Phil Spector, one of the most revered and influential personalities in the music industry, passed at the age of 81. He was known for revolutionizing rock and roll music in its early years as a music producer. Spector was also hailed as the first auteur in the music industry, for controlling the recording process at every stage.
Phil Spector’s Early Life
Harvey Phillip Spector was born in Bronx, New York City on December 26, 1939. His parents Benjamin and Bertha were Jewish immigrants. Benjamin committed suicide when Spector was 9. After a few years, the entire family moved to Los Angeles, where Bertha worked as a seamstress.
Spector went to John Burroughs Junior High School and later moved to Fairfax high school in 1954. He formed a musical group The Teddy Bears with three of his high school friends. During his time with the group, he learned music production from Stan Ross, co owner of Gold Star Studios, Hollywood. The Teddy Bears split in 1959.
Notable Works and Influences
Spector worked with a number of music artists during his career as a music producer.
In the 60s he was instrumental in making hit songs like “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” and “Why Do Lovers Break Each Other’s Heart” (Bob B. Soxx and The Blue Jeans), “Be My Baby” (The Ronettes), and “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin” (The Righteous Brothers). He also worked with Ike and Tina Turner.
In the 70s, Spector worked with popular band The Beatles. He produced hit songs like “Instant Karma” (A single by John Lennon) and “My Sweet Lord”.
The albums produced under Spector like Let It Be, All Things Must Pass, and The Concert For Bangladesh. In the 80s he also worked with the band The Ramones on their album End of The Century. After that, he mostly remained inactive. One of his very last works was “Silence is Easy” (Starsailor).
Phil Spector is known for inventing the “Wall of Sound” technique for music production. The technique incorporated the recording studio and multiple instruments of the same kind to produce a dense, orchestral sound.
The motive behind this was to be able to keep the sound intact when played by radios and jukeboxes. Artists like Beach Boys, Bruce Springsteen, and ABBA have admitted to be influenced by Spector’s works.
Prison Sentence and Death
Since 2009, Spector was serving in prison, being pleaded guilty for murdering actress Lana Clarkson in 2003. Lana was found dead at her mansion in LA with a gunshot wound in her mouth. He was to serve for 19 years to life in California state prison.
On December 2020, Spector was diagnosed with COVID and was moved to a hospital, eventually breathing his last on January 16, Saturday. His health was already deteriorating, with losing his ability to speak in 2014.
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation stated his death from ‘natural causes’, adding that the official cause will be confirmed by a medical examiner. A source from TMZ has stated that his death was due to complications from COVID. He is survived by his three sons Donté, Louis, and Gary, and daughter Nicole.
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