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Phil Spector is best known for writing several No. 1 hit songs, and for being convicted of the murder of Lana Clarkson.
Phil Spector - Family Issues (2:11)
In 2009, Phil Spector was convicted of the murder of actress Lana Clarkson, and received a 19-year prison sentence.
Phil Spector's many personal issues had taken a large toll on his then wife, Ronnie Spector, and their three children.
After his career had taken a downturn, Phil Spector got the chance to produce the Beatles final album, "Let It Be" and turned his career around.
Sonny Bono got his start in the music industry as Phil Spector's right hand man in the studio.
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Phil Spector was born in New York City on December 26, 1940. Spector got his first hit song while still in high school with a group called The Teddy Bears. Spector went on to write and produce multiple number one songs in the US and UK, also developing the "Wall of Sound" technique. In 2009, Spector was convicted of the murder of Lana Clarkson, and received a 19-year prison sentence.
"The gun went off accidentally."
Phil Spector was born Harvey Philip Spector on December 26, 1940, in New York City. When Spector was 9 years old, his father committed suicide. His grieving family moved to Los Angeles in 1953.
Spector attended Fairfax High School, where he learned how to play the guitar and started writing songs. During his time at Fairfax, he met fellow students Marshall Leib, Harvey Goldstein and Annette Kleinbard. Together they formed the music group The Teddy Bears, and had a No.1 hit in the United States and the United Kingdom with "To Know Him Is To Love Him." The title of the song was taken from the inscription on Spector's father's grave.
The Teddy Bears seemed destined for fame, but their next single, "I Don't Need You Anymore" only reached No. 91 on the charts. Proceeding singles proved to be even less successful, and the band split up in 1959.
After the group went their separate ways, Spector drifted around a little, then returned to Los Angeles and re-entered the record business to concentrate on producing.
With the help of independent producers, Lester Sill and Lee Hazlewood, Spector went to New York and worked with hit-makers Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. He became a staff producer for Dune Records, where he produced a string of hits and became an industry sensation. In 1961, Spector and Still formed their own label, Philles Records. The partners signed on the group The Crystals, whose first single, "There's No Other (Like My Baby)" made it to No. 20 on the Billboard chart. Their next release, "Uptown," hit No. 13.
By the age of 21, Spector was a millionaire who was responsible for producing 20 consecutive smash hits. During this time, he started to work on his "Wall of Sound" technique in earnest. The "Wall" approach to production involved a process of overdubbing scores of musicians to make a full sound. The effect created a "roar," which Spector described as the "Wagnerian approach to rock 'n' roll." This style served to make Spector even more famous in the music industry, and many iconic artists would begin imitating this technique in future years, including The Beach Boys and Bruce Springsteen.
But life wasn't unfolding exactly as Spector had hoped. In 1966, he produced Ike and Tina Turner's single "River Deep, Mountain High." Spector considered it his greatest production to date. While it placed at No. 3 on the U.K. pop charts, it peaked at No. 88 in the U.S. Embittered, Spector went into seclusion for two years, during which time there were reports of strange, near-psychotic behavior. He did very little for the rest of the '60s.
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