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Biography

  • Born

    26 December 1939

  • Born In

    The Bronx, New York, New York, United States

  • Died

    16 January 2021 (aged 81)

Phil Spector (born Harvey Phillip Spector in The Bronx, New York City, on 26 December 1939; died 16 January 2021) was an American former record producer, musician, and songwriter who developed the Wall of Sound, a music production formula he described as a Wagnerian approach to rock and roll. Spector is remembered as amongst the most influential figures in pop music history and as the first auteur of the music industry for the unprecedented control he had over every phase of the recording process. In 2009, he was convicted for the 2003 murder of the actress Lana Clarkson. He died in prison.

The originator of the production technique, Spector was a pioneer of the 1960s girl group sound (The Ronettes and The Crystals a.o.) and produced over twenty-five Top 40 hits between 1960 and 1965 alone. After this initial success, Spector later worked with artists including Ike and Tina Turner, John Lennon, George Harrison, and the Ramones with similar acclaim.

He produced the Beatles' Academy Award-winning album Let It Be, and the Grammy Award-winning Concert for Bangladesh by former Beatle George Harrison. In 1989, Spector was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a non-performer. The 1965 song You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin', produced and co-written by Spector for The Righteous Brothers, is listed by BMI as the song with the most U.S. airplay in the 20th century.

Dubbed the "First Tycoon of Teen", Spector's records helped engender the role of the studio as an instrument, the integration of pop art aesthetics into music (art pop), and the art rock genre. His multi-artist compilation album "A Christmas Gift for You from Philles Records" (1963) is widely considered to be the finest Christmas record of all time. Spector's honors include the 1973 Grammy Award for Album of the Year for co-producing Harrison's Concert for Bangladesh (1971), a 1989 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and a 1997 induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Spector number 63 on their list of the greatest artists in history.

The 2003 shooting death of actress Lana Clarkson in his Alhambra, California home led to his being charged with murder in the second degree. After a 2007 mistrial, he was convicted in 2009 and given a prison sentence of 19 years to life. Spector died in prison due to complications of the COVID-19 virus.

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