Phil Spector Dead at 81

The man who created the “Wall of Sound” production system that led to numerous hit pop music acts has gone on to that great big music studio in the sky (although his 2009 conviction for the 2003 death of actress Lana Clarkson could prove problematic for his home in the hereafter).

Phil Spector in later years

Anyone who is even remotely familiar with the pop music scene of the 1960s knows the name Phil Spector, a musical genius who created his legendary “Wall of Sound.” Spector’s work at the Gold Star Studio saw him and his talented crew take pop music to a new level as he utilized the possibilities of a music studio, making it (as critics would later describe) into an instrument in its own right.

A 2007 article by Richard Buskin at Sound on Sound describes Spector’s work and legacy:

Writer Tom Wolfe labelled him The First Tycoon of Teen, many of his work colleagues described him as a genius, and assorted others asserted that he was a certifiable lunatic. Phil Spector was all of these and more during his heyday in the early ’60s, writing and producing a string of classic pop singles that introduced the world to his famed ‘Wall of Sound’ while directing a stable of highly talented artists in an autocratic style reminiscent of movie dictators like Cecil B DeMille.

Whether or not Spector was dictatorial or merely a perfectionist, his results were impressive as his production work led to a slew of singles that broke into the top ten ranging from the #1 single “To Know Him is to Love Him” to the #4 hit “Unchained Melody.” Throughout his career, Spector worked with pop acts such as the Ronettes and the Crystals. Spector worked with a diverse set of performers including George Harrison, Ike and Tina Turner, and the Ramones. Spector’s incredible studio work would influence performers such as the Beatles, the Velvet Underground, and numerous others.

More recently, Mr. Spector was dealing with the Prison Wall of Sound as he was serving 19 years to life for his 2009 conviction for second-degree murder. According to a report from the BBC:

His death was confirmed by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

“California Health Care Facility inmate Phillip Spector was pronounced deceased of natural causes at 6:35 p.m. on Saturday, January 16, 2021, at an outside hospital. His official cause of death will be determined by the medical examiner in the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office,” it said.

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Mike Rickard II

Retired bank robber and author of "Wrestling's Greatest Moments", "Laughing All the Way to the Bank Robbery, "Flunky: Pawns and Kings," and "Don't Call Me Bush Beans: The Legend of a Three-Legged Cat." Pro wrestling and hockey fan. Hired gun for several pro wrestling sites and a top 10 YouTube wrestling channel. Available in regular and extra-strength.

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