Phil Spector, preeminent music producer and architect of the famed "Wall of Sound" made popular by such artists as The Ronettes, The Righteous Brothers and John Lennon, was sentenced to 19 years in a California jail this past Friday for his alleged part in the death of ladyfriend Lana Clarkson in early 2003.
It's been a long and strange road to jail for Spector. Since his 2003 arrest for the murder, he has fired numerous high-profile defense attorneys, including former O.J. Simpson defender Robert Shapiro. His daily appearances in court were media fodder, with him coming in looking like someone's grandmother one day, and returning the next with a hairdo that would make the "Bride of Frankenstein" shriek with envy.
It's a sad end for a man who, in his prime, influenced so many and is responsible for innumerable amounts of legendary music. Folks like the Beach Boys, Leonard Cohen and Bruce Springsteen all attempted to replicate his multi-tracked orchestral sound for their own releases. Inadvertently, he could also be hailed as creating "shoegaze," with bands like My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive creating their own "walls of sound" on records and during ear-numbing live sets.
The producer's temper was a hot one, as many artists have attested to throughout his career. Many blame a 1974 head injury on his increasingly erratic behavior. He held wife Ronnie Spector prisoner in the couple's house on many occasions during their stormy marriage. Members of the Ramones described recording sessions with him for 1980's End of the Century as chaotic and violent, with handguns routinely appearing in Spector's hand.
Spector turned 69 this past December, making a nearly 20-year sentence almost a life sentence. We compiled a few videos of Spector's work to remember the genius and artistry, not the diminutive weirdo wielding firearms.
The Ronettes "Be My Baby"
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The Righteous Brothers "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'"
The Ramones "Do You Remember Rock N' Roll Radio?"