Phil Spector: Listening to 15 Songs From a Violent Legacy


Phil Spector died Saturday as an inmate in California, convicted of the 2003 murder of Lana Clarkson. By then, other facts had emerged about his volatile, erratic, gun-toting behavior, notably in Ronnie Spector’s 1990 memoir, ‘Be My Baby,’ which detailed his abuses during their seven-year marriage. Some listeners may well decide that all of his music is poisoned. But it is also inextricable from pop history. It was decades earlier, in the early 1960s, when Spector made the hits that he famously described as ‘little symphonies for the kids,’ packing brash innovation into three-minute melodramas, treating adolescent romance as a universe of rapture and tragedy. He brought dozens of musicians and singers into the studio to perform together, doubling parts for heft and impact and pushing mixes to the brink of distortion, to create his Wall of Sound. He gathered songwriters who could convincingly capture female longing and desire for his girl groups to deliver. And he found singers — many of them ambitious Black teenagers — who would supercharge those songs with gospel spirit. After his prodigious hit-making streak in the early 1960s, Spector found admirers eager to work with him during the 1970s: the Beatles (collectively and individually), the Ramones, even Leonard Cohen. Then Spector withdrew from music almost completely for the next decades. …”
NY Times (Video)

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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