Category: wall of sound

On this day in music history: November 22, 1963 – “A Christmas Gift To You From Philles Records” by Phil Spector/Various Artists is released. Produced by Phil Spector, it is recorded at Gold Star Studios in Hollywood, CA in the Summer 1963. The thirteen track album features traditional holiday favorites given Spector’s famed “Wall Of Sound” treatment sung by Philles artists such as The Ronettes, Darlene Love, The Crystals and Bob B. Soxx & The Blue Jeans, with musical backing by members of The Wrecking Crew. The album sells poorly at first due to it being released on the day of John F. Kennedy’s assassination, though its popularity grows as time passes. The album is reissued in 1972 by Apple Records, and subsequently by Warner/Spector Records in 1974 (featuring first release of the album in true stereo). Original Philles Records pressings are rare, and now sell for $400-500 in excellent to near mint condition. Over the years, it comes to be regarded as one of the greatest holiday albums of all time, being reissued yearly from the mid 70’s to the present day. In November of 2014, Sony Music (current distributor of the Philles Records catalog) issues a limited edition vinyl pressing of the album pressed on red vinyl for Black Friday Record Store Day. “A Christmas Gift For You From Philles Records” is inducted into The Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1999.

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On this day in music history: November 5, 1965 – “Ebb Tide” by The Righteous Brothers is released. Written by Carl Sigman and Robert Maxwell, it is the fourteenth single release for the pop vocal duo from Los Angeles, CA. Unhappy that radio DJ’s and the public favor The Righteous Brothers cover of the pop standard “Unchained Melody”, over the originally intended A-side “Hung On You”, producer Phil Spector decides to give fans more of what they want. Spector makes the decision to from then on, only record standards on the blue eyed soul duo, rather than more contemporary material. For their next single, the producer chooses another pop standard, this time it is “Ebb Tide”. Written by songwriters Carl Sigman and Robert Maxwell, the duo (individually) have written numerous other classics, including “Til”, “What Now My Love?”, “Shangri-La” and “It’s All In The Game”. “Ebb Tide” is recorded by numerous artists with versions by Frank Sinatra, Vic Damone, Roy Hamilton, The Platters, and Lenny Welch. The Righteous Brothers version is recorded at United Recording Studios in Hollywood, CA in September of 1965. As usual, the track features members of The Wrecking Crew, accompanied by an orchestra, and arranged by Perry Botkin, Jr.. Like “Unchained Melody” before, “Ebb Tide” is sung solo by Bobby Hatfield, who had performed the song previously with his first group The Variations. With his soaring tenor voice front and center, it is obvious that The Righteous Brothers version is a sure fire hit. Entering the Hot 100 at #41 on December 4, 1965, it races up the chart, peaking at #5 five weeks later on January 8, 1966. Though “Ebb Tide” is another smash for The Righteous Brothers, it also marks the end of their working relationship with Phil Spector. The opportunity to break with the producer comes when Verve Records offers to buy Medley and Hatfield out of their contract with Philles Records for $1,000,000. Spector agrees to the deal The Righteous Brothers move on, scoring their second chart topper with “(You’re My) Soul And Inspiration” in April of 1966. Philles releases one final Righteous Brothers single, a cover of “White Cliffs Of Dover” in September of 1966, recorded shortly before the duo leave their former label. The Righteous Brothers version of “Ebb Tide” remains one of their most popular and enduring hits, with Bobby Hatfield performing it for enthusiastic audiences until his passing on November 5, 2003.

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twixnmix:

When Phil Spector and his wife Ronnie Spector adopted their son Donté

in 1969,

Phil tried to pass him off as their biological child. He wrote an actual theatrical script breakdown for Ronnie to manage the unveiling of their new child. Two years later, Phil gave Ronnie a set of adopted twins for Christmas. Just a few months after that, she escaped. Ronnie

had been tormented by Phil and kept prisoner in his mansion throughout their marriage. The day after their wedding in 1968 he surrounded the estate with a barbed-wire fence. Bars went on the windows next, and monitoring intercoms were installed in all the rooms. Then a set of 10-foot electrified gates went up. He would hide her shoes so she couldn’t leave on her own. On the rare occasions she was permitted to leave Phil made her drive with a life-size blow-up doll of himself. He frequently pulled a gun on her and installed a gold coffin with a glass top in the basement, promising that he would kill her if she tried to leave him. She escaped barefoot with the help of her mother in 1972. 

In 2009, Phil was sentenced to 19 years to life for shooting actress Lana Clarkson to death at his home in 2003.

