Phil Spector, Music Producer Behind Final Beatles Album and Many More, Dead at 81

by Matthew Wilson
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The architect of The Wall of Sound has died. Music producer Phil Spector passed away earlier on Jan. 16 at the age of 81-years-old. The music producer helped create the final Beatles album as well as many other hits. But for almost the past decade he’s been behind bars on a murder conviction.

According to TMZ, Spector died after contracting COVID-19. The producer passed from complications related to the virus after authorities transferred him from his cell to a nearby hospital. For the past month, Spector has battled the virus and its effects. Initially, the prison transferred him to a hospital where he recovered enough to return to prison.

But on Saturday, Jan. 16, he experienced trouble breathing. Prison officials took Spector back to the hospital, where he died from the virus.

Phil Spector Went From Music Producer to Criminal

Starting in high school, Spector began a very prolific music career. He scored his first major success with “To Know Him is To Love Him” by Teddy Bears. The producer then followed up that success with more hits from The Righteous Brothers and the Ronettes. He would later marry the lead singer of The Ronettes, Ronnie. He worked on tunes like “You Lost that Lovin’ Feeling” and “Be My Baby.”

But his most famous collaboration was with The Beatles on their final album, “Let It Be.” Spector was the producer behind some of that album’s biggest hits like “The Long and Winding Road” and the titular track “Let It Be.”

After The Beatles imploded, he partnered with John Lennon on his solo career, including the artist’s instantly recognizable works like “Imagine.”

Besides collaborating with the likes of Ike and Tina Turner, Spector’s other biggest contribution to the industry was the creation of the Wall of Sound technique. The production process involved overdubbing the scores of several musicians, which created a full sound. The technique proved popular and was adopted by Bruce Springsteen and the Beach Boys. In 1989, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

But in 2009, Spector’s acclaim turned to infamy. A jury convicted Spector of second-degree murder for killing actress and model Lana Clarkson. Spector reportedly shot and killed Clarkson inside his Los Angeles mansion. For the crime, Spector was sentenced to 19 years in prison.

His life was later dramatized by Al Pacino in the 2013 film “Phil Spector.”

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