Monday, April 13, 2009


I think I was 13.  I was sitting on the floor of our very modest living room on a Saturday afternoon watching The Dick Clark Show on our recently purchased color television.  My dad was reading the paper, smoking a Chesterfield and drinking a cup of coffee.  The volume was low.  Then The Righteous Brothers were introduced to the Dick Clark stage and they were about to sing ‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling.’  I could not resist – I turned up the volume.  This may have been the worst mistake I ever made in my life.  My dad maintained his composure through most of the song but then, when Bill and Bobby arrived at that most remarkable vocal outro, he lost it.  He said, in words that still reverberate in my mind, ‘Turn that shit off – that is awful – it’s gonna rot your brain.’  I turned it off.

I loved that recording – still do.  It is, in my humble opinion, as great a recording as has been made in my lifetime.  The mastermind of the composition, orchestration and production had finally arrived.  Phil Spector heard something that we all wanted to hear and he found a way to reproduce it.  He was responsible for many more soul-stirring hits.  He caught the attention of upstart bands like The Rolling Stones and The Beatles.  He worked with The Wrecking Crew in LA.  Phil Spector was The Shit.  Go here if you wish to know more:

I shook Phil Spector’s hand one night 20 or more years ago.  He was a special guest at a banquet I was attending.  He was anxious and animated – very weird in obvious ways.  Someone whispered to me that Spector was flaunting a huge wad of cash and also had a gun.  I, too, was anxious in the act of meeting him.  He had done more with music in five years than I could ever imagine doing in several lifetimes.  It seemed to me that the fame, mystique and success had tortured him, twisted him, perverted him, perhaps.  In recent months we’ve seen him arrive in court in dresses, skirts and a new and bizarre coiffure everyday.  Over time something, it seems, rotted his brain. 

But that song, that recording, all those recordings – we felt them so deeply – they spoke to our souls; they gave rhythm to our awkwardness; they allowed white boys to dance.   

He’s guilty now, guilty of murder.  I would like to visit Phil Spector in prison.  I would like to talk with him about the music.                


Blogger Jonathan said...

yeah, Spector is a trip and likely has good story...yet he has no recall


April 15, 2009 at 11:24 PM  

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