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Phil Spector

Phil Spector

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Also Known As: Philip Spector Died:
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U.S. and U.K. and three No. 1 singles with "The Long and Winding Road," "Let It Be" and "Get Back." Paul McCartney was reportedly incensed by Spector¿s production, but both Lennon and Harrison were so pleased with the final result that they hired him to produce their next solo albums, Lennon¿s Plastic Ono Band (1970) and Harrison¿s majestic All Things Must Pass (1970), which also reached the top of the album charts. Spector was soon named director of A&R for Apple Records, and produced Lennon¿s Imagine (1971) and Harrison¿s Grammy-winning Concert for Bangledesh, for which Spector accomplished the near-impossible by reproducing his Wall of Sound technique in a live setting by utilizing over 44 microphones at the Madison Square Garden performance.But this new wave of success was soon followed by a series of aborted sessions that collapsed under the weight of Spector¿s mental issues. His marriage to Ronnie had grown even more unstable, with stories emerging of Spector keeping a gilded coffin in his basement so that he could watch over his wife even in death. After being institutionalized by her husband, Ronnie Spector fled his home in 1972 and divorced him the following year. In 1973, Spector attempted...

U.S. and U.K. and three No. 1 singles with "The Long and Winding Road," "Let It Be" and "Get Back." Paul McCartney was reportedly incensed by Spector¿s production, but both Lennon and Harrison were so pleased with the final result that they hired him to produce their next solo albums, Lennon¿s Plastic Ono Band (1970) and Harrison¿s majestic All Things Must Pass (1970), which also reached the top of the album charts. Spector was soon named director of A&R for Apple Records, and produced Lennon¿s Imagine (1971) and Harrison¿s Grammy-winning Concert for Bangledesh, for which Spector accomplished the near-impossible by reproducing his Wall of Sound technique in a live setting by utilizing over 44 microphones at the Madison Square Garden performance.

But this new wave of success was soon followed by a series of aborted sessions that collapsed under the weight of Spector¿s mental issues. His marriage to Ronnie had grown even more unstable, with stories emerging of Spector keeping a gilded coffin in his basement so that he could watch over his wife even in death. After being institutionalized by her husband, Ronnie Spector fled his home in 1972 and divorced him the following year. In 1973, Spector attempted to produce Lennon¿s Rock `N Roll, but the sessions imploded after the studio wizard reportedly fired handguns inside a bathroom at A&M Records. He later disappeared with the album tapes, which required Lennon to pay nearly a million dollars to retrieve them. The following year, Spector was nearly killed in a car crash that sent him through the windshield of his Rolls Royce, necessitating over 700 stitches to his head. He survived the accident and subsequently claimed custody of his children with Spector, which included a pair of adopted twins, Louis and Gary. Though allegations of physical and sexual abuse by Spector surfaced during the custody trials, Ronnie Spector allegedly gave up her children after her ex-husband had reportedly hired a hit man to influence her decision.

For the next half-decade, Spector remained a recluse, emerging sporadically to produce Leonard Cohen¿s Death of a Ladies¿ Man (1977) and the Ramones¿ End of the Century (1979). Both were highly divisive albums for fans of the respective artists, who found Spector¿s orchestral touches overwrought and out of place. Both records were also marked by infamous stories of Spector brandishing guns at Cohen and the Ramones. In 1980, he married music industry veteran Janis Savala, who bore him a daughter, Nicole, and a son, Philip Jr. His only significant effort during the period was co-production of Yoko Ono¿s Seasons of Glass (1981) album. Otherwise, he was content to collect his millions in royalty payments and fester in the darkness of his Pasadena mansion.

In 1988, Spector emerged from exile to collect an award in Nashville. His speech was gracious and full of humor, which prompted industry observers to suggest that he had gained control of his facilities. That notion was quickly disproved by a rambling, drunken speech at his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991. Humbled by the negative reaction to his appearance, he gave interviews in which he expressed his desire to return to production. Spector¿s forward momentum was halted in its tracks by the death of Philip Jr. on Christmas Day in 1991. He slunk back into depression, which precipitated the end of his marriage to Savala.

