There is no question that a lot of evil is involved in the music industry. And I am not talking about the bands that mothers don’t want their kids to listen too. I am talking about the money grubbing whores of the industry. The ones that head-up labels and produce shitty music while forcing talented artists to take a back seat for a dollar. Or the ones that trick young talent into signing horrendous contracts that leave them broke when their 15-minutes of fame are up. Then there are even more villainous types that, you know, kill people. This is where Phil Spector comes in. Ranked #1 on our “Villains of Music” list, this man perhaps looks the part of evil just about as well as he plays it. Nonetheless, the man knew what he was doing when it came to producing a song. HBO debuts their new movie about the trials and tribulations of the man’s last free days this weekend, which stars the stunningly similar looking Al Pacino. In honor of this sure-fire cinematictreat, we bring you this list of what we consider to be Phil Spector’s finest musical accomplishments. And as an added bonus, I decided to also flood this post with pictures of Spector to show off how terrifying this man is. If you make it through, enjoy the nightmares:
10. “Mother” by John Lennon
Lennon loved Spector, and rightfully so. Out of all the Beatles, Spector knew how to make John sound the best. Lennon's raw vocal capability along with his more basic rock and roll style of music, lends a perfect hand to Phil's style of production.
9. “Every Breath I Take” by Gene Pitney
… but so will this song.
8. “Da Doo Ron Ron (When He Walked Me Home)” – The Crystals
Da Doo Run Run is a pinnacle of the doo wop era. The constant tickling of the piano keys in the background is a perfect example of Spector. His wall of sound technique was basically a way of craft-fully flooding extreme amounts of sound into his songs without it feeling claustrophobic.
7. “Pretty Little Angel Eyes” – Curtis Lee
Curtis Lee had a very signature sound unto himself, and it could not mesh with Phil’s production style any better. Here is a great example of using a lot of the barber-shop quartet style of singing as instruments for his wall of sound. A unique blend of combining two great talents.
6. “River Deep – Mountain High” – Ike and Tina Turner
This is probably the most iconic Phil Spector song there is, and rightfully so, it is a masterpiece. Poor Tina just surrounded herself with horrible men.
Lennon pushed hard to bring Phil on board to complete the mix-down for the album Let It Be, which the other band members were not too thrilled about. To be completely truthful, I prefer the Let It Be … Naked album where they stripped Phil’s production out of the music years later, and produced it to more of a Beatles style. Nonetheless, if Phil would not have stepped up and completed the album, we would maybe never have had this masterpiece of a song.
4. “My Sweet Lord” – George Harrison
Interestingly enough, Phil and George worked wonderfully together. "All Things Must Pass" is a true testament to that, being one of the better post-Beatles solo albums there is. This song is the album's greatest highlight.
3. “Unchained Melody” by The Righteous Brothers
One of the greatest love songs ever produced. It was hard to chose between this and "You've Lost That Loving Feeling" but the subtly of the production in this tune is what kicked it over the edge. The use of the violin in this song is one of Spector's most crown worthy achievements.
2. “Then He Kissed Me” by The Crystals
"Then He Kissed Me" may not be the song that everyone instantly thinks of when they hear the name Phil Spector, but it is precisely the sound that they think of. This is track accomplished absolutely everything Phil was perfect at, in two minutes and thirty-six seconds of solid wall of sound gold. Side-note: It is also expertly featured within the movie Goodfellas.
1. “Be My Baby” by The Ronettes
From the opening kick drum that has been imitated a thousand times since but never repeated, all the way to the closing fade out, you will be swept away with Phil's signature sound. A perfect example of the wall of sound, and a heart wrenching song that will carry on through every generation.
The “Just Missed Out List” List:
Austin – “Beware of Darkness” by George Harrison
Austin tends to favor the opinion that The Beatles are a bit overrated. However, that does not always apply to some of The Beatles’ post careers, especially George.
Todd – “Instant Karma!” by John Lennon
I already explained my thoughts on how perfectly John and Phil’s styles mesh. I believe this to be the most shining example of that.
Wes – “Get Back” by The Beatles
A Wes favorite from Let It Be.