Phil Spector went from being a musical genius and one of the most influential pop producers of all time to serving life in prison for murder.
He enjoyed a stellar career as a pop innovator behind hits like Da Doo Ron Ron and You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling, but in 2003 he was accused of killing actress Lana Clarkson.
She died of a gunshot fired into her mouth while she was in Spector’s mansion.
After a trial in 2009, he was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to 19 years to life.
Spector was famed for originating the “Wall Of Sound” production technique, layering instruments and arrangements to create a dense, echoing sound. He was credited with redefining and revitalising rock‘n’roll during its early-60s slump.
Spector – who has been branded an eccentric, a recluse, an obsessive and a nightmare to work with – was a pioneer of the 1960s girl-group sound and racked up more than 25 US Top 40 hits between 1960 and 1965.
He went on to work with artists including Ike and Tina Turner, The Beatles, Cher and the Ramones. In 1989, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The 1965 song You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’, which Spector co-wrote, is listed as the record with the most US airplay in the 20th century. He produced the original version, which was performed by The Righteous Brothers.
While most sources give Spector’s birth year as 1940, it was listed as 1939 in court documents following his arrest, and his lawyer subsequently confirmed that date to The Associated Press.
In high school, Spector picked up guitar and piano and began writing songs with a classmate. He formed a band, the Teddy Bears, with a third friend, and they had a Top 10 hit with To Know Him Is to Love Him. The song was inspired by the inscription on the gravestone of his father Benjamin, who took his own life in 1949. By the time he was 21, Spector was a millionaire.
In the early Sixties, he worked with artists including Ben E King, Gene Pitney and the Paris Sisters. He worked on hits including Da Doo Ron Ron, Then He Kissed Me, Be My Baby and Unchained Melody.
When Ike and Tina Turner’s River Deep, Mountain High, was a commercial failure, Spector closed down his record label, Philles Records.
He was increasingly out of the public eye but he went on to produce The Beatles’ final album Let it Be, released in 1970. He also worked with John Lennon on Imagine and produced George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass.
After 23 years, Spector came out of retirement in 2003 to work with UK band Starsailor on their album Silence Is Easy. But he brought with him a reputation for eccentric recording habits and a fascination with guns.
Spector divorced Veronica Bennett, a member of the Ronettes, in 1974, and in 2006 he married Rachelle Short, a 28-year-old former Playboy model and aspiring actress.
In 2017, a newly-taken mugshot of Spector in prison showed him completely free of the huge hair that was so striking during his trial.
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