Phil Spector – Yes or No?

10-4-10

Phil Spector – Yes or No?

I have no idea if his legendary temper is / was fuelled by drugs (or alcohol).  I have not read any of his biographies.  From everything I’ve heard, he probably did kill that woman – but I’m not on the jury.

Do I want to collect Phil Spector productions?  No.  But I do have some!  In the 60’s, he was in the habit of putting instrumental B-sides on the back of ‘hits’ – almost as if to prove that nobody every listened to B-sides!  I understand Mr. Spector was responsible for a fairly rare Lenny Bruce LP.  I’m a bit unclear about who actually worked for / with Mr. Spector – Leon Russell?  Certainly Jack Nitzsche.

LP                BRUCE, LENNY IS OUT AGAIN                                                                                            PHILLES US

PHLP-4010                                    1963 2 TRKS mono

7″                 BRUCE, LENNY LAW, THE LANGUAGE AND LENNY BRUCE, THE                            PHIL SPECTOR US   PRO 598       1974 12 TRK EP; with pic sleeve, promo-only

LP                CRYSTALS, THE SING THEIR GREATEST HITS!                                                              PHIL SPECTOR UK   2307 006      1975? 16 TRK Collection

7″                 RONETTES, THE DO I LOVE YOU / BREAKING UP                                                           PHIL SPECTOR UK   POSP 377    1964 2 TRKS no pic sleeve, re-issue (’80?)

LP                RONETTES, THE SING THEIR GREATEST HITS!                                                              PHIL SPECTOR UK   2307 003      1975? 12 TRKS

LP                V.A. PHIL SPECTOR 74 – 79                                                                           PHIL SPECTOR UK   2307 015      1979 10 TRKS Kim Fowley, Dion etc.

Then there’s his famous Christmas album – I forget which version I have – but I agree that it’s 100% necessary – if you want to have a bugged-out Xmas Mix Tape!  (Phil’s spoken word bit…leaves me speechless).

And what of his productions?  I am very OK with some of them – George Harrison “All Things Must Pass” (Apple 3LP boxed set), Leonard Cohen “Death Of A Ladies Man” (Columbia LP), Ike & Tina Turner “River Deep Mountain High”…though I first heard that song on an Eric Burdon & The Animals LP (“Love Is…”), John Lennon “Imagine” (certainly some of that album is very OK with me).  And I have picked up a few UK “best Of” LP’s on the ‘Phil Spector’ label.  OK, so that’s the strangest Cohen LP – how drunk / stoned were they?  Huh?

Funny, when I was sorting my database looking for Spector records to write about, I couldn’t find any of those U.S. 45’s that I remember playing with.  Could they have been something that I played with, but that they didn’t go into my collection?  Must investigate.

So, an oddball L.A. producer who made some great singles, some pretty good albums and some absolutely essential esoterica.  I can’t say that I ever heard anything he did / produced after approx. ’77.  For my money, I’ll take Kim Fowley – a truly funny guy.  Or Jack Nitzsche – who could arrange devastating music (Got “St. Giles Cripplegate”?).

Phil SpectorYes or No? The jury is still out.

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4 Responses to Phil Spector – Yes or No?

  1. postpunkmonk says:

    Phil Spector – Record Producer? Emphatic yes!

    Phil Spector – human being? Uh, no. I would take pains never to be in the same room as him.

    I have read the recent “Tearing Down The Wall Of Sound” by Mick Brown. Very interesting stuff, though the anecdotal references to his erratic and threatening behavior were common parlance in the record industry for years. But he sold a ton of records so it was profitable to laugh it off or look the other way. The Ramones album he produced sounds IMMENSE. That said, Richard Gottherer had the sound down on the 1st Holly & The Italians album, and no guns needed to be waved, or people belittled.

  2. postpunkmonk says:

    Jack Nitzsche – Tons of crucial work. Perhaps none moreso than with “The Last Race,” a.k.a. “Village of the Giants” main theme.

    Kim Fowley – I’ve known about Fowley since the late 70s. He’s quite a piece of work. I”m more familiar with him than his productions. I’ve only heard the handful of novelty rock hits that made his fortune. But his appearance in “The Mayor Of Sunset Strip” makes me want to see him with a weekly [public access would be best] chat show. The bonus material is far more extreme than what made the cut of the film. His blunt candor and sharp tongue are quite compelling and I grudgingly admire him. there, I said it.

  3. ronkanefiles says:

    Jim-san,

    I think Kim Fowley’s appearance in the Rodney movie was the last time I laughed out-loud in a public place.

    I have spoken to Kim Fowley on the phone before, a very interesting and intelligent man. He has some amusing solo records, but also some real drivel. I would love to see a 4CD boxed set of his non-sense, as that may capture some of his anti-music-biz genius / insanity.

    RK

  4. postpunkmonk says:

    Too bad the Kim Fowley BSOG® will probably only happen when he’s dead. It should be a tony Rhino Handmade sort of item.

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