Phil Spector

born on 26/12/1939 in New York City, NY, United States

died on 16/1/2021

Alias Phil Harvey

Phil Spector

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Phil Spector

Phillip Harvey "Phil" Spector[1][2] (born Harvey Phillip Spector,[3][4] December 26, 1939[1][4][5]) is an American record producer and songwriter.

The originator of the "Wall of Sound" production technique, Spector was a pioneer of the 1960s girl-group sound and produced more than twenty-five Top 40 hits from 1960 to 1965, writing or co-writing many of them. Among his famous girl groups are the Ronettes and the Crystals. After this initial success, Spector later worked with artists including Ike and Tina Turner, John Lennon, George Harrison, and the Ramones with similar acclaim. He produced the Beatles' album Let It Be, and the Grammy Award-winning Concert for Bangladesh by former Beatle George Harrison. In 1989, Spector was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a non-performer. The 1965 song "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'", produced and co-written by Spector for the Righteous Brothers, is listed by BMI as the song with the most U.S. airplay in the 20th century.[6]

In 2009, Spector was convicted of second-degree murder in the 2003 shooting death of actress Lana Clarkson in his Alhambra, California, home. He is serving a prison sentence of 19 years to life.[7]

Early childhood

Spector was born on December 26, 1939, to a lower-middle-class Jewish family in the Bronx in New York City.[8][9] His grandfather was an immigrant from Russia with the surname Spekter, which he anglicized to Spector after immigrating.[10] Spector's father committed suicide on April 20, 1949.[11] In 1953, his mother moved the family to Los Angeles, California.

Musical career

Teenage performer and lyricist

In Los Angeles, Spector got involved with music, learning the guitar. At 16, he performed Lonnie Donegan's version of the traditional song "Rock Island Line" at a talent show at his high school, Fairfax High School.[12] While at Fairfax, he joined a loosely knit community of aspiring musicians, including Lou Adler, Bruce Johnston, Steve Douglas, and Sandy Nelson, the last of whom played drums on Spector's first record release, "To Know Him Is to Love Him".[13]

The Teddy Bears

With three friends from high school, Marshall Leib, Harvey Goldstein, and singer Annette Kleinbard, Spector formed a group, the Teddy Bears. During this period, Spector also began visiting local recording studios, and he eventually managed to win the confidence of record producer Stan Ross, coowner of Gold Star Studios in Hollywood, who began to tutor the young man in record production and who exerted a major influence on Spector's production style. By early 1958, Spector and his bandmates had raised enough money to buy two hours of recording time at Gold Star. With Spector producing, the Teddy Bears recorded the Spector-penned "Don't You Worry My Little Pet", which helped them secure a deal with Era Records. At their next session, they recorded another song Spector had written this one inspired by the epitaph on Spector's father's tombstone. Released on Era's subsidiary label, Dore Records, "To Know Him Is to Love Him" went to #1 on Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in 1958, selling over a million copies by year's end. It was the seventh number one single on the newly formed chart. Following the success of their debut, the group signed with Imperial Records, but their next single, "I Don't Need You Anymore" only reached #91. While several more recordings were released, including an album The Teddy Bears Sing!, the group never again charted in the Hot 100. The Teddy Bears went their separate ways in 1959.

Record producer

After the split, Spector's career quickly moved from performing and songwriting to production. While recording the Teddy Bears' album, Spector had met Lester Sill, a former promotion man who was a mentor to Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. His next project, the Spectors Three, was undertaken under the aegis of Sill and his partner, Lee Hazlewood. In 1960, Sill arranged for Spector to work as an apprentice to Leiber and Stoller in New York. Ronnie Crawford would become Spectors first true recording artist and project as producer. Spector quickly learned how to use a studio. He co-wrote the Ben E. King Top 10 hit "Spanish Harlem" with Jerry Leiber and also worked as a session musician, most notably playing the guitar solo on the Drifters' song, "On Broadway". His own productions during this time, while less conspicuous, included releases by LaVern Baker, Ruth Brown, and Billy Storm, as well as the Top Notes' original version of "Twist and Shout".

Leiber and Stoller recommended Spector to produce Ray Peterson's "Corrina, Corrina", which reached #9 in January 1961. Later, he produced another major hit for Curtis Lee, "Pretty Little Angel Eyes", which made it to #7. Returning to Hollywood, Spector agreed to produce one of Lester Sill's acts. After both Liberty Records and Capitol Records turned down the master of "Be My Boy" by the Paris Sisters, Sill formed a new label, Gregmark Records, with Lee Hazlewood and released it. It only managed to reach #56, but the follow-up, "I Love How You Love Me", was a hit, reaching #5.

Philles Records

In late 1961, Spector formed a new record company with Lester Sill, who by this time had ended his business partnership with Hazlewood. Philles Records combined the names of its two founders. Through Hill and Range Publishers, Spector found three groups he wanted to produce: the Ducanes, the Creations, and the Crystals. The first two signed with other companies, but Spector managed to secure the Crystals for his new label. Their first single, "There's No Other (Like My Baby)" was a success, hitting #20. Their next release, "Uptown", made it to #13. (Spector's production of The Ducanes was issued on Goldisc and The Creations on Bigtop.)

Spector continued to work freelance with other artists. In 1962, he produced "Second Hand Love" by Connie Francis, which reached #7. In the early 1960s, he briefly worked with Atlantic Records' R&B artists Ruth Brown and LaVerne Baker. Ahmet Ertegün of Atlantic paired Spector with Broadway star Jean DuShon for "Talk to Me", the B-side of which was "Tired of Trying", written by DuShon.

