Phil Spector, the producer who completely revolutionized music with his “Wall of Sound” technique and created some of music’s biggest hits, has died at the age of 81.
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation confirmed his death on Sunday. In a post on their website, the CDCR wrote that Spector “was pronounced deceased of natural causes” on Saturday. His official cause of death has not yet been confirmed, but it is speculated to be from COVID-19 complications according to an insider from TMZ.
The former musician tested positive for coronavirus roughly four weeks ago, and he was transferred from the prison, where he was serving a sentence of 19 years to life for the murder of actress Lana Clarkson since 2009, to a nearby hospital.
As TMZ reported, he recovered enough to return to prison, but later relapsed, struggled with his breathing, and returned to the hospital, where he reportedly passed away yesterday.
In the early 1960s, the famed songwriter produced a ton of pop music’s top singles— including You Lost that Lovin’ Feeling and Unchained Melody from The Righteous Brothers, Be My Baby and You’re My Soul and Inspiration from the Ronettes, Da Doo Ron Ron and He’s a Rebel from The Crystals, River Deep, Mountain High from Ike and Tina Turner, and so much more. By the 1970s, he went on to produce The Beatles final album, Let It Be, and several solo songs from John Lennon, including Imagine.
Spector became known for creating the “Wall of Sound” method, which blended overdubbed vocal harmonies, sound effects, and orchestral arrangements. It created a roaring effect that Spector referenced as “Wagnerian approach to rock ‘n’ roll.”
The iconic Beatles frontman even hailed him as “the greatest record producer ever” for his unique recording style.
After almost three decades of semi-retirement from music, the producer was arrested in 2003 after the Barbarian Queen actress was found shot to death in the foyer of his mansion. He maintained that the actress’ death was an “accidental suicide” for years, but in 2009, he was found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to prison. He had been living in the CDCR until his death over the weekend.
Our hearts go out to his family members, as they mourn his loss. Rest In Peace…
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[Image via WENN/Avalon]