LOS ANGELES- Phil Spector, the revolutionary and eccentric music producer who changed rock music with his “Wall of Sound” method and was later convicted of murder, has died. He was 81 years old.
According to the California State Prison Officials, Spector died at a hospital Saturday of natural causes.
He was condemned for murdering actress Lana Clarkson in 2003 at his luxurious mansion on the edge of Los Angeles. Following a trial in 2009, he was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison.
While most news reports give Spector’s birth date as 1940. But it was listed as 1939 in court document after his arrest. His lawyer confirmed that date to USA Today.
The star of ‘Barbarian Queen’ and many other B-movies, Clarkson, was discovered shot to death in the foyer of Spector’s mansion in the hills facing Alhambra, a small suburban town on the edge of Los Angeles.
Decades before, Spector had been acclaimed as a visionary for channeling Wagnerian ambition into the three-minute song. Creating the ‘Wall of Sound’ that merged excellent orchestral arrangements with spirited vocal harmonies. And produce such pop monuments as “He’s a Rebel,” “Da Doo Ron Ron,” and “Be My Baby.”
He was the rare uncomfortable artist in rock’s early years, because he fostered an image of power and mystery with his dark shades and passive expression.
Tom Wolfe announced him the ‘first tycoon of teen’. Brain Wilson and Bruce Springsteen publically replicated his impressive recording techniques and speechless romanticism. John Lennon described him as “the greatest music producer ever.”
In a 2005 court document, he testified that he had been on drugs for manic depression for eight years.
“Depression, mood swings, no sleep, hard to concentrate, mood changes, hard to live with – a hard time getting through life,” Spector said.