Spector briefly took a job as head of A&R for Liberty Records. It was while working at Liberty that he heard a song written by Gene Pitney, for whom he had produced a #41 hit, "Every Breath I Take", a year earlier. "He's a Rebel" was due to be released on Liberty by Vikki Carr, but Spector rushed into Gold Star Studios and recorded a cover version using Darlene Love and the Blossoms on lead vocals. The record was released on Philles, attributed to the Crystals, and quickly rose to the top of the charts.

By the time "He's a Rebel" went to #1, Lester Sill was out of the company, and Spector had Philles all to himself. He created a new act, Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans, featuring Darlene Love, Fanita James (a member of the Blossoms), and Bobby Sheen, a singer he had worked with at Liberty. The group had hits with "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" (#8), "Why Do Lovers Break Each Others Hearts?" (#38), and "Not Too Young To Get Married" (#63). Spector also released solo material by Darlene Love in 1963. In the same year, he released "Be My Baby" by the Ronettes, which went to #2.

Although predominantly a singles label, Philles released a few albums, one of which is the perennial seller A Christmas Gift for You from Philles Records in 1963.

"I enjoyed all the records very much. I made them all from the heart. I made them all with art in mind, and all to reveal a picture of where I was when I made them."
—Phil Spector,1968 Pop Chronicles interview.[14][15]

The Wall of Sound

Main article: Wall of Sound

Spector's trademark during that era was the so-called Wall of Sound, a production technique yielding a dense, layered effect that reproduced well on AM radio and jukeboxes. To attain this signature sound, Spector gathered large groups of musicians (playing some instruments not generally used for ensemble playing, such as electric and acoustic guitars) playing orchestrated parts often doubling and tripling many instruments playing in unison for a fuller sound. Spector himself called his technique "a Wagnerian approach to rock & roll: little symphonies for the kids".

While Spector directed the overall sound of his recordings, he took a relatively hands-off approach to working with the musicians themselves (usually a core group that became known as the Wrecking Crew, including session players such as Hal Blaine, Larry Knechtel, Steve Douglas, Carol Kaye, Roy Caton, Glen Campbell, and Leon Russell), delegating arrangement duties to Jack Nitzsche and having Sonny Bono oversee the performances, viewing these two as his "lieutenants". Spector frequently used songs from songwriters employed at the Brill Building (Trio Music) and at 1650 Broadway (Aldon Music), such as the teams of Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, and Gerry Goffin and Carole King. Spector often worked with the songwriters, receiving co-credit and publishing royalties for compositions.

Further information: History of multitrack recording

Despite the trend towards multichannel recording, Spector was vehemently opposed to stereo releases, claiming that it took control of the record's sound away from the producer in favor of the listener. Spector was more concerned with the overall collage of sound than with the recording fidelity or timbral quality. Sometimes a pair of strings or horns would be double-tracked multiple times to sound like an entire string or horn section. But in the final product the background sometimes could not be distinguished as either horns or strings. Spector also greatly preferred singles to albums, describing LPs as "two hits and ten pieces of junk", reflecting both his commercial methods and those of many other producers at the time.

The first time Spector put the same amount of effort into an LP as he did into 45s was when he utilized the full Philles roster and the Wrecking Crew to make what he felt would become a hit for the 1963 Christmas season. A Christmas Gift for You from Philles Records arrived in stores the day of the assassination of President Kennedy on November 22, 1963. Despite its initially poor reception, selections from the album are now Yuletide mainstays on radio stations, and the album has since been a regular seller during the holiday season.

The mid-Sixties

In 1964, The Ronettes appeared at the Cow Palace, near San Francisco. Also on the bill were The Righteous Brothers. Spector, who was conducting the band for all the acts, was so impressed with Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield that he bought their contract from Moonglow Records and signed them to Philles. In early 1964, "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'", became the label's second #1 single. Three more major hits with the group followed: "Just Once in My Life" (#9), "Unchained Melody" (#4, originally the B side of "Hung On You") and "Ebb Tide" (#5). Despite having hits, he lost interest in producing the Righteous Brothers, and sold their contract and all their master recordings to Verve Records. However, the sound of the Righteous Brothers' singles was so distinctive that the act chose to replicate it after leaving Spector, notching a second #1 hit in 1966 with the Bill Medley-produced "(You're My) Soul and Inspiration".

The Spector-produced recording of "Unchained Melody" had a second wave of popularity 25 years after its initial release, when it was featured prominently in the 1990 hit movie Ghost. A re-release of the single re-charted on the Billboard Hot 100, and went to number one on the Adult Contemporary charts. This also put Spector (as a producer) back on the U.S. Top 40 charts for the first time since his last appearance in 1971 with John Lennon's "Imagine", although he did have U.K. top 40 hits in the interim with the Ramones.

Spector's final signing to Philles was the husband-and-wife team of Ike and Tina Turner in 1966. Spector considered their recording of "River Deep Mountain High", to be his best work,[14] but it failed to go any higher than #88 in the United States. The single, which was essentially a solo Tina Turner record, was more successful in Britain, reaching #3.

Spector subsequently lost enthusiasm for his label and the recording industry. Already something of a recluse, he withdrew temporarily from the public eye, marrying Veronica "Ronnie" Bennett, lead singer of the Ronettes, in 1968. Spector emerged briefly for a cameo as a drug dealer in the film Easy Rider, in 1969. (Spector, in 1967, appeared as himself in an episode of I Dream of Jeannie.)


