Famed Music Producer Phil Spector Dead at 81

Legendary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame music producer Phil Spector, credited with creating The Wall of Sound and producing the Beatles’ final album, died on Saturday, January 16, of natural causes. News of his passing was first reported by TMZ. He was 81.

Photo: California Department of Corrections. Phil Spector in 2013.

Spector had been serving a 19-to-life prison sentence for a 2009 second-degree murder conviction of B-movie actress Lana Clarkson in 2003.  He was an inmate at the California Health Care Facility in Stockton, California, having been transferred there following a positive diagnosis for COVID-19 while serving his time in prison. Spector would have been eligible for parole in 2024.

The New York-born Spector found early success in 1958 as co-founder, guitarist, and vocalist of pop group The Teddy Bears. Spector wrote the band’s number-one single “To Know Him Is to Love Him.”

Source: Wikipedia The Teddy Bears. Phil Spector, Marshall Leib and Carol Conners

Spector found his greatest success in the ’60s when he founded the Philles Records label at the age of 21. After establishing his name as a writer and producer in the Los Angeles music scene, Spector would go on to work with some of the biggest names in music. He is credited for writing and producing records for legendary  acts such as The Righteous Brothers, The Ronettes, The Crystals, and Ike & Tina Turner.

Phil Spector circa 1965 – Michael Ochs Archives

The brilliant and often eccentric music visionary is credited with developing The Wall of Sound, sometimes referred to as Spector Sound, a studio music production technique of merging vocal harmonies with lavish orchestral arrangements that when combined would create a unique unparalleled sound that played well on records and the radio.

In 1970, he produced Let It Be, The Beatles’ final studio album. It was at that time that John Lennon left the Beatles and began to work his solo projects in 1970; Spector would go on to work with the former Beatle and produce some of his greatest works, including “Imagine” and “Instant Karma.”

He was inducted into the Rock and Roll hall of fame in 1989. Here are some of the albums he produced or co-produced:

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