But after seeing Celine Dion perform a version of "River Deep - Mountain High" on television, he seemed to regain his inspiration. Recording with Dion began in 1995, the same year that Cameron Crowe began work on a biopic of Spector¿s life with Tom Cruise in the lead role. But a year later, the Dion record, Falling Into You, was released without any of Spector¿s contributions. Creative differences between Spector, the label and Dion¿s management were the culprit, but instead of disappearing into his home, Spector remained in the public eye. He was a constant presence at major industry events and Laker games, and even hosted yearly parties at a bowling alley that were marked by appearances by many of his old acts.

He purchased a castle in Alhambra and began a serious regime of therapeutic drugs that included medication for schizophrenia. The new treatment appeared to have a positive effect on Spector, who tried to reconnect with his estranged sons. He had a better time maintaining a relationship with his daughter Nicole, who introduced him to an English group called Starsailor. Spector would produce their 2003 album Silence is Easy, which yielded a Top 10 single in the U.K. A release of an unreleased album Spector produced for Dion in 1977 was greeted by ecstatic reviews. By all accounts, it appeared that Spector had finally wrested control of his life. On Feb. 3, 2003, police were summoned to Spector¿s home, where they found Lana Clarkson, a B-movie actress and club hostess, dead from a gunshot wound. Spector was put on trial for murder in 2007, during which allegations emerged that Spector had threatened other women with firearms after they attempted to leave his home. A hung jury resulted in a mistrial, but a second trial for murder in the second degree reached a guilty verdict in 2009. In May of that year, Spector was sentenced to 19 years to life. He remained ineligible for parole until he reached his 88th year.

By Paul Gaitay to try and grasp Spector¿s technique, which he eventually emulated on such classic albums as Pet Sounds (1966) and Smile (1967).

No sooner had Spector ascended to the top of his profession than his world began to crumble around him. Spector¿s dislike of LPs came to fruition with his 1963 album A Christmas Gift for You from Philles Records, a compilation of holidays songs performed by the Ronettes, Darlene Love and others, which was released the day after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and disappeared without a trace from the chart; in later years, it would become a staple of FM radio broadcasts in December. He found his last great undiscovered group in the blue-eyed soul duo the Righteous Brothers, with whom he would score a No. 1 hit with "You¿ve Lost That Lovin¿ Feeling" (1965) and an enduring classic in "Unchained Melody." But he soon tired of the act, instead pouring his creative energies into "River Deep ¿ Mountain High" (1966), a colossal R&B single for Ike and Tina Turner. Spector considered the thundering track his finest achievement, but it only reached No. 88 on the U.S. charts. Defeated, he retreated to his Los Angeles estate with his new bride, Ronettes singer Veronica Bennett, who renamed herself Ronnie Spector, and sunk into depression and a slow-building but inexorable state of paranoid delusion.

Spector had exerted iron-fisted control of Ronnie Spector¿s life since the moment he met her. When the Ronettes toured with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones in the early 1960s, he forbade her to speak with them for fear that she would leave him. After his self-imposed exile from the recording industry, he kept her a virtual prisoner in his home, with barred windows and electrified gates erected around the property to prevent her from leaving on her own. At the height of his instability, he would threaten her with guns, only to buy her loyalty again with an adopted son, Donte, in 1969. That same year, Spector returned to the public eye with "Black Pearl," a Top 20 single for Sonny Clark and the Checkmates. He also contributed a cameo to "Easy Rider" as a drug dealer who bought cocaine from Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper.

In 1970, he traveled to England to produce "Instant Karma" for John Lennon. While there, Lennon and George Harrison asked him to try his hand at completing the recording sessions for the Beatles¿ final album, Get Back. He applied the Wall of Sound approach to the material, which yielded No. 1 albums in both the

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1.
 Easy Rider (1969) Connection
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