In 1969, Spector made a brief return to the music business by signing a production deal with A&M Records. A Ronettes single, "You Came, You Saw, You Conquered" flopped, but Spector returned to the Hot 100 with "Black Pearl", by Sonny Charles and the Checkmates, Ltd., which reached #13. In 1970, Allen Klein, manager of the Beatles, brought Spector to England. While producing John Lennon's hit solo single "Instant Karma!", which went to #3, Spector was invited by Lennon and George Harrison to take on the task of turning the Beatles' abandoned "Get Back" recording sessions into a usable album. He went to work using many of his production techniques, making significant changes to the arrangements and sound of some songs. The resulting album, Let It Be, was a massive commercial success and topped the US and UK charts. The album also yielded three #1 singles: "Get Back", "The Long and Winding Road" and "Let It Be". His overdubbing of "The Long and Winding Road" infuriated its composer, Paul McCartney, especially since the work was allegedly completed without his knowledge and without any opportunity for him to assess the results. In 2003, McCartney spearheaded the release of Let It Be... Naked, which stripped the songs of Spector's input.

Lennon and George Harrison were satisfied with the results, and Let It Be led to Spector co-producing albums with both ex-Beatles. For Harrison's multiplatinum album All Things Must Pass (#1, 1970), Spector provided a cathedral-like sonic ambience, complete with ornate orchestrations and gospel-like choirs. The LP yielded two major hits: "My Sweet Lord" (#1) and "What Is Life" (#10). That same year, Spector co-produced John Lennon's Plastic Ono Band (#6) album. In 1971, Spector was named director of A&R for Apple Records. He held the post for only a year, but during that time he co-produced the single "Power to the People" with John Lennon (#11), as well as Lennon's chart-topping album, Imagine. The album's title track hit #3. With Harrison, Spector co-produced Harrison's "Bangla-Desh" (a #23 hit) and wife Ronnie Spector's "Try Some, Buy Some" (#77). That same year Spector recorded the music for the #1 triple album The Concert For Bangladesh. The album later won the "Album of the Year" award at the 1972 Grammys. Despite being recorded live, Spector used up to 44 microphones simultaneously to create his trademark Wall of Sound.

Lennon retained Spector for the 1971 Christmas single "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" and the poorly reviewed 1972 album, Some Time In New York City (#48). Similar to the unusual pattern of success that Spector's A Christmas Gift for You from Philles Records experienced, "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" also stalled in sales upon its initial release, only later to become a fixture on radio station playlists during the holiday season. In 1973, Spector participated in the recording sessions for what would be Lennon's Rock 'n' Roll album (#6). It was during these sessions that Spector's relationship with Lennon became strained; some versions claim that the producer suffered a breakdown in the studio, brandishing a gun and disappearing with the Rock 'n' Roll tapes, although Spector biographer Dave Thompson places most of the blame on the out-of-control behavior of Lennon and his entourage. After several months, Lennon retrieved the tapes and finished the album himself. In the years following the debacle, however, Spector maintained contact with Lennon, and the former Beatle had planned on recording with him again.[16]

Near-fatal accident and aftermath

As the 1970s progressed, Spector became increasingly reclusive. The most probable and significant reason for his withdrawal, recently revealed by biographer Dave Thompson, was that in 1974 he was seriously injured when he was thrown through the windshield of his car in a crash in Hollywood. According to a contemporary report published in the New Musical Express, Spector was almost killed, and it was only because the attending police officer detected a faint pulse that Spector was not declared dead at the scene. He was admitted to the UCLA Medical Center on the night of March 31, 1974, suffering serious head injuries which necessitated several hours of surgery with over 300 stitches to his face and more than 400 to the back of his head. His head injuries, Thompson suggests, were the reason that Spector began his habit of wearing outlandish wigs in later years.

The 1974 accident took place shortly after Spector had established the Warner-Spector label with Warner Bros. Records, which undertook new recordings with Dion, Cher, Harry Nilsson and others, as well as several reissues. A similar relationship with Britain's Polydor Records led to the formation of the Phil Spector International label in 1975. After a pair of failed singles with Cher, Spector produced Dion's Born to Be with You. The majority of Spector's classic Philles recordings had been out of print in the U.S. since the original label's demise, although Spector had released several Philles Records compilations in Britain. Finally, he released an American compilation of his Philles recordings in 1977, which put most of the better known Spector hits back into circulation after many years.

Spector began to reemerge in the late 1970s, producing and co-writing a controversial 1977 album by Leonard Cohen, entitled Death of a Ladies' Man. The album angered many devout Cohen fans who preferred his stark acoustic sound to the orchestral and choral wall of sound that the album contains. The recording of the album was fraught with difficulty. After Cohen had laid down practice vocal tracks, Spector reportedly mixed the album in "secret" studio sessions, literally locking Cohen, who usually took a strong role in the mixing, out of the studio. Cohen said Spector once threatened him with a crossbow, a claim, according to newspaper reports, others would make about their dealings with Spector. Cohen has remarked that the end result is "grotesque", but also "semi-virtuous". Cohen, however, still includes a reworked version of the track "Memories" in live concerts. Bob Dylan and Allen Ginsberg also participated in the background vocals on "Don't Go Home With Your Hard-On", which is the second time Spector indirectly "produced" Dylan the first being Dylan's live recordings on The Concert For Bangladesh.

