Long before the Grateful Dead rolled out their monstrous sound system known affectionately as “The Wall Of Sound,” famed record producer Phil Spector was crafting a sound in the recording studio using layers of sounds that became his calling card throughout the 1960’s. Spector originally had aspirations of being a performer, having early success with his band The Teddy Bears, who had a number one hit in 1958 with To Know Him Is To Love Him, which sold over one-million copies. Despite their success, the band broke up the next year, and Spector turned his attention to record producing, apprenticing under the famed songwriting team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller at the Brill Building in New York.
Spector again had success right out the gate, this time as the producer of Ray Peterson’s Corrina, Corrina, which hit number seven on the charts in 1961. It’s when Spector moved out to California and set up shop at Gold Star Studio in Los Angeles that his famed Wall Of Sound came together, as he teamed up with a group of session musicians that came to be known as the Wrecking Crew. Spector produced over 25 Top 40 hits in the early 1960’s, most famously with The Crystals and The Ronettes. He would later go on to work with The Beatles, producing their 1970 album Let It Be, as well as co-producing solo albums by George Harrison and John Lennon.
While Spector’s influence on pop music is undeniable, his legacy has certainly taken a hit after he was convicted for the murder of actress Lana Clarkson in 2009. While the court proceedings were front page material, his 2007 trial was declared a mistrial with the second leading to his conviction of 19 years to life, it was Spector’s wild hair-dos that also caught people’s attention.
The murder and subsequent trials serve as the basis for HBO’s new biopic about the record producer simply titled Phil Spector. The film, which stars Al Pacino as Spector, will premiere on Sunday, March 24th. Let’s check out the trailer…