There was a 20-minute retrospective of the career of Phil Spector on Radio 5 live at 1:40 am today. Dotun Adebayo discussed this very scary man and his enormous acheivements, and played a few of the hits he was responsible for. Anyone who is over 50 will remember the famous ‘wall of sound’ he produced by cramming as many musicians into the studio as was humanly possible.
I for one loved his slightly over-the-shoulder creations, although these have been criticised as too ’samey’ by others.
The facts are easy to see; this man, usually single-handedly, produced some of the most memorable music of the sixties – and wrote quite a lot of the hits as well as producing them.
His ‘friends’ (he didn’t have many) are now saying that his personality implosion has been a long time coming. The great sadness is that he has taken someone else’s life in the conclusion of this awful process. The family of the woman murdered by Phil have claimed that he ‘must face the consequences of his actions’, but what else could they say? The almost unbearable pain of their loss can only be imagined.
Spector was diagnosed as a schizophrenic, but like so many other passionate, creative people, it is more likely that he was a psychotic manic-depressive. As such he has no doubt been chased by demons for almost all of his life. The ‘consequences of his actions’ will be all-too-clear to him in his saner moments, when the acknowledgement of his guilt will be an all-consuming torture.
At this point if I was a Christian, I would probably be asking everyone to pray for him. As I’m not, I’ll just say instead that the next time you hear that very distinctive and timeless sound, remember the huge cost that ultimately has been paid for his almost-unrivalled contribution to popular music.
First published on http://serialfailures.connectable.org.uk on Sat, April 18, 2009 11:39:03