Spector also produced the much-publicized Ramones album End of the Century in 1980. As with his work with Leonard Cohen, End of the Century received criticism from Ramones fans who were angered over its radio-friendly sound. However, it contains some of the best known and most successful Ramones singles, such as "Rock 'n' Roll High School", "Do You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio?" and their cover of a previously released Spector song for the Ronettes, "Baby, I Love You."[17] Guitarist Johnny Ramone later commented on working with Spector on the recording of the album, "It really worked when he got to a slower song like 'Danny Says' the production really worked tremendously. For the harder stuff, it didn't work as well."[18]

Rumors had circulated for years that Spector had threatened members of the Ramones with a gun during the sessions. Johnny Ramone remembered a meeting at Spector's home in which the producer became upset when they tried to leave. "And then he reaches into his jacket pocket and well, he pulls out a gun, puts it on the table right in front of us, and says, 'You guys don't really have to go yet, do you?'"[19] Drummer Marky Ramone recalled in 2008, "They (guns) were there but he had a license to carry. He never held us hostage. We could have left at any time".[20]

Since 2000

Spector remained inactive throughout most of the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s. He attempted to work with Céline Dion on her album Falling Into You, but that fell through. His most recent released project has been Silence Is Easy by Starsailor, released in 2003. He was originally supposed to produce the entire album, but was fired owing to personal and creative differences however, one of the two Spector-produced songs on the album was a UK top 10 single.

Spector produced singer-songwriter Hargo's track, "Crying For John Lennon", which originally appears on Hargo's 2006 album In Your Eyes, but on a visit to Spector's mansion for an interview for the John Lennon tribute movie, Strawberry Fields, Hargo played Spector the song and asked him to produce it. Spector and former Paul McCartney drummer Graham Ward produced it in the classic Wall of Sound style on nights after his first murder trial.[21]

In December 2007, the song "B Boy Baby" by Mutya Buena and Amy Winehouse featured melodic and lyrical passages heavily influenced by the Ronettes song "Be My Baby". As a result, Spector was given a songwriting credit on the single. The sections from "Be My Baby" are sung by Winehouse, not directly sampled from the mono single.[22] Winehouse referenced her admiration of Spector's work and often performed Spector's first hit song, "To Know Him Is to Love Him".[23]

Also in December 2007, Spector attended the funeral of Ike Turner, whose former wife, Tina Turner, he previously produced in 1966 (only Tina was recorded, but the record label still read "Ike and Tina Turner"). While delivering a eulogy, Spector lashed out at Tina and stated that "Ike made Tina the jewel she was. When I went to see Ike play at the Cinegrill in the 90s...there were at least five Tina Turners on the stage performing that night, any one of them could have been Tina Turner." Spector lashed out at Oprah Winfrey for promoting Tina Turner's autobiography that "demonized and vilified Ike."[24]

In mid-April 2008, BBC 2 broadcast a special entitled Phil Spector: The Agony and The Ecstasy. It consists of Spector's first screen interview breaking a long period of media silence. During the conversation, images from the murder court case are juxtaposed with live appearances of his tracks on television programs from the 1960s and 1970s, along with subtitles giving critical interpretation of some of his song production values. While he does not directly try to clear his name, the court case proceedings shown try to give further explanation of the facts surrounding the murder charges that were leveled against him. He also speaks about the musical instincts that led him to create some of his most enduring hit records, from "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" to "River Deep, Mountain High", as well as the Beatles album Let It Be, along with criticisms he feels he has had to deal with throughout his life.[25]


Many producers have tried to emulate Spector's methods, and Brian Wilson of the Beach Boysa fellow adherent of mono recordingconsidered Spector his main competition as a studio artist, going so far as to name the acclaimed Pet Sounds album using Spector's initials.[26] Wilson is said to have later stated "I was unable to really think as a producer until I really got familiar with Phil Spector's work."[27] It's been reported by Wilson's children that during the 1970s, he would wake up everyday to a vinyl record playback of "Be My Baby", it being his favorite song of all time.[28][29] Speaking about his song "Good Vibrations" being voted number one in the MOJO 'Top 100 Records of All Time chart' in 1997, he stated, "I never thought in my mind that it would beat the Phil Spector stuff. I don't see how people could overlook 'Be My Baby' for example as a great record and vote for 'Good Vibrations'."[30] Wilson's fascination with Spector has persisted for decades, with many different references to Spector and his work scattered around Wilson's songs with the Beach Boys and even his solo career. Of Spector-related productions, Wilson has been involved with covers of "Be My Baby", "Chapel of Love", "Just Once in My Life", "There's No Other (Like My Baby)", "Then I Kissed Her", "Talk to Me", and "This Could Be The Night". A 1970s cover of "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" has also circulated as a bootleg. The lyrics of the song "Mona" from the Beach Boys' 1977 album Love You include the verses: "Come on/Listen to 'Da Doo Ron Ron,' now/Listen to 'Be My Baby'/I know you're gonna love Phil Spector".

Bruce Springsteen emulated the Wall of Sound technique in his recording of "Born to Run". Shoegazing, a British musical movement in the late 1980s to mid-1990s, was heavily influenced by the Wall of Sound. In 1973, British band Wizzard, led by Roy Wood, had three heavily Spector influenced hits with "See My Baby Jive" (UK #1), "Angel Fingers" (UK #1) and "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday" (UK #4), the latter becoming a perennial Christmas hit.

