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Music producer Phil Spector dies while serving life sentence for murder

Former music producer and convicted murderer Phil Spector passed away from COVID-19 at 81 years old.

The Wall of Sound creator Phil Spector was diagnosed with Covid-19 nearly four weeks ago while serving a life sentence for the murder of Lana Clarkson.

After making a recovery, Spector was discharged from hospital, however, his condition worsened upon return. The producer ultimately died from complications with the virus.

john lennon, phil spector
Image: Pinterest, Arlene Murphy

Spector was considered a rock music pioneer, helping to reinvent pop of the ’60s. The producer worked with artists such as The Beach Boys, The Beatles, Ray Peterson, and The Crystals.

His most memorable work included Then He Kissed Me (The Crystals), Be My Baby (The Ronettes), Today I Met, the Boy I’m Gonna Marry (Darlene Love) and Let it Be (The Beatles).

Spector was also credited for developing the Wall of Sound recording technique in the ’60s, created by multiple musicians reverberating instruments in unison – resulting in the sound that could be re-recorded in an echo chamber.

Despite his legendary reputation and induction into the Roll & Roll Hall of Fame in 1989, Spector shot his career to the dark on a path of heavy drinking and gunplay.

In February 2003, he met hostess Lana Clarkson at the House of Blues. Clarkson was killed by a shot to the mouth from Spector’s gun two hours later at his Los Angeles home. Although Spector defended his innocence stating that Clarkson shot herself in an unexplainable suicide, he was charged with second-degree murder in 2009.

Spector was known for carrying a gun on his person prior to the murder, having it in recording booths when he worked. He was also reported to have fired a shot during an intense recording session with John Lennon.

Ex-wife and former frontwoman of The Ronettes, Ronnie Spector, released a statement on Instagram this morning commenting on Spector’s death. She spoke with admiralty on the time spent with Spector in the recording studio: “he was in complete control, directing everyone… unfortunately Phil was not able to live and function outside of the recording studio.”

“He was a brilliant producer, but a lousy husband… many lives were damaged,” she said.

Ronnie puts it wisely when she stated that she still smiles on the music Spector created, despite the darkness that he fell into.