Tuesday, April 14, 2009

PHIL SPECTOR PRODUCES ANOTHER ALBUM...
...only this time around, it's his Criminal Record...

Blogger's note: For some reason, the controls on this blog page won't let me change the typesize! That's why the introductory Blog-Topic title shrunk in the wash. Hopefully the Blog Provider can address this issue sometime before Computers Go Obsolete...

It looks like famous "wall-of-sound" producer Phil Spector is going to jail. Another case where a gun was involved. Phil's had a rather wacko personality all his life, and he's had a thing for guns as well. Let's see...'wacko personality'...'guns'...that's quite a volatile combination, and sums a lot of gun-toters' passion for the Right To Keep And Bear Arms so that more and more people around the country can be needlessly Shot To Death. Phil evidently shot B-movie actress Lana Clarkson at the tail end of one of his Big House Parties. Phil didn't like to be left alone, and Lana wanted to go. Another case of a situation resolved with a BANG. And it's off to prison he's going, perhaps to serve the rest of his life.

Phil Spector is famous for his megalomanic "Wall Of Sound" productions. 'What's that?', you ask. Well, if a song called for two acoustic guitar players, he'd bring in twenty-three of them. If a background singer was needed, he'd bring in a busload of 'em. You get the idea. Phil produced all of those sparkling songs by the Crystals, The Ronettes, The Righteous Brothers and others, and immortal those songs are. No one instrument stands out in those recordings; how can that happen when you've got enough musicians in one recording studio to fill up half of the Grand Canyon from top to bottom? You can hear many of the great songs he produced in the early '60s on this compilation; it's loaded with a lot of the great music he and artists who he produced made, So Very Long Ago...



He was after a 'big' sound, and he got it, all right. His records boomed out of the radio speakers, and he did create a whole lot of rock and roll classics. Later on, he produced "Let It Be" for the Beatles, in which he took a whole bunch of tune-fragments and made a decent album out of it; he also produced a couple of John Lennon albums, and he produced George Harrison's magnificent "All Things Must Pass" album, one of my favorite-ever records. I guess later on, he even produced The Ramones' album, "End of the Century", and Leonard Cohen's "Death Of A Ladies' Man", so he kept himself busy here and there in later years.

Everyone seems to talk about Phil's Great Big Production Failure, namely his efforts on Ike and Tina Turner's "River Deep, Mountain High" single, back in the late '60s. Phil got all mad, sulked, and then removed himself from the music scene after the record flopped. I've read things from other writers, saying how this record is One Of Rock's Underrated Classics. This is where I differ. Phil overproduced that record so drastically that it basically sounds like MUSH. I've heard the record, and it's got no punch, no drive, and sounds like it was recorded in someone's basement. I'm sure there are hundreds of instruments on the record, but the record just dies; it's a case where the fabled "Wall Of Sound" became an impenetrable underground fortress. I'm sorry; for me, it's not a good record. It just ISN'T. It didn't have a chance.

The other big Phil Spector production controversy involves The Beatles' "Long And Winding Road". Phil literally BURIED the song in violins, dubbed on after the fact. I read a book that was written about Spector during the time when he got ultra-famous for producing The Beatles, as well as Lennon and Harrison in the Early '70s. Spector said that he knew "Long and Winding Road" was going to the Beatles' last single, so he wanted to make it sound as Beautiful as he could. And really, he did manage that, although Beatles purists were in shock...an Orchestra and Choir on a Beatles record? Oh my gawrsh...even though Paul McCartney was angry that Spector treated his song that way, McCartney himself has recorded the song with an Orchestra Backup, on the soundtrack of his movie, "Give My Regards To Broad Street".

So anyway, Phil Spector is going off to prison. He may not achieve the "Wall of Sound" there, although he'll have plenty of walls around him. All for the pulling of a trigger. Bang. And even if he wasn't going to prison for murder, he should at least have gotten cited for Contempt of Court for appearing in Court, looking like this, at his Grand Jury event a couple of years ago...



Mr. Spector is obviously thinking, "if I look like a PIN CUSHION, maybe the Jurors won't think I'm so Dangerous. Either that, or the Judge will think I'm Too Insane to be tried on anything." File those in the "Great Ideas that Didn't Work" folder...

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Another Big News Story is happening up in Spokane, Washington, where squirrels are becoming a Public Enemy Number One. I didn't know they could wreak all that havoc; all they're trying to do, after all, is put away enough food for next winter, but times are gettin' tough out there, and there are those in our midst who don't want Squirrels around. And, so, the powers that be have dictated that We Want No More Squirrels In Our Midst; Blast 'em out if you have to! And it came to pass that War has been Declared on the Mighty Squirrel, whom you should never underestimate...



So ain't that a kick? First I come down hard on Phil Spector and all the loony-bin cases around the country who can't get enough of guns, then I turn around and show a Squirrel with a Bazooka. Kinda reminds me of an old joke: "What's Black and Dangerous and Lives in a Tree?" "A Crow With A Machine Gun!"

2 Comments:

Anonymous Songwraith said...

Informative, well-presented background read on Phil Spector! Thanks!

10:40 AM  
Blogger some guy who blogs said...

Mr. Songwraith, I've always been interested with '60's and '70's rock and roll and anyone connected to that time period, so this is no special Example Of My Vast Knowledge; rather, it's just sort of a compilation of various things I've read...but then again, I guess we all know things that other people don't know...anyway, glad you liked the post...

2:02 PM  

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