McEntire in 1992), co-wrote “Hey Little Cobra” by The Ripchords and “Gonna Fly Now”, the first Rocky movie theme.

Spector worked for a while with independent producers Lester Sill and Lee Hazelwood who sent Spector back to New York in 1960. In 1961 Spector and Sill formed the New York-based Philles Records, which Spector fully owned by 1962. (“There’s No Other(Like My Baby)” by the Crystals was the first release.)

Spector co-wrote and produced “Spanish Harlem” with Jerry Leiber (of the equally legendary Leiber and Stoller) a Top Ten smash for Ben E. King. He also produced “Only Love Can Break A Heart” and “Every Little Breath I Take” by Gene Pitney, “Pretty Little Angel Eyes”-Curtis Lee, “I Love How You Love Me”-The Paris Sisters, “He’s A Rebel”-The Crystals, and other hits, primarily for them, The Ronettes, Darlene Love, and Bobb B. Soxx and The Blue Jeans.

Spector became renowned for “The Wall Of Sound”, which involved multiple instrumentation, heavy on the orchestration, overdubbing, double drummers or guitar players, and lots of background singers. (Sonny and Cher evolved from this. Sonny Bono was a session man, fledgling producer, and jack-of-all-trades; Cher started by singing background vocals.) Legend has it that Spector’s favorite composer was Richard Wagner. He has often said that his sound is “little symphonies for the kids.

Spector’s reputation as a so called mad genius was mainly down to his often erratic and tempermental behavior (pulling guns in the studio, stealing master tapes, forcing wife Ronnie to drive around with a life size cut out of himself in the car). But it was always overlooked and validated because of the successful results, which in turn, made millions for himself and other executives, writers, and producers (The singers and groups themselves didn’t fare as well financially).

Spector was aware of the British Invasion before it even hit the U.S., becoming friends with The Rolling Stones. But this didn’t help him to maintain his status quo, for the entire current music industry was rocked upside down.

Many bands were writing their own material and on different issues. “Will Johnny still love me and take me to the prom?”-type songs were becoming outdated.

Nevertheless, he went on to produce “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin,” “Unchained Melody”, and “Ebb Tide” by The Righteous Brothers and the classic “River Deep, Mountain High” by Ike and Tina Turner. “River” went to No. 1 in England and many other countries, but bombed in the U.S.

This failure affected Spector, hurting him deeply. He semi-retired and married (Veronica) Ronnie Bennett, the Ronettes’ lead singer.

He re-emerged in the late ’60s and early ’70s doing post-production work on The Beatles’ “Let It Be” album, and producing George Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass” and John Lennon’s “Plastic Ono Band” albums.

From time to time, he produced Cher, The Ramones, Duran Duran, Dion, and Leonard Cohen (Spector allegedly held a loaded gun to Cohen’s head during the recording of his album The Ladies Man).

He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989 and did make an important contribution to the music of the 1960’s but it is his often erratic behavior and murder conviction that is his true epitaph.

Music

Celebrity

Mixing hillbilly and blues, Elvis Presley’s musical contribution was immense. But his truly liberating contribution was in busting the shackles that restrained movement. He...

Celebrity

Celebrity

Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe and Michael Bentine — joined forces in 1949 at a Westminster pub, Grafton’s, run by scriptwriter Jimmy Grafton...

Celebrity

Claim to Fame: With a career that spanned more than five decades, mastering music, film and TV, Sinatra was larger than life. The skinny...

Celebrity

Charles Dickens was born on February 7, 1812, in Landport, Hampshire. In 1814, his family moved to London and then to Chatham, where Charles...

True Crime

True Crime

The extraordinary story behind the theft of Bob Monkhouse’s joke books in 1995 and the subsequent efforts to find them. The joke books were...

History

History

On the evening of 29th December 1940 the German Luftwaffe attacked London with devastating results. In a night that Hitler hoped would create a...

History

Most people believe Boudica was a woman who fought for justice and independence over the brutal Romans. But is the story really true? Boudica...

History

On February 7th 1649 Parliament voted to abolish the monarchy. A few days earlier King Charles had gone to the scaffold. The Prince of...

You May Also Like

Celebrity

Claim to Fame: With a career that spanned more than five decades, mastering music, film and TV, Sinatra was larger than life. The skinny...

True Crime

The extraordinary story behind the theft of Bob Monkhouse’s joke books in 1995 and the subsequent efforts to find them. The joke books were...

Celebrity

Mixing hillbilly and blues, Elvis Presley’s musical contribution was immense. But his truly liberating contribution was in busting the shackles that restrained movement. He...

True Crime

On Friday 22 May 1953 in the small Leicestershire village of Blaby three young boys were playing in Blue Banks Wood, a favourite area...

Copyright © 2021. The Man in Room 17. All rights reserved.