Phil Spector

Unquestionably a musical genius whose "wall of sound" production techniques changed pop and elevated the humble producer to artistic powerhouse, Phil Spector's famously deranged personality finally caught up with him in 2009 with a 19-year prison sentence for the murder of actress Lana Clarkson. Born in New York (December 26, 1939) and raised in California, Spector took up guitar in his teens, forming the Teddy Bears, who had a US Number 1 with his song “To Know Him Is to Love Him”. He left to join top songwriters Leiber & Stoller in New York, co-writing the Ben E King hit “Spanish Harlem” and The Drifters' “On Broadway”. In 1961, he formed his own label, Philles, developing the dramatic sound behind the hit girl groups the Crystals and the Ronettes. Spector's flamboyantly dense productions reached a peak with the Righteous Brothers' “You've Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” and Ike and Tina Turner's “River Deep - Mountain High”. He famously reshaped The Beatles’ Get Back album into Let It Be, adding lush strings and a choir to the album’s title track and “The Long and Winding Road”, which infuriated Paul McCartney. He went on to work on albums with George Harrison (All Things Must Pass and the Grammy-winning The Concert for Bangladesh) and John Lennon (Plastic Ono Band, Imagine, and Some Time in New York City). In 1980, he produced the Ramones’ End of the Century album. Spector's 1963 classic A Christmas Gift album remains one of the greatest Christmas record ever made. But tales of reclusiveness and gun obsession abounded, finally resulting in his 2003 killing of Lana Clarkson. He was found guilty of murder and was taken into custody on May 29, 2009. He spent the remainder of his life in prison. Phil Spector died on January 16, 2021 at the age of 81.

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