Phil Spacter, famous music producer and murderer, dies at 81

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Phil Spector, the eccentric and revolutionary music producer who replaced rock music with his “Wall of Sound” method and who was later convicted of murder, has died. He was 81.

Officials at the California State Prison said he died of natural causes Saturday in a hospital.

Spector was convicted of the 2003 murder of actress Lana Clarkson in her palatial mansion on the edge of Los Angeles. After a trial in 2009, he was sentenced to 19 years.

While most sources give Spector’s date of birth as 1940, it was listed in court documents as 1939 after his arrest. His lawyer later confirmed that date to the Associated Press.

Clarkson, the star of “Barbarian Queen” and other B-films, was shot and killed in the foyer of Spector’s mansion in the hills of Alhambra, a modest suburban town bordering Los Angeles.

Until the actress’ death, which Spector maintained was an “accidental suicide”, some residents also knew that the mansion belonged to the renovated builder, who spent the rest of his year in Stockton’s prison hospital.

Earlier in the decade, Spector was distinguished as a visionary for channeling Wagnerian ambitions into a three-minute song, creating grandiose orchestral arrangements to produce pop monuments such as “The Do Ron Ron,” “Wall of Sound” was created with an upbeat tone. “Be my child” and “She is a rebel.”

He was a rare self-conscious artist in the early years of rock and cultivated an image of mystery and power with his dark colors and soulless expression.

Tom Wolfe declared him “the first teen tycoon”. Bruce Springsteen and Brian Wilson openly reiterated their grand recording techniques and wide-eyed romanticism, and John Lennon called them “the greatest record producers ever”.

The mystery of his voice: the excesses of instruments, vocals and sound effects, which changed the way pop records were recorded. He called the result “little sympathy for children”.

By the mid-20s his “little sympathy” resulted in nearly two dozen hit singles and made him a millionaire. The song “You Lost That Lovin ‘Feeling”, the operative Right Brothers Brothers, which topped the charts in 1965, has been tabulated as the most played song on radio and television.

But thanks to the arrival of the Beatles, their chart success will soon fade. When Tina Turner, released in 1966 under the name “River Deep-Mountain High,” failed to release, Spector closed her record label and went out of business for three years. He would go on to produce the Beatles and Lennon, among others, but he was now serving in other ways rather than as an artist.

In 1969, Spector was called upon to revive the Beatles’ “Let It Be” album, a troubled “Back to Basics” production, marked by disintegration within the band. Although Lennon praised Spector’s work, bandmate Paul McCartney was enraged, especially when Spector added strings and added a choir for McCartney’s “The Long and Winding Road”. Years later, McCartney oversaw “Let It Be,” removing the contribution of the rector.

A documentary from Lennon’s 1971 “Imagine” album featured the ex-Beetle, directing Spector on a backing vocal, a line that none of Spector’s early artists dared to cross. Would not have done.

Spector worked on George Harrison’s acclaimed post-Beatles triple album, “All Things Must Pass”, co-produced Lennon’s “Imagine,” and the less successful “Some Time in New York City,” with a caption above Spector’s picture Was included, which read, “To know him means to love him.”

Spector also had a memorable film role, a cameo as a drug dealer in “Easy Rider”. The producer himself was played by Al Pacino in the 2013 HBO film.

The amount of music, and violence, of Spactor has shown a dark side which he can barely even be at its peak. He was atrocious, dangerous by nature and dangerous, remembered by Darlene Love, Ronnie Spector, and others who worked with him.

They had to come back after years of bullying of women in the studio recording their waving guns and threatening women after Clarkson’s death.

According to eyewitnesses, he was, somewhat reluctantly, on his way home from the Sunset Strip House of Blues in West Hollywood, where he worked shortly after arriving in the Alhambra in the early morning hours of February 3, 2003, a Spector reported the specter holding the gun, came out of the house with blood in his hands and said to him, “I think I killed someone.”

He later told friends that Clarkson had shot himself. The case was fraught with mystery, and it took authorities a year to file charges. Meanwhile, Spector remained free on $ 1 million bail.

When he was eventually convicted for the murder, he drew anger at the officers, angrily telling journalists: “The DA and Hitler’s soldier henchmen like Hitler are scandalous, ridiculous and vile.”

As a defendant, his eccentricity took center stage. He would arrive in court for a multicolored hearing in dramatic outfits, usually heels, frock coats and wildly styled wigs. He arrived at a hearing in Hummer, a Charmer-driven stretch.

Once the 2007 trial began, however, he undid his costume. This tilt towards conviction ended in a 10–2 stalemate. It was argued in her defense that the actress, frustrated about her fading career, extricated herself. A reconsideration was underway in October 2008.

