Artist News Industry People

Phil Spector dies

By | Published on Monday 18 January 2021

Phil Spector

Music producer and convicted murderer Phil Spector has died, aged 81. The cause of his death has not been confirmed, but he was diagnosed with COVID-19 last month.

Spector was convicted in 2009 of the murder of actor Lana Clarkson at his Beverly Hills mansion six years earlier. She had accompanied him back to his home in early 2003 after meeting the producer in a club where she worked. At some point during the night she was shot dead.

The producer claimed that Clarkson had taken one of his guns and shot herself, while the prosecution argued it was he who pulled the trigger, probably by accident. They paraded a string of other women before the jury who said that Spector had at some point pulled a gun on them too during late night liaisons.

At the first trial, the jury couldn’t reach a unanimous decision, but on second hearing he was found guilty and handed a minimum nineteen year prison sentence, which he was still serving at the time of his death.

Prior to his conviction, Spector was one of the most successful and best known music producers of all time. He made a name for himself with his “wall of sound” production technique, building up dense layers of harmonies and orchestral instruments, which produced a string of pop hits in the 1960s and became highly influential too.

Music-wise, Spector is possibly still best known for his work with 1960s girl groups The Crystals and The Ronettes, but he also worked with artists including The Righteous Brothers and The Beatles. As well as producing the latter’s final album, ‘Let It Be’, he also worked on various solo projects by George Harrison and John Lennon.

From 1968 to 1974, Spector was married to Ronettes vocalist Ronnie Spector, his second wife. She later accused him of subjecting her to years of abuse, and said that she had given up all future recording royalties and custody of their three adopted children in their divorce settlement because Spector had threatened to hire a hitman to kill her if she did not.

In a statement posted on Instagram following the announcement of her ex-husband’s death, Ronnie Spector says: “It’s a sad day for music and a sad day for me. When I was working with Phil Spector, watching him create in the recording studio, I knew I was working with the very best. He was in complete control, directing everyone. So much to love about those days”.

“Meeting him and falling in love was like a fairytale”, she goes on. “The magical music we were able to make together was inspired by our love. I loved him madly, and gave my heart and soul to him”.

However, she continues: “As I said many times while he was alive, he was a brilliant producer, but a lousy husband. Unfortunately, Phil was not able to live and function outside of the recording studio. Darkness set in, many lives were damaged”.

Nevertheless, she concludes, “I still smile whenever I hear the music we made together, and always will. The music will be forever”.