Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Phil Spector Trial- A few thoughts....

A few thoughts on Phil Spector, currently incarcerated awaiting sentencing for second degree murder charges: * You Lost That Lovin' Feelin' is one of the worst rock'n'roll records ever made. * Spector's best record is this one-- Oh Baby issued on the Annette label under the name of Harvey & Doc with the Dwellers (Doc being Doc Pomus). * His best group, the Sleepwalkers never recorded. I can't remember where I read it, but I do remember an interview with Kim Fowley where he recalls their only gig, a band, dressed in 40's Noir/gangster garb (Phil on lead guitar), takes the stage in trench coats and blows the audience away with a Link Wray/Peter Gunn type spooky rock'n'roll sound. The other members include Steve Douglas and Sandy Nelson, then members of Kip Tyler & the Flips who where occasionally managed by Phil's soon to be institutionalized sister Shirley. * Having seen Phil pull a gun on somebody once (at Doc's funeral), I'm fairly sure he pulled the trigger, although my guess is it was an accident and manslaughter would have been a more fitting charge. No doubt Phil rejected a plea bargain to such charges. I also think Bruce Cutler bought off a juror in the first trial (my opinion, based on no facts, only that Cutler was caught doing it in one of John Gotti's trials). That said, prison life will not be easy for Phil, I hope he's under suicide watch 24/7. * A working girl friend of mine used to trick with Phil, after each meeting she'd come in the bar and quickly down 3-4 shots of tequila and then excuse herself and go to the ladies room and throw up. Her scatological stories were so vile even I don't feel like repeating them. * When it's all said and done, it's hard not to feel sorry for Phil. I feel even worse for Lana Clarkson (seen here doing her Little Richard impersonation from the Home Shopping Channel) and her family. Spector's lawyers attacking her obviously backfired with the jury (who could have found Phil guilty of involuntary manslaughter). They'll probably get stiffed on their fees, as Phil is broke. * Nick Tosches began working on a book about Spector several years back (even interviewing Spector's first wife Annette, who had never given an interview before), but he soon gave the project up. When I asked him about it he just shrugged. The subject just couldn't hold his interest long enough to write a book about it. Nik Cohn had a similar experience in the early seventies. Come to think of it, I've run out of things to say myself....

26 comments:

bob said...

hello mr. hound. great blog..tennessee slim-crazy hazy kisses. do you know where a guy could find this without spending $500 thanks for all you do.

The Hound said...

tennessee slim-crazy hazy kisses.

try searcing the blogs w/chewbone (link on right)
or www.captaincrawl.com for an mp3 of it....
it's probably posted somewhere from a white label lp
rip.....

J.D. King said...

Phil Spector produced some of our all-time fave-rave 45s. I still spin 'em on a regular basis. That aside, what an asshole.

BTW, circa 1975, near Co-op City, I found a vending machine selling an array of Philles 45s. Put in a quarter, get The Ronettes...

The Hound said...

"BTW, circa 1975, near Co-op City, I found a vending machine selling an array of Philles 45s. Put in a quarter, get The Ronettes..."

Wow. I wonder if there's any photos of such a thing? I have never seen a 45 vending machine.
That sounds like an idea to bring back.....I don't think rock'n'roll can really exists without the 45, but they're impossible to distribute in this day and age. Not enough profit margin I guess....

Anonymous said...

I heard he pulled a snowball on Ronnie during the recording of the Christmas album.

Anonymous said...

jeez wtf did he make the workin girl do i's thinkin. some nutjob, can't say i feel sorry for him at all tho.

the family cat said...

Phil Spector owed his entire career to the girl he once said he wished had died in the car crash-CAROL CONNORS.
But to start at the beginning Spector never admitted he copied the entire idea of the AQUATONES-a group of white doowoppers with a girl lead in Lynn Nixon.Not even Dave Godard realised this as I correspond with him but a recent AQUATONES CD has a version of To know him is to love him.
So after founding his own take on the Aquatones,Phil next decided to copy the Fleetwoods-hence the SPECTORS 3.By the time of the Crystals it was the turn of the Chantels to be copied
What few songs he wrote ended with the Teddy Bears-Phil's credit on all what followed was a courtsy credit.All the writing teams were new and needed their songs recorded
It's time the Press stopped calling him a songwriter.Anyone could have done what he did-and have done anyway eg the Righteous Brothers with Soul & Inspiration.
I don't have a problem with Phil being nothing but a copycat-I love copycat stuff.
But many think Phil copied the ideas of Frank Guida-including Guida himself who said once that the Gary U S Bonds things had been copied by Spector.
The Beatles once rescued his flagging career but in the end he ran out of ideas.
Spector owes a lot to the U K-more than he'd be willing to admit

J.D. King said...

"But many think Phil copied the ideas of Frank Guida-including Guida himself who said once that the Gary U S Bonds things had been copied by Spector."

It's funny you write that because yesterday, after reading this post, I got to thinking about how, when I was a kid and these PS 45s were new, I had NO idea who PS was. Or ANY other producer, for that matter. Then I got to thinking, for the umpteenth time, how Guida's Gary "U.S." Bonds 45s were kinda/sorta crude lo-fi proto versions of the famous Wall-o-Sound stuff.

Anyhoo, to parent and teachers, it was all "trash." Trash that was soon to be forgotten.

The Hound said...

I prefer Guida's sound better myself....

the family cat said...

