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Phil Spector, Wall Of Sound Music Producer, Murderer, Dies At 81

18 January 2021 Entertainment


Producer Phil Spector, the legendary studio revolutionary of the ’60s and ’70s who ended his life imprisoned for a 2003 murder, has died. He was 81.

“Phillip Spector, 80, 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,” read the statement from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

It was not immediately clear why the prison system listed a different age.

TMZ reported that he had recently been hospitalized with COVID complications.

Biographer Richard Williams noted that Spector single-handedly “turned the producer from an obscure backroom boy…into a figure whose function paralleled that of a film director.”

Spector’s lucrative run of ’60s hits on his Philles label with the Crystals, Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans, Darlene Love, the Righteous Brothers and the Ronettes led Tom Wolfe to dub him “the First Tycoon of Teen” in a celebrated 1964 profile.

The resounding flop of his 1966 magnum opus, Ike & Tina Turner’s “River Deep, Mountain High,” threw his career off track, but he rebounded with a controversial remix of the Beatles’ “Let It Be” and productions for John Lennon and George Harrison.

Spector, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989, did little work from the early ’80s on, as tales of his increasingly erratic and violent behavior spread in the industry.

On Feb. 3, 2003, he was arrested after actress Lana Clarkson was found shot to death in his home. After a 2007 mistrial, Spector was retried in 2009 and convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 19 years in prison.

He was born Harvey Phillip Spector in the Bronx. When he was 8, his father killed himself, and his mother later moved the family to Los Angeles, where he began attending Fairfax High in 1954.

The school’s alumni included songwriters Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who would play an important role in his early career.




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