“See the way he walks down the street…” (click here to read the entire story)
…and until they prove anything- a free man.
Phil Spector, before becoming the “Tycoon of Teen”- was part of a pop music trio called “The Teddy Bears” which also included Marshall Leib and Annette Kleinbard. A young Spector wrote and produced his first number one record (and million seller) entitled “To Know Him Is To Love Him”, which was inspired by the epitath written on his father’s tombstone. At the age of 19, he was already worth a million bucks- literally. Here’s Phil, Annette and Marshall in an early publicity shot… uhm, I mean photo, don’t say shot.
“The Teddy Bears” (left to right) Phil, Annette & Marshall.
After the group stopped performing together, Phil turned his efforts to writing and producing. One of my many favorites that Phil had a hand in, was the Ben E. King classic “Spanish Harlem”. The way his voice wraps around the those words written by Spector is something else…its magic. While Phil produced so many of the acts on the Philles label- that amazing sound within Gold Star Studios (in Hollywood, CA) is what would become “little symphonies for the kids” and get tons of airplay while earning his artists a spot on American Bandstand. Phil Spector- while doing what he loved with such passion, was adding his touch to the soundtrack of the sixties.
Back up vocalists for Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound- “The Blossoms”.
Some of the groups he produced are among some of my personal favorites of all time. The Crystals (even if the song was really recorded by Darlene Love with the Blossoms doing back up vocals), The Ronettes, Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans, The Righteous Brothers and on and on. All of those groups and the songs they did are such classic material. Phil mixed and matched some of his groups depending on availability. It wasn’t unusual for other artist to come in and add background vocals to a track along with (or instead of) the original members of the group. I love hearing “Be My Baby” by the Ronettes and listening carefully to hear a young Cherilyn Sarkisian chanting “be my…be my babyyyyy” and then a few months later she was singing lead on her own records with her new boyfriend Sonny- as she transformed herself into Cher.
Sonny & Cher.
I’d have to say….that out of all of the songs Phil Spector put his magic touch on- “River Deep, Mountain High” by Ike and Tina Turner would have to be my favorite. Talk about “Wall of Sound”! I mean, there are instruments on top of instruments on top of a choir of voices, all overlapping into this…this amazing song. I’d like to personally shake his hand for giving the world that masterpiece. It’s beyond words. However, there is one Spector production that gets even more time in CD player than that song….
Tina, Phil & Ike at Gold Star Studios.
“A Christmas Gift To You, From Phil Spector” is the album that I play all year long. Even in the middle of July- it’s not uncommon to hear “Sleigh Ride” by the Ronettes blaring out of my car stereo. Every track on that album is great. And God help the people that are standing near me when it actually is the holiday season and the stores are playing that piped in music and “Sleigh Ride” comes on. (especially the ending) “Ring-a-ling-a-ling-a-ding-dong-ding! Ring-a-ling-a-ling-a-diiiiing-doooong-diiiiiing!!” Oh- and you should hear me try and keep up with Veronica, Estelle and Nedra. I love a swingin’ Christmas tune sung with a New York accent! Don’t you??
The Best Christmas Album ever! Featuring- Bob B. Soxx and The Blue Jeans, Darlene Love, The Crystals and The Ronettes.
So…”Thank You” Mr. Spector for the music, the memories and the magic that is the “Wall of Sound”.
Oh…by the way- I don’t think he did it.