Phil Spector, a sound engineer who once revolutionized music and collaborated with Lennon, Cohen and Tina Turner, died while serving time for murder, according to The New York Times. Four weeks ago, 81-year-old Spector was diagnosed with covid and transferred from prison to hospital, where he died last Saturday from complications.
Spector was born in the Bronx into a Russian family. When he was eight, his father committed suicide, and this greatly affected the boy. He began his musical career as a guitarist, but soon moved on to sound producers. Spector's ideas turned out to be revolutionary for their time. He invented the "wall of sound" - a recording technique in which repeatedly recorded vocals and instrumental parts were superimposed on each other and subjected to careful processing, so that the result was a stereophonic musical canvas. Spector himself called his recordings "little symphonies for children" and likened them to Wagner's operas.
Thanks to his innovation, by the age of 20, Spector turned out to be a producer of two dozen singles, which became number one hits, and a millionaire. He was the first ever star-studded sound producer: Spector's name was as high-profile as the names of the musicians he recorded. John Lennon, who invited Spector to record the Beatles' latest album, Let It Be, and then his song Imagine, called him "the greatest sound producer of all time".
By the mid-1970s, Spector had retired from music, returning to producing only in exceptional cases, such as recording the albums Death of a Ladies' Man by Leonard Cohen and End of the Century by The Ramones. In 1989, Spector was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. As it turned out later, all this time he had problems with alcohol and weapons, which surfaced only after he killed a man in 2003.
In the late 1960s, he married Ronnie Bennett, the lead singer of the popular group Ronettes. They adopted three children, but lived only six years: later Bennett recalled in her memoirs that Spector locked her in their mansion and threatened that if she decided to leave him, he would kill her and put her in a golden coffin - the coffin was really standing ready in the basement... According to Bennett, Spector felt fine only in the recording studio: as soon as he retired from work, demons took over his mind.
In February 2003, he was arrested on suspicion of murder. In one of the Los Angeles nightclubs, Spector met the aspiring actress Lana Clarkson and after a night of drinking brought her to his home. Spector's personal chauffeur was still in the car when he heard the clap, and then he saw the owner with a revolver in his hands. “I think I killed someone”, said the producer. Clarkson's body was found in the lobby of his house with a single bullet wound to the head, which was fatal. Spector's defense tried to prove that the actress had committed suicide, but the jury unanimously found him guilty, and in 2009 the producer was sentenced to 19 years in prison.
In 2013, HBO released Phil Spector, a television movie about the high-profile trial, Al Pacino starring.