Phillip Harvey “Phil” Spector (born Harvey Phillip Spector on December 26, 1939/1940) is an American 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 sometimes characterized as “the first tycoon of teen“, and is considered the first auteur among musical artists, acting not only as a producer, but also the creative director, writing or choosing the material and masterminding all phases of the recording process. He is acknowledged as one of the most influential figures in pop music history.
Spector began his career in 1958 as the producer and co-founder of the Teddy Bears, performing on guitar and vocals, and penning their US number one single “To Know Him Is to Love Him“. At the height of his success, he wrote, co-wrote, or produced for girl groups such as the Ronettes and the Crystals, and later, the Beatles‘ John Lennon and George Harrison – often using the Los Angeles conglomerate “the Wrecking Crew” as his de facto house band. Spector’s other chart-topping singles include “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” (the Righteous Brothers, 1964), “The Long and Winding Road” (the Beatles, 1970), and “My Sweet Lord” (Harrison, 1970). By the mid 1970s, Spector had produced more than thirty US Top 40 singles for various artists, but following sporadic work with Leonard Cohen, Dion DiMucci, and the Ramones, he remained largely inactive.
From 2007–09, Spector was the subject of a trial and retrial for the 2003 murder of actress Lana Clarkson, of which he was convicted in the second degree. He is serving a prison sentence of 19 years to life and will be 88 years old before becoming eligible for parole.
In 2008, The Washington Times named Spector the second greatest record producer in music history. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked him #63 on their list of the “Greatest Artists of All Time”. In their 2003 list of “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time“, they included the Spector-produced Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes (1964), A Christmas Gift for You (1963), and Back to Mono (1991). According to BMI, “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” (co-written and produced by Spector) is the song that received the most US airplay in the 20th century. For co-producing Harrison’s Concert for Bangladesh (1971), Spector earned the Grammy Award for Album of the Year. In 1989, Spector was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a nonperformer. In 1997, he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
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