For his contributions to the music industry, Spector was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989. In 1997, he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.[31] In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked him #63 on their list of the "Greatest Artists of All Time".[32][33]

Spector's early musical influences included Latin music in general, and Latin percussion in particular. This is keenly perceptible in many if not all of Spector's recordings, from the percussion in many of his hit songs: shakers, güiros (gourds) and maracas in "Be My Baby," and the son montuno in "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling," heard clearly in the song's bridge played by session bassist Carol Kaye, while the same repeating refrain is played on harpsichord by keyboardist Larry Knechtel. Spector would visit Spanish Harlem clubs and schools to hone his listening and practical skills.

The character of Ronnie "Z-Man" Barzell in Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, a 1970 Russ Meyer film, is based upon Spector, though neither Meyer nor screenwriter Roger Ebert had met him.

In Brian De Palma's film Phantom of the Paradise (1974), the villainous character Swan (played by Paul Williams) was supposedly inspired by Spector. A music producer and head of a record label, Swan was named "Spectre" in original drafts of the film's screenplay.[34]

The character of Harv Stevens in the 2009 independent short film A Reasonable Man was reportedly based on Phil Spector. The film examines his relationship with John Lennon.[35]

Murder of Lana Clarkson

On February 3, 2003, actress Lana Clarkson was found dead in Spector's mansion (Dupuy's Pyrenees Castle) in Alhambra, California. Her body was found slumped in a chair with a single gunshot wound to her mouth with broken teeth scattered all over the carpet.[36] Spector stated that Clarkson's death was an "accidental suicide" and that she "kissed the gun".[37] The emergency call from Spector's home, made by Spector's driver Adriano de Souza, quotes Spector as saying, "I think I've killed someone". De Souza also said he saw Spector come out the back door of the house with a gun in his hand.[38]

According to documents filed by the prosecution, Spector had previously pulled a gun on four women he dated. In each case, he had been drinking and "was romantically interested in the woman, but grew angry after the woman spurned him". The prosecution alleged that on each occasion, he pointed a gun at the woman to prevent her from walking out.[39] The prosecution argued that the testimony of the other women was important in order to demonstrate a "common plan or scheme".

The defense sought to prevent the women from providing such testimony. Though the law in California and other states generally forbids the introduction of evidence showing a defendant's previous transgressions, the judge sided with the prosecutors and ruled that the testimony of the other women "can be used to show lack of accident or mistake".[39]

First trial

Spector remained free on $1 million bail while awaiting trial. The trial began on March 19, 2007. Presiding Judge Larry Paul Fidler allowed the trial to be televised.[40] At the start of the trial, the defense's forensic expert Henry Lee was accused of hiding crucial evidence which the District Attorney's office claimed could prove Spector's guilt. On September 26, 2007, Judge Fidler declared a mistrial because of a hung jury (10 to 2 for conviction).[41][42][43]

During the trial, defense expert Vincent DiMaio asserted that Spector may be suffering from Parkinson's disease, stating: "Look at Mr. Spector. He has Parkinson's features. He trembles".[44]

Before and during the first trial, Spector went through at least three sets of attorneys. Defense attorney Robert Shapiro represented Spector at the arraignment and early pretrial hearings and achieved his release on $1 million bail. Bruce Cutler represented him during the 2007 trial, but withdrew on August 27, 2007, claiming "a difference of opinion between Mr. Spector and me on strategy". Attorney Linda Kenney Baden then became lead lawyer for closing arguments.[45]

In December 2003, Donté and Gary Spector spoke to the Mail claiming they were abused as children. Donte Spector said: "For years, we were just caged animals to be let out for Dad's amusement".[46]

Second trial

Wikinews has news related to: Nineteen-year sentence for murder handed down to music producer Phil Spector The retrial of Spector for murder in the second degree began on October 20, 2008,[47] with Judge Fidler again presiding; this time it was not televised. The case went to the jury on March 26, 2009, and nineteen days later, on April 13, the jury returned a guilty verdict.[48][49] In addition, he was found guilty of using a firearm in the commission of a crime.[50] Spector was immediately taken into custody[50] and was formally sentenced on May 29, 2009, to 19 years to life in the California state prison system.[7]

The California Court of Appeal affirmed Spector's conviction in May 2011 and denied his request for a rehearing of the appeal shortly thereafter.[51] On August 17, 2011 the California Supreme Court refused to review the Court of Appeal's decision to affirm his conviction. (S193961 Petition for review denied.)[52][53]

Spector's attorneys filed a petition pursuing judicial review of the conviction by the Supreme Court of the United States,[54] arguing that his constitutional due process rights were violated when prosecutors used the trial judge's comments about an experts testimony, effectively making the judge a witness for the prosecution. Spector's attorney Dennis Riordan argued the constitutional right to confront witnesses did not permit the prosecution to introduce at trial a videotape of statements made by the judge at a pretrial hearing that never were subjected to cross examination. The Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal.

Spector is serving his sentence at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison (SATF) in Corcoran, California.[55] He will be 88 years old before becoming eligible for parole.[56][57]

Film adaptation

Phil Spector, a 2013 HBO film written and directed by David Mamet and starring Al Pacino and Dame Helen Mirren, depicted a fictionalized account of the murder and trials.[58] The film drew criticism both from Clarkson's family and friends, who charged that the suicide defense was given more merit than it deserved; and from Spector's wife, who argued that Spector was portrayed as a "foul-mouthed megalomaniac" and a "minotaur". [59]


Spector's first marriage was to Annette Merar, lead vocalist of the Spectors Three, a 1960s pop trio formed and produced by Spector.

Spector's second marriage was to Veronica Bennett, later known as Ronnie Spector.[60] Ronnie was the lead singer of the girl group, the Ronettes (another group Spector managed and produced). Their marriage lasted from 1968 to 1974.

