Prolific Producer + Convicted Murderer Phil Spector Has Died
Prolific music producer Phil Spector has died at the age of 81. Though known for producing a string of hits in the '60s and '70s, Spector's spent the end of his life in jail after being sentenced in 2009 for the second-degree murder of actress Lana Clarkson.
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation issued a statement confirming Spector's death. It reads as follows:
California Health Care Facility inmate Phillip Spector, 80, was pronounced deceased of natural causes at 6:35 p.m. on Saturday, January 16, 2021, at an outside hospital. His official cause of death will be determined by the medical examiner in the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office.
Spector was admitted from Los Angeles County on June 5, 2009, for second-degree murder. He had been sentenced to 19 years to life for the shooting death of actress Lana Clarkson.
Before his incarceration, Spector was an influential record producer, musician and songwriter best known for developing a music production technique called the “wall of sound.”
It was not revealed why the Department of Corrections listed a different age for Spector. TMZ had recently reported that the producer had been recently hospitalized with COVID complications, but an official cause of death was not given. As revealed in the death statement, Spector was often credited with his "wall of sound" producing style.
His producing resume includes work with '60s acts The Crystals, The Ronettes, Ike & Tina Turner on full albums, while also producing such hits as Curtis Lee's "Pretty Little Angel Eyes," Darlene Love's "Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)," and The Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin" and "Unchained Melody."
He later would go on to work with The Beatles on their Let It Be album and continued relationships with the band's members after their split co-producing albums for John Lennon and George Harrison in the '70s. His credits also include records for the Ramones, Leonard Cohen, Yoko Ono and Dion before finishing his producing career in 2003 as a co-producer on Brit rock band Starsailor's Silence Is Easy album.
Check out some of Spector's production work below.
Ronettes, "Be My Baby"
The Righteous Brothers, "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'"
John Lennon, "Imagine"
George Harrison, "What Is Life?"
Ramones, "Rock & Roll High School"
Starsailor, "Silence Is Easy"