How far he has fallen...

Today brought news that rock and roll madman/genius, Phil Spector, was sentenced for murdering his young lover one Los Angeles morning in his kitchen. It was the second trial for the 2003 crime of passion and brings to a close a wild, brilliant and creative career that has fallen so far. He is 69 years old.

I remember buying one of Spector's 45s back in the day, Bob B Soxx and the Blue Jeans' version of "Zippodee Doodah" - a goofy tune reworked from Walt Disney's "Song of the South" movie that Spector made all soulful. Drenched in what would be called his classic "wall of sound" style, it made your body want to move. Like many teenage boys, I was in lust with both the Crystals and the Ronettes when they did their passionate babe tunes like "He's a Rebel," "Be My Baby" or "Leader of the Pack." And still feel crazy every time my all time favorite was "Da Do Run Run" comes on the radio.


And when Spector brought his magic to the Righteous Brothers - two blue-eyed soul white boys singing "so righteously" as one Black DJ said that they had to be black - I was gone. I still can't get enough of "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling!" It is a perfect song on every level... one of the true genre bending blessings of the mid 60s that pushed pop songs deeper into beauty and complexity. (See the Wiki note re: the fight over its length at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/You%27ve_Lost_That_Lovin%27_Feelin%27)


Spector's touch was golden for many others, too: he created the sound Springsteen was searching for on his break through album, "Born to Run," he helped Tina Turner record her rock and soul masterpiece, "River Deep, Mountain High," he produced the Beatles' final album, "Let It Be" when they were in a mess and he added his gifts to George Harrison's "All Things Must Pass" and John Lennon's anti-war song, "Happy Christmas: War Is Over."

And his influence isn't forgotten: just this morning the New York Times, for example, referenced his sound in the work of Brooklyn indie band, Grizzly Bear." His attention to detail, the layering of sound and the stunning beauty of his recordings are a true gift to all who love this music.


Clearly he needs to serve his time for stealing the life of another through murder. Anyone who has watched his career knows, however, that this rock and roll bad boy has been troubled most of his life - and alcohol, drugs and lots of money didn't help. Now we see how far this true genius has fallen...

Comments

Black Pete said…
Let's not forget Unchained Melody: he could do "less is more", too.

This is a time of grief. We so often revere monsters...
Black Pete said…
PS: I will always be in his debt for Happy Christmas: The War is over. It is hands down the best new Christmas song to come down the pike in 100 years.
RJ said…
Absolutely, Peter. All his work moved me... and he was SOOOO broken, too. What a happy/sad combination of beauty and horror, yes?

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