Despite the success of the Philles label and his wall of sound,
personal life was troubled. When his next record, River Deep – Mountain High by Ike and Tina Turner, flopped in 1966 it floored him.
His ruthless business tactics made smart people wary, like the songwriting team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.
Spector, a Bronx native, began his career in music as the lead singer of a band called the Teddy Bears. He became famous for his ‘Wall of Sound’ recording techniques.
He went on to produce hits like “Unchained Melody” and “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’.” His work earned him substantial royalties. Spector died with a high net worth. He was also imprisoned for the murder of Lana Clarkson.
The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones were a band of young British musicians who were inspired by the new music-making renaissance. Spector loved to work with young bands.
He charmed some of the most sophisticated New York music-makers, including Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, with his wit and knowledge. But he was a prickly character to outsiders. His flamboyant clothes and unhealthy complexion turned many away.
After a disastrous world tour, the band split. Singer Debbie Harry and guitarist Chris Stein formed a new group, Blondie.
Spector was known for his legendary Wall of Sound. He produced the albums of John Lennon and George Harrison and also worked with 1970s punk band The Ramones. He also owned one of the most valuable song royalty catalogues in history.
The Ronettes were teenagers when they first sang “Be My Baby.” Now, years later, they’re getting $3 million from Spector.
Sisters Veronica Bennett and Estelle Bennett, along with cousin Nedra Talley, started singing together as teens, inspired by doo wop groups like Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers. Their bad-girl look blurred gender expectations and shattered conventions. They went on to record hits with Spector, including You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ and Unchained Melody.
The Beach Boys
Phil Spector’s net worth is estimated at around $50million thanks to his sizable song royalty catalogue. But it could be even bigger if current inflation rates are taken into account.
He worked initially with a New York female trio called the Crystals and oversaw two quick hits for them. Including one that used an innovative lyric to compare downtown and uptown worlds.
As the 1960s drew to a close, Spector’s success was at its height. His Wall of Sound reached its zenith with hits such as You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ and Unchained Melody by the Righteous Brothers.
But friends noticed that his hair and clothes began to get more flamboyant. He also grew to rely on bodyguards who were used not for protection but as muscle.
The Bee Gees
After the success of The Teddy Bears, Spector turned to producing music. He gained fame for his Great Wall of Sound, a technique that included overdubbing and using electronic and acoustic echo chambers.
His hits include Unchained Melody and You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin, netting him millions in royalties. He died in 2021 at a prison-run medical facility from complications of COVID-19.
The Four Seasons
Spector was a man whose personal life and professional ambitions were often in conflict. He had a tendency toward megalomania and paranoia.
He would go on to produce the Four Seasons’ biggest ’60s hits, including “Sherry,” with its stomping handclaps and glissando flourishes. But he also tended to be rude, unreliable and sometimes abusive.
Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey, Kenney Jones, and Keith Moon forged a remarkable body of work that established The Who as a rock ‘n’ roll icon. Despite a series of tragedies, including the collapse of drummer Moon during a show and Townshend’s hearing damage, The Who endured.
Throughout their early years, they scored several top singles and produced the acclaimed rock opera Tommy. They also penned Quadrophenia, which was adapted for a stage show and film.
Having stumbled onto the Kinks through producer Lester Sill, Spector made two quick hits with them, including “Uptown,” a Mann-Weil song with an intriguing, if condescending, lyric about the different worlds of downtown and uptown.
But he was also notoriously unhinged. One journalist who toured his mansion was shown into a blacked-out room and left waiting for two hours. His sister Ronnie later wrote that she had been held prisoner there and escaped only with help from her mother.