Phil Spector: Flawed Genius, Musical Mastermind

His death this week in a US prison from COVID19 complications brought to an end the multi-complex life of a musical genius that was Phil Spector.

In his heyday, his music brought joy to millions, and for those of us who embrace the 1960s, still does.

Spector’s distinctive ‘’wall of sound’’ gave us such hits as the Ronettes “Be My Baby”, Ike & Tina Turner’s “River Deep, Mountain High” and the Righteous Brothers “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling”, and of course many, many more wonderful hits, spectacular arrangements, meaningful music.

Is it right and proper to compare Phil Spector to classical music geniuses such as Mozart, Beethoven, and Debussy? I think it is.

They are considered amongst the giants of classical music, there are of course many others – Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms come to mind. As do Mendelssohn, Wagner, Strauss, Tchaikovsky, Rossini, the list goes on and on.

In the modern area, the likes of Kurt Weill and George Gershwin come to mind, but not forgetting Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, and countless ‘’big band’’ leaders and arrangers. The Phil Spector of the 1960s can and did stand proud amongst his musical peers.

What Spector became, his downfall and subsequent imprisonment, are worth recalling but should not be dwelt on.

Phil Spector needs and must be remembered solely for his musical genius.

It’s not that nothing else matters. As far as the US justice system is concerned, he took a life – that can not, and must not be overlooked.

But for now, I want to remember with love the music that Phil Spector created. The sheer joy and pleasure his music gave to millions.

Just maybe now this flawed genius can rest in peace.

All rights reserved to Murray Lewis Freeman

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