Just caught wind of the death of Phil Spector (b. 1939).
I remember during the 1990s when I heard that Celine Dion had put the kibosh on a planned collaboration with him. He was the most legendary record producer of the late 20th century. Who’d ever heard of her??? (Well, aside from people who buy records? But not me — to this day, I couldn’t tell you the names of any of her songs). Anyway, my point was, “So what if he’s crazy? So what if he’s been known to draw handguns and crossbows on his artists, and to lock them in and out of studios. Wouldn’t you want history to be made????”
But this was before (according to the evidence) he actually pulled the trigger on one of those guns, killing Lana Clarkson. (If you haven’t seen the 2013 made-for tv bio-pic with Al Pacino, do. It’s a hoot). He was deservedly put in the slammer in 2009 for the crime, and rightfully so. There are no doubt 104,000 other blogposts out there waxing poetic on Spector’s hit making run starting with 1958’s “To Know Him is to Love Him” and ending with 1966’s “River Deep — Mountain High”, his signature “Wall of Sound”, his influence on Brian Wilson and Bruce Springsteen (and the entire industry), his records with The Beatles and post-Beatles Lennon and Harrison, and the awesome Ramones record End of the Century.
But here’s something I didn’t know about — his 1977 record with Leonard Cohen, Death of a Ladies Man. Here’s the title track. Isn’t it wild? A total merging of their highly divergent styles and perhaps a fitting anthem now for its producer: