Personalities | Phil Spector | Sixties | Rock
(Producer, b. 1939)
Phil Spector devised a studio recording technique he called ‘symphonies for the kids’, which had considerable success in the 1960s and became known as the Wall of Sound. Characterized by mono production, it had fantastically rich choral and orchestral layering (sometimes as many as 300 musicians) behind the vocals of the titular performers he worked with.
Best remembered for his girl groups The Crystals and The Ronettes (who appear on his classic 1963 LP A Christmas Gift For You), he perfected his approach on The Righteous Brothers’ 1965 ‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’’ and Ike and Tina Turner’s 1966 ‘River Deep – Mountain High’. The latter’s US chart failure (it reached No. 3 in Britain) shattered Spector, and he became a notoriously eccentric recluse. He has since made rare comebacks (notably with George Harrison and The Ramones). Respect for his often-imitated innovations has been overshadowed by his 2003 arrest for murder. After a 2007 mistrial, he was convicted in 2009 and given a prison sentence of 19 years to life.
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