On this day in music history: August 13, 1963 – “Be My Baby” by The Ronettes is released. Written by Phil Spector, Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, it is the sixth single release and biggest hit for the pop vocal group from New York City. Raised in Spanish Harlem, sisters Veronica “Ronnie”, Estelle Bennett and their cousin Nedra Talley begin singing together, as kids. Inspired by Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers, the girls form their own group in 1957, also adding their cousins Ira, Elaine and Diane. The group perform at the Apollo Theater’s legendary amateur night singing “Why Do Fools Fall In Love”. When Ira is unable to sing, Ronnie steps in immediately and takes the lead, earning a favorable response from the notoriously tough audience. Ira, Elaine and Diane drop out of the group, leaving the other three to continue on their own. Calling themselves Ronnie & The Relatives, they begin performing at local parties and events around the city. In 1961, they meet Stu Phillips of Colpix Records, who sign them to a recording contract. They release several singles that fail to make any impact, but wind up becoming regular performers at the Peppermint Lounge. The club manager mistakes them for dancers, and puts them on stage behind Joey Dee & The Star Liters. Now re-named The Ronettes, they release a few more singles with Colpix before breaking ties with them. In early 1963, Estelle contacts producer and songwriter Phil Spector, and asks if the group can audition for him. Impressed, Spector signs them to his label Philles Records in March of 1963. Cutting several sides, they’re either shelved or released under their label mates The Crystals name. In July, they record a new song penned by Spector and the husband and wife songwriting team of Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich. The song titled “Be My Baby” is recorded at Gold Star Studios on July 5, 1963, with Spector using members of the famed studio collective The Wrecking Crew. In spite of being credited to The Ronettes, Ronnie is the only member of the group on the single, with Estelle and Nedra’s places being taken by a group of backing vocalists including Darlene Love & The Blossoms, Ellie Greenwich, Nino Tempo, Sonny Bono and a then seventeen year old Cher. Released just over a month later, the record quickly becomes a smash, peaking at #2 on the Hot 100 on October 12, 1963, and #4 on the R&B chart on October 26, 1963. Widely regarded as one of the greatest pop records ever made, “Be My Baby” becomes one the songs that defines Phil Spector’s signature “Wall Of Sound” production. The song is covered countless times over the years, including versions by Andy Kim, Shaun Cassidy, and Tommy Roe. In 1986, the chorus of “Be My Baby” is interpolated into Eddie Money’s hit “Take Me Home Tonight”, with Ronnie Spector herself singing the hook. “Be My Baby” is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1999, and added to the National Recording Registry by the Library Of Congress in 2006.

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Born on this day: August 10, 1943 – Ronnie Spector, lead singer of The Ronettes (born Veronica Yvette Bennett in New York City, NY). Happy 76th Birthday, Ronnie!!

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Born on this day: July 26, 1941 – Pop and R&B vocal legend Darlene Love (born Darlene Wright in Los Angeles, CA). Happy 78th Birthday, Darlene!!!

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On this day in music history: May 28, 1966 – “River Deep – Mountain High” by Ike & Tina Turner is released. Written by Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich and Phil Spector, is the first collaboration between Turner and legendary producer Spector. In the Spring of 1966, Phil Spector approaches Tina Turner about working together. Well aware of Ike Turner’s reputation, and the tight control he has over his wife’s career, Spector pays Ike $20,000 to work with Tina and keep him out of the studio. Recorded at Gold Star Studios with members of The Wrecking Crew, Spector intends it to be his “ultimate production”. The single is credited to Ike & Tina, though Ike does not actually perform on it. However, it flops in the US peaking at #88 on the Hot 100 on June 18, 1966. Though it is a big success across Europe, hitting #3 on the UK singles chart. Crushed by the records failure in the US, Spector goes into a deep depression, causing him to withdraw from the music business for nearly two years, and signals the beginning of his decline both professionally and psychologically. In time, “River Deep – Mountain High” is regarded as one of Phil Spector’s greatest achievements, and is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1999. The song is covered numerous times over the years, including versions by Nilsson, The Supremes & The Four Tops, Deep Purple, and Celine Dion.

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Ike and Tina Turner with Phil Spector at Gold Star Studios in Los Angeles, March 1966

Phil Spector produced the Ike and Tina Turner song “River Deep, Mountain High.” However,

Phil offered Ike $20,000 upfront in exchange for total control over the production so Ike was not a part of the making of that song. The single was successful in Europe but didn’t do as well in America. This disappointment caused Phil to go into semi-retirement. Phil later inducted Ike and Tina into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1991.

In 2007, Phil gave a eulogy at Ike’s funeral. He said, “Ike made Tina the jewel she was.” Phil then criticized Tina’s autobiography I, Tina, he said: “I have an ambivalence towards Oprah Winfrey. She made Tina Turner’s book into a bestseller which demonized and vilified Ike. The book wouldn’t have sold 10 books. It was badly written. It was a piece of trash and because Oprah idolized Tina she didn’t feel it wrong to vilify a brother.” He also said the biopic What’s Love Got to Do With It was a “piece of trash movie.”

Phil is currently a serving a prison sentence for the second-degree murder of actress Lana Clarkson.

twixnmix:

When Phil Spector and his wife Ronnie Spector adopted their son Donté

in 1969,

Phil tried to pass him off as their biological child. He wrote an actual theatrical script breakdown for Ronnie to manage the unveiling of their new child. Two years later, Phil gave Ronnie a set of adopted twins for Christmas. Just a few months after that, she escaped. Ronnie

had been tormented by Phil and kept prisoner in his mansion throughout their marriage. The day after their wedding in 1968 he surrounded the estate with a barbed-wire fence. Bars went on the windows next, and monitoring intercoms were installed in all the rooms. Then a set of 10-foot electrified gates went up. He would hide her shoes so she couldn’t leave on her own. On the rare occasions she was permitted to leave Phil made her drive with a life-size blow-up doll of himself. He frequently pulled a gun on her and installed a gold coffin with a glass top in the basement, promising that he would kill her if she tried to leave him. She escaped barefoot with the help of her mother in 1972. 

In 2009, Phil