On September 1, 2006, Spector married his third wife, Rachelle Short. Although there is a 41-year age difference, Short is quoted as saying "I like the way he looks." "He's boyish and cute, witty, smart and we are so much alike even though we are generations apart. We share common interests, a love of music, people, life, old films, a strong work ethic, even certain mannerisms." [61] Spector met Short at a Hollywood restaurant in 2003, where she was working, shortly after his arrest in the shooting of Lana Clarkson. Short (an aspiring singer) went to work for Spector's personal assistant, Michelle Blain as her assistant. By the time they were married (Sept 2006), she was running his business.



  • Donté Phillip Spector - born March 23, 1969; adopted by both Phil and his second wife Ronnie, at age eight months.
  • Louis Phillip Spector (twin) - born May 12, 1966.
  • Gary Phillip Spector (twin) - born May 12, 1966; both were brought home at age five ½ (December 1971) but not adopted by Phil Spector until they were age nine (1975).

With then-girlfriend Janis Zavala:

  • Nicole Audrey Spector (twin) - born October 18, 1982
  • Phillip Spector, Jr. (twin) - born October 18, 1982, died of leukemia on December 25, 1991.[62]



  • 1959: The Teddy Bears Sing The Teddy Bears
  • 1963: A Christmas Gift for You from Philles Records Various Artists
  • 1963: Twist Uptown The Crystals
  • 1963: He's A Rebel The Crystals
  • 1963: Zip-A Dee-Doo-Dah - Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans
  • 1964: Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes Featuring Veronica The Ronettes
  • 1965: Ronettes The Ronettes
  • 1966: River Deep - Mountain High Ike and Tina Turner
  • 1969: Love Is All We Have to Give - Sonny Charles and the Checkmates, Ltd.
  • 1970: Let It Be The Beatles
  • 1970: All Things Must Pass (co-producer) George Harrison
  • 1970: Plastic Ono Band (co-producer) John Lennon and The Plastic Ono Band
  • 1971: Imagine (co-producer) John Lennon and The Plastic Ono Band with the Flux Fiddlers
  • 1971: The Concert for Bangladesh (co-producer) George Harrison and friends
  • 1972: Some Time in New York City (co-producer) John Lennon and Yoko Ono with Elephant's Memory plus Invisible Strings
  • 1973: Living in the Material World (co-producer) - George Harrison
  • 1975: Rock N' Roll (co-producer) John Lennon
  • 1975: Born To Be With You Dion
  • 1977: Death of a Ladies' Man Leonard Cohen
  • 1980: End of the Century Ramones
  • 1981: Season of Glass (co-producer) Yoko Ono
  • 1986: Menlove Ave. (co-producer) John Lennon
  • 1991: Back to Mono (1958-1969) (box set compilation) Various Artists
  • 2003: Silence Is Easy (co-producer) Starsailor


  • "To Know Him is to Love Him" The Teddy Bears (12/01/58, #1)
  • "Corrine, Corrina" Ray Peterson (11/21/60, #9)
  • "Pretty Little Angel Eyes" Curtis Lee (7/03/61, #7)
  • "Every Breath I Take" Gene Pitney (9/11/61, #42)
  • "I Love How You Love Me" The Paris Sisters (10/30/61, #5)
  • "Under the Moon of Love" Curtis Lee (11/27/61, #46)
  • "There's No Other (Like My Baby)" The Crystals (1/22/62, #20)
  • "I Could Have Loved You So Well" Ray Peterson (1/27/62, #57)
  • "Uptown" The Crystals (3/03/62, #13)
  • "He Knows I Love Him Too Much" The Paris Sisters (3/10/62, #34)
  • "Let Me Be the One" The Paris Sisters (5/26/62, #87)
  • "Second Hand Love" Connie Francis (6/09/62, #7)
  • "He's a Rebel" The Crystals (11/03/62, #1)
  • "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans (1/12/63, #8)
  • "He's Sure the Boy I Love" The Crystals (1/19/63, #11)
  • "Puddin' n' Tain (Ask Me Again, Ill Tell You the Same)" The Alley Cats (2/16/63, #43)
  • "Why Do Lovers Break Each Other's Heart" Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans (3/30/63, #38)
  • "(Today I Met) The Boy Im Gonna Marry" Darlene Love (5/11/63, #39)
  • "Da Doo Ron Ron (When He Walked Me Home)" The Crystals (6/08/63, #3)
  • "Not Too Young to Get Married" Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans (7/13/63, #63)
  • "Then He Kissed Me" The Crystals (8/17/63, #6)
  • "Wait Til My Bobby Gets Home" Darlene Love (9/07/63, #26)
  • "Be My Baby" The Ronettes (10/12/63, #2)
  • "A Fine, Fine Boy" Darlene Love (11/23/63, #53)
  • "Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)" Darlene Love
  • "Baby, I Love You" The Ronettes (11/63, #24)
  • "(The Best Part of) Breakin' Up" The Ronettes (5/16/64, #39)
  • "Do I Love You?" The Ronettes (8/01/64, #34)
  • "Walking in the Rain" The Ronettes (12/05/64, #23)
  • "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" The Righteous Brothers (2/06/65 #1, UK #1)
  • "Just Once in My Life" The Righteous Brothers (5/15/65, #9)
  • "Unchained Melody" The Righteous Brothers (8/28/65, #4)
  • "Ebb Tide" The Righteous Brothers (1/08/66, #5)
  • "River Deep - Mountain High" Ike and Tina Turner (6/18/66, #88 UK #3)
  • "Love is All I Have to Give" The Checkmates, Ltd. (5/03/69, #65)
  • "Black Pearl" The Checkmates, Ltd. (7/05/69, #13)
  • "Proud Mary" The Checkmates, Ltd. (11/01/69, #69)
  • "Instant Karma (We All Shine On)" John Lennon (3/28/70, #3)
  • "The Long and Winding Road"/"For You Blue" The Beatles (6/13/70, #1)
  • "My Sweet Lord" George Harrison (12/26/70, #1)
  • "What is Life" George Harrison (3/27/71, #10)
  • "Power to the People" John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (5/15/71, #11)
  • "Try Some, Buy Some" Ronnie Spector (5/22/71, #77)
  • "Bangla-Desh" George Harrison (9/11/71, #23)
  • "Imagine" John Lennon (11/13/71, #3)
  • "Rock 'n' Roll High School" Ramones (8/04/79, UK #67)
  • "Baby, I Love You" Ramones (2/04/80, UK #8)
  • "Do You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio?" Ramones (5/16/80, #54)
  • "Unchained Melody The Righteous Brothers (10/20/90 Reissue, #13)
  • "Silence is Easy" Starsailor (01/09/03, UK #8)