Harvey Phillip Spacter, born in the mid-60s when he was charged with murder, was born on December 26, 1939 in the Bronx city of New York City. Bernard Spector, his father, was an ironman. His mother, Bertha, was a mermaid. In 1947, Spector’s father committed suicide due to family indebtedness, an event that would shape his son’s life in many ways.

Four years later, Spector’s mother moved the family to Los Angeles, where Phil attended Fairfax High School, located in a largely Jewish neighborhood bordering Hollywood. The school has been a source of future musical talent for decades. In Fairfax, Spector performed at talent shows and formed a group called Teddy Bear with friends.

He was reserved and insecure, but his musical ability was evident. He had perfect pitch and easily learned to play many instruments. He was just 17 years old when his group recorded their first hit single, written by a romantic ballad and produced and produced by Spector, which would become a pop classic: “To Know Him Is Love Him” , “Was inspired by an inscription on his father’s tomb.

A small, thin child with big dreams and growing demons, Spector went on to attend the University of California, Los Angeles for a year before leaving to return to New York. He considered becoming a French interpreter at the United Nations before falling in with musicians at New York’s iconic Brill Building. Broadway Edifice was then at the heart of the popular musical Tin Pan Ale, where writers, musicians, singers and musicians sang hit songs.

He began working with star musicians Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller, who had met at Fairfax High a few years before Spector’s arrival. Eventually, he found his place in production. During this period he ben e. Also co-wrote the hit song, “Spanish Harlem” with King, and played the lead guitar on Drifters’ “On Broadway”.

“I moved back to New York from California where all these green lawns and trees were, and that was just poverty and decay in Harlem,” he would later recall. “The song was an expression of hope and confidence in the young people of Harlem … which would be a better time ahead.”

For some time he owned his own production company, Files Records, with partner Lester Sills, where he developed his signature sound. He gathered respected studio musicians such as Jack Nitzsche, guitarist Tommy Tedesco, pianist Leon Russell and drummer Hal Blaine and gave Glen Campbell, Sunny Bono and Bono’s future wife, Cher an early break.

In the early 1960s, he released the hit and a notable flop: the album “A Christmas Gift to You”, tragically, was released on November 22, 1963, the day President Kennedy was assassinated, The worst time happiness record for such. Featuring Ronettes singing the love version of “Christmas Gift”, “Frosty the Snowman” and “White Christmas”, which is now considered a classic and perennial radio favorite during the holiday season.

Along with his career, Spector’s domestic life eventually fell apart. After his first marriage to Annette Merer, Ronette leader singer Ronnie Bennett became his girlfriend and muse. He married her in 1968 and they adopted three children. But he divorced her after six years, claiming in one memoir that he had kept his prisoner in their mansion, where he said he had placed a gold coffin in the basement and told her that he would kill her and let her in it Would put if he tried to leave … her.

In 2007, when the Ronettes were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Spector was sent with his congratulations. But in an acceptance speech by his ex-wife, he did not mention her, thanking many others.

Darlene Love also vied with him, alleging that Spector did not give him credit for his singing in “She’s a Rebel” and other songs, but praised him when he joined the hall.

Spector himself became a hall member in 1949. As their marriages deteriorated, recording artists also quit working with Spector and the music styles passed on to them.

He preferred singles to albums, the latter being “two hits and 10 pieces of junk.” He initially refused to record his music in multichannel stereo, claiming that the process damaged the sound. A Spector box set retrospective was called “Back to Mono”.

By the mid-1970s, Spector had largely retreated from the music business. He would occasionally emerge to work on special projects, including Leonard Cohen’s album, “Death of a Ladies Man”, and The Raymons’ “End of the Century”. The two were married to news of Spector’s instability.

In 1973, Lennon worked with Spector on an album of rock ‘n roll oldies, missing only Specter with tapes. The finished work, “Rock ‘n’ Roll,” did not come out until 1975.

In 1982, Spector married Janice Lynn Zavala and the couple had twins Nicole and Phillip Jr. The boy died of leukemia at the age of 10.

Six months before his first murder trial began, Spector married Rachel Short, a 26-year-old singer and actress who used to go to court with him daily. They filed for divorce in 2016.

In a 2005 court statement, he testified that he had been on a manic depression medication for eight years.

He said, “No sleep, depression, mood changes, mood changes, hard to live with, difficult to focus, just hard – hard times in life.” “I am called a genius and I think a genius does not happen all the time and there is borderline madness.”


Linda Dixon is a retired Special Correspondent for the Associated Press. The Spector murder trial was one of several sensational cases he covered during his 48-year career as a Los Angeles-based trial reporter.


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