Very little in music is forgotten-time just gives it added gloss.
Though I wish someone would locate KELLY SIMS who made a stunning single for Fernwood Records-A girl in love/Bewitched by love.For some crazed reason her single was the only one missed off the Fernwood CDs-yet she was one of the 3 girls on Thomas Wayne's Tragedy
Now with all the blog sites everything -or nearly everything is there

Anonymous said...

When my brother was in rehab the last time he called up all excited to say he'd met Glen Campbell in there (it was right after Campbell's DUI with the scowling mugshot) and that they'd been palling around. "Oh yeah?" I says. "Yeah," he replies "Glen did sessions with Phil Spector, and I did drugs with the girl Spector shot!"

The Hound said...

Great story. Glen Cambell's one of those Catalyst type guys who always seemed to be at the right place at the right time. Great guitar player too (c.f. The Gee Cee's Buzzsaw Twist on Crest).

Anonymous said...

Ever hear the Spector-produced "Not Too Young To Get Married" by Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans? That is a straight-up Frank Guida/Gary "U.S." Bonds ripoff...

the family cat said...

The Bob B Soxx single Why do lovers...was a straightcopy of Jo Ann Campbell's Mama can I go out tonight.A wonder he wasn't sued by the crooks running Roulette.Even the name was copied from an Aquatones source as they did bvs on a single by BOB B LEE.
Spector's main talent was as a copycat-he was well up to Cameo Parkway standards by 1963.Worth mentioning here is that Vikki Carr's original He's A Rebel is vastly superior to the one he made with the Crystals- 500000 Australians thought so too.
As we now know his criminal career started here when he stole the demo from Liberty Records.
Vikki became a bigger name in the later 60s and Spector was struggling.Even today Vikki Carr is a bigger name than he is
This guy was such an oddball he had to rip off the consumer with instrumentals credited to the Crystals,Ronettes etc and never even considered putting out an album of the session players

Anonymous said...

"This guy was such an oddball he had to rip off the consumer with instrumentals credited to the Crystals,Ronettes etc and never even considered putting out an album of the session players"

I don't think he was trying to fool the public into thinking the Ronettes played instrumentals. I think it was more so that the DJ's knew which side to play. Producers always used to do that, make the B-side really odd or bad or unremarkable, just so they didn't wind up with a double-sided hit. Kasenetz-Katz did this all the time.

the family cat said...

I know others did it but in Spector's case it showed how he simply used people for his own ends.Without all those great musicians he wouldn't have lasted as long as he did yet he never had an album issued as a tribute so learned nothing .The man really ought to have studied Lawrence Welk who credited his musicians even with seperate albums for soloists.
Its said that Spector had no time for any of his musicians who dared to have hits elsewhere-hence Sonny Bono,Nino Tempo.
His nasty temperament also spread to Leiber & Stoller after realsinh HE could have hit with Chapel of Love
Listen to the final Crystals single Little Boy for an example of how Spector treated his artists-he all but drowned them out

Blaine said...

"There are only two Phil Spectors and I am one of them." Guy Stevens

gnatp said...

We'll never know what happened in that vestibule, whether it was an accident or not, but Phil sure had it coming.
By the way, thank you for saying that You Lost That Lovin' Feelin' is one of the worst rock'n'roll records ever made.

The Hound said...

"By the way, thank you for saying that You Lost That Lovin' Feelin' is one of the worst rock'n'roll records ever made".

You are very welcome. Gawd, I hate that one.....
I do love the Ronettes though.....

Anonymous said...

this place is always a real education; never knew Glen Campbell played on that great Gee-Cees disc. hang on, were they named after his initials....?
it's sad that I should need to know.
sigh.
Matt, Worksop, UK

the family cat said...

Campbell was a Crest artist so it figured

The Hound said...

The Gee Cee's Buzzsaw Twist is Glen Cambel- guitar,
Joe Osborne- bass and Hal Blaine- drums along with a couple of trumpet players. That's the only track the ever recorded, the a and b sides of the 45 are the same. Cambell is credited as the writer. I think it's the best twist record ever made.

Gene Casey said...

Aside from it being overplayed 14 zillion times how is "Lovin Feelin" one of the worst rock & roll records ever?

the family cat said...

That's just an odd opinion-the worst records to ever be called rock'n'roll were pigswill like the Sex Pistols who by rights should have perished in a motorway pileup.
What needs to be emphasised though is that anyone could have made You've lost that lovin' feelin'-after all its a song which didn't need Phil Spector to poke his poke in.
A great version was made in the 70s by country singer Barbara Fairchild and if the Righteous Brothers had refused to record the song then Cilla Black would have had the hit.
I wouldn't call the song rock'n'roll-its a straight ahead ballad which Vikki Carr or Tony Orlando could have done-probably better

the family cat said...

May as well also mention that Phil Spector in spite of the lone credit on Teddy Bears songs never wrote the music in any way.
Its just what you realise when you listen to a song from years later-With you I'm born again (Billy Preston & Syreeta Wright)
The song was written by Carol Connors alias the girl in the Teddy Bears.SHE wrote the music for at least 6 Teddy Bears songs which Phil claimed as his
If you listen to the song named above it reeks of Oh why & I don't need you anymore
Read between the lines and it tells you Phil demanded to be listed as the composer and publishing was in its infancy anyway as far as rock'n'roll and high school pop went and like that until the Beatles
He no doubt deprived Carol Connors of making a lot of money but in the end she actually won

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