  • Easy Rider (The Connection)


  • I Dream of Jeannie (Himself)

Season 3, episode 6 "Jeannie, the Hip Hippie" Director: Hal Cooper Writer: Christopher Golato (a pen-name used by Sidney Sheldon) October 17, 1967[63]


  1. 1.0 1.1 (2001) The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, New York City: Oxford University Press. Entry for Spector, Phil: "b. Bronx, NY, 26 Dec 1939."
  2. California vs Phillip Spector Case no. GA048824. Retrieved on June 7, 2011. Murder indictment; see California prison system link in reference below for corrected birth year of 1940
  3. Phil Spector Biography | The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Retrieved on 2013-03-31.
  4. 4.0 4.1 (1995) The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music, New York City: Stockton Press/Guinness Publishing. Entry: "Spector, Phil. born Harvey Phillip Spector, 26 December 1939, Bronx, New York, USA."
  5. California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (Calif prison system) inmate search database; age listed calculates to a birth year of 1940, same as this Wikipedia article. Retrieved on 2013-03-31.
  6. "BMI Announces Top 100 Songs of the Century" from BMI website
  7. 7.0 7.1 Duke, Alan, Phil Spector gets 19 years to life for murder of actress,, 2009-05-29. URL accessed on 2009-05-30.
  8. Salon Brilliant Careers. Archived from the original on 2011-02-07. Retrieved on 2012-07-09.
  9. Phil Spector: Out of His Head by Richard Williams. Published in 1972.
  10. British Broadcasting Corporation (1966-03-07). Northern Ireland - Music. BBC. Retrieved on 2010-06-30. (copy from original
  11. Today in Oldies Music History - April 20 - This Day in Oldies History - April 20 in Music. (2010-06-17). Retrieved on 2010-06-30.
  12. Bronson, Fred (December 2002). Billboard's Hottest Hot 100 Hits, Watson-Guptill Publications.
  13. Larkin, Colin (March 2002). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music, Virgin Publishing.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Show 21 - Forty Miles of Bad Road: Some of the best from rock 'n' roll's dark ages. Part 2] : UNT Digital Library. (2011-10-16). Retrieved on 2011-10-28.
  15. Phil Spector | Goldmine Magazine. Retrieved on 2011-10-28.
  16. Editing the Beatles: Addressing the Roles of Authority and Editorial Theory in the Creation of Popular Music's Most Valuable Canon. K WOMACK - Text: An Interdisciplinary Annual of Textual Scholarship. 1998. University of Michigan Press.
  17. The band still namechecked Spector in the song "It's not my place (in the 9 to 5 world)" on their next album, Pleasant Dreams
  18. Devenish, Colin (June 24, 2002). Johnny Ramone Stays Tough: Ramones Guitarist Reflects on Dee Dee's Death and the Difficult Eighties. Rolling Stone. Retrieved on 2008-01-05.
  19. Phil Spector, The Ramones, And A Gun. (December 2, 2008). Retrieved on 2009-06-15.
  20. Marky Ramone: 'Phil Spector didn't hold a gun to us'. (December 2, 2008). Retrieved on 2009-06-15.
  21. Phil Spector continues work in studio. Nme.Com (2007-08-13). Retrieved on 2010-06-30.
  22. Mutya Buena. Nme.Com (2007-06-01). Retrieved on 2010-06-30.
  23. Amy Winehouse: To Know Him Is to Love Him (live). (2009-10-31). Retrieved on 2010-06-30.
  24. Phil Spector criticises Tina Turner at Ike Turner's funeral. Nme.Com. Retrieved on 2010-06-30.
  25. Vanessa Thorpe, arts and media correspondent, Phil Spector breaks his silence before second trial for murder, Music Guardian, 2008-02-18. URL accessed on 2010-06-30.
  26. Phil Gallo, The Set List blog on, January 16, 2009 via the Internet Archive. Retrieved 20 December 2011 Quote: "Wilson offered a number of observations that might surprise fans. The top 10 disclosures: 1. "Pet Sounds" was named because of the initials P.S., which stands for Phil Spector"
  27. Rock'n Roll In The Groove
  29. Brian Wilson: I Just Wasn't Made for These Times, 1996
  30. Brian Wilson - The Lowdown Audio CD (2011)
  31. Phil Spector. Retrieved on 2011-10-28.
  32. 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. Retrieved on 2010-06-30.
  33. The Immortals: Phil Spector. Rolling Stone Issue 946. Rolling Stone.
  34. Production. The Swan Archives (1974-10-04). Retrieved on 2011-10-28.
  35. Article at Retrieved on 2010-06-30.
  36. Phil Spector: The 'Mad Genius' of Rock'n'Roll,
  37. Phil Spector Jailed For 19 Years For Murdering Lana Clarkson. Retrieved on 2010-06-30.
  38. Specs a maniac, The Sun.
