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Phil Spector - Musician, Producer

Will manic career end with murder charge?


Updated June 01, 2009

Phil Spector at his sentencing

Phil Spector at his sentencing

Getty Images / Pool

by Kimberly Read

Harvey Phillip Spector was born December 26, 1940, in the Bronx of New York City, New York. His distinguished career in the music industry was launched in 1958 with the chart-topping hit, "To Know Him Is To Love Him," which he recorded as a member of the Teddy Bears. While his stint as a performer was rather short-lived, Spector continued to rock this industry as a both a composer and producer. As a matter of fact, he is "arguably pop's most distinctive record producer" (VH1). He is the creator of the production technique dubbed "The Wall of Sound," which involves "overdubbing scores of musicians to create a massive roar" (History of Rock & Roll). In 1989, Phil was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. See below for a list of some of his most successful productions.

Phil Spector is undoubtedly endowed with creativity in the extreme and, as is so often the case, bipolar disorder. Mary E. Williams, a journalist for Salon, wrote in an article entitled "Brilliant Careers" that Spector is known for "taking tunes suffused with great tenderness and injecting them with a blast of utter torment." In an interview he is quoted as saying, "I consider myself a disturbed human being, but I'm under control. I've been blessed with a genius, but I've been punished with insomnia and manic depression. I've fought the devil for 20 years" (Observer). In this same interview he also noted that for six years he had been experimenting with a cocktail of medication that would not obstruct his creativity.

Spector's life clearly shows the roller coaster ride of manic depression - the suicide of his father, highly successful music, stories of drugs and guns, millionaire by the age of 21, reclusive years in his mansion, two Grammy awards.

In April of 2009 Spector was found guilty of second-degree murder in the shooting death of a woman at his estate. He was sentence in May to 19 years to life, and will not be eligible for parole until he is 88 years old. It's a tragic chapter in a brilliant but difficult life.

Some of Spector's Best-Known Productions

ArtistSong Title
Ray Peterson"Corinna, Corinna"
Ben E. King"Spanish Harlem"
Gene Pitney"Every Breath I Take"
Curtis Lee"Pretty Little Angel Eyes"
The Paris Sisters"I Love How You Love Me"
The Crystals"There's No Other"
"He Hit Me"
"He's A Rebel"
"Da Doo Ron Ron"
"Then He Kissed Me"
"He's Sure the Boy I Love"
"Santa Claus is Coming to Town"
The Ronettes"Be My Baby"
"Baby I Love You"
"Breakin' Up"
"Walking in the Rain"
Darlene Love"The Boy I'm Gonna Marry"
"Wait 'til My Bobby Gets Home"
Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans"Zip-a-Dee Doo-Dah
Righteous Brothers"You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling"
Ike and Tina Turner"River Deep, Mountain High"

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