Music producer Phil Spector has died from Covid-19, aged 81.
Spector is renowned for two reasons. Firstly, for dramatically changing the sound of pop music – providing a fresh, classical approach to rock’n’roll, later often referred to as the ‘Wall of Sound’. He worked with artists as prolific as Tina Turner, The Righteous Brothers, and most notably, The Beatles. Secondly, he was known for having killed an actress, Lana Clarkson.
Spector was serving his prison sentence for the murder of Clarkson when he died of coronavirus complications on Saturday.
In a statement to the media, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said Spector had died of natural causes but it is reported by TMZ that he had contracted Covid-19 about a month ago, was beginning to recover, than began having trouble breathing over the recent weekend.
Spector was born Harvey Phillip Spector in the Bronx, New York, and began his career as co-founder, guitarist and vocalist for doo-wop outfit, The Teddy Bears. The band’s single To Know Him, Is To Love Him spent three weeks at number in 1958 and lead to Spector meeting prominent people in the music industry.
He produced the Gene Pitney hit Every Breath I Take in 1961, Connie Francis’s Second Hand Love in 1962, The Righteous Brothers’ Unchained Melody in 1965, and the Beatles’s The Long And Winding Road in 1970, along with much of the Let It Be album.
Spector also worked with artists as diverse as Leonard Cohen, Cher, and even punk rockers, The Ramones.
From the mid-1970s, Spector lived a quieter life – in terms of music production, at least. Behind closed doors, things were noisier than the public knew. After marrying Ronettes singer Veronica “Ronnie” Bennett, reports have since surfaced that Spector would beat his wife and torment her psychologically, making her a virtual captive in their home.
While Phil Spector’s life was chequered with dark instances, much of the music he helped create is certain to live on.
10 songs you may not have realised were produced by Phil Spector:
Ike & Tina Turner – River Deep, Mountain High
The Ronettes – I Can Hear Music (later covered by The Beach Boys)
John Lennon – Instant Karma
George Harrison – My Sweet Lord
Darlene Love – Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
The Crystals – Then He Kissed Me
Leonard Cohen – Don’t Go Home With Your Hard-On
The Righteous Brothers – You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling
The Ramones – Rock’n’Roll High School
John Lennon & Yoko Ono – Happy Xmas (War Is Over)