  39. 39.0 39.1 "Jury to hear of Spector's dubious gun history". (2005-05-25). Retrieved on 2013-03-31.
  40. BBC News, "US Spector trial to be televised", Saturday, February 17, 2007. Retrieved on 2007-03-09
  41. Archibold, Randal C., Mistrial Declared in Spector Murder Case, The New York Times, 2007-09-27. URL accessed on 2007-09-26.
  42. The Darwin Exception's complete day by day online coverage of the trial April 25, 2007
  43. Facing the music: Did Hollywood record producer Phil Spector shoot actress Lana Clarkson late at night in the hilltop mansion Spector called "The Castle"? September 12, 2007
  44. Defense expert, prosecutor spar in Phil Spector murder trial, USA Today, 2007-06-28. URL accessed on 2011-03-31.
  45. 94 A.B.A. J. 34 (2008) Full Court Coverage - What Happens When Defense Counsel and Ordinary Citizens Blog about High-Profile Trials; Ward, Stephanie Francis.
  46. Bruno, Anthony (2004-01-05). Phil Spector: The 'Mad Genius' of Rock'n'Roll. Retrieved on 2013-03-31.
  47. Phil Spector murder retrial gets underway, Jury selection begins in LA. (2008-10-21). Retrieved on 2013-03-31.
  48. Li, David K., Phil Spector Faces The Music,, 2009-04-13. URL accessed on 2010-06-30.
  49. Phil Spector convicted of murder, BBC News, April 13, 2009. URL accessed on April 13, 2009.
  50. 50.0 50.1 Phil Spector Found Guilty Of 2nd Degree Murder, AP, April 13, 2009
  51. Itzkoff, Dave. Court Denies Appeal of Spector's Murder Conviction in New York Times. Retrieved on 2013-03-31.
  52. CA Supreme Court won't hear Phil Spector appeal. Retrieved on 2011-08-17.
  53. California Supreme Court turns down Phil Spector appeal, Reuters, August 18, 2011.
  54. Phil Spector Requests Appeal From U.S. Supreme Court. Retrieved on June 21, 2012. Rolling Stone magazine online, December 16, 2011
  55. Phil Spector moved to California prison, CNN, 2009-06-24. URL accessed on May 22, 2010.
  56. Phil Spector jailed for 19 years, BBC News, May 29, 2009. URL accessed on May 22, 2010.
  57. Phil Spector gets 19 years to life for murder of actress, CNN, 2009-05-29. URL accessed on May 22, 2010.
  58. Martin Delgado (2013-03-23). Dame Helen Mirren in dock over Phil Spector drama accused of 'glorifying' the convicted killer | Mail Online. Retrieved on 2013-03-31.
  59. Gupta, P (March 15, 2013): Friends of Lana Clarkson protest HBO film Phil Spector. Retrieved March 25, 2013
  60. Spector, Ronnie Study Guide & Homework Help. Retrieved on 2013-03-31.
  61. Rachelle, Spector. Rachelle Spector Facebook. Facebook. Retrieved on 27 March 2013.
  62. Sam, Robert. Legend with a Bullet. Retrieved on 2013-03-31.
  63. Dr. Bellows cancels Tony's camping vacation when his wife cannot find a band to play at a function. Jeannie picks 4 guys (played by Boyce and Hart along with William Lewis and Steve O'Reilly) and uses her magic to make them play. Phil Spector, who is credited in this episode as "Steve Davis", guest stars as himself. Boyce and Hart also perform the tune, "Out and About", which reached number 39 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1967.

Further reading

  • Tearing Down the Wall of Sound: The Rise and Fall of Phil Spector, by Mick Brown, ISBN 0-7475-7243-7. Blast from the past. The X-Pat Files. Review of Tearing Down The Wall Of Sound: The Rise And Fall Of Phil Spector. Garceau, Scott. November 12, 2008. The Philippine Star
  • He's a Rebel: The Truth About Phil Spector Rock and Roll's Legendary Madman, by Mark Ribowsky; ISBN 0-306-81471-4.
  • "The First Tycoon of Teen", Tom Wolfe (magazine article reprinted in The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby; ISBN 0-553-38058-3, and in the Back to Mono liner notes.)
  • Out of His Head, by Richard Williams; ISBN 0-7119-9864-7
  • Wall of Pain: The Biography of Phil Spector, by Dave Thompson. ISBN 1-86074-543-1
  • Always Magic in the Air: The Bomp and Brilliance of the Brill Building Era, by Ken Emerson, (ISBN 0-670-03456-8)
  • Fuel-Injected Dreams (novel whose central character is based on Phil Spector), by James Robert Baker. ISBN 0-452-25815-4

External links

  • In pictures: Phil Spector. Los Angeles Times photo gallery of Phil Spector during the Clarkson trials and through the decades. May 29, 2009



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This article uses material from the article Phil Spector from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia and it is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.