Where do you start with Phil Spector? Anyone see “Easy Rider?” Remember the beginning of the movie where the two stars had crappy bikes and funky clothes until after they met a freak in a Rolls Royce and gave him a suspicious-looking package? And he snorted it so we knew it was cocaine? That freak was Phil Spector, and that scene might be of interest to Spector completists—if such there are—but has nothing to do with today’s post, so we move on.
Oh, but Phil Spector was a freak, all right. He was obsessive, tyrannical, paranoid, self-centered, brilliant, obstinate and skinny, and he produced some of the most iconic music of the late 1950’s and early ‘60’s. In fact, he did so until 1966, and that’s our story.
Spector was born in the Bronx on December 26, 1939. Do you know anyone else whose birthday is so close to Christmas? I do, and it’s always the same angry story: your parents say that as long as the two days were so close, instead of giving you two regular gifts, they’ll give you one big one- it’ll be twice as good! And it was always bullshit. You got the same gift you’d have gotten for your birthday or for Christmas, but it was never twice as good! You got cheated and you’ve been pissed off ever since. I know. I’ve heard it before. So maybe—I don’t know, maybe—that’s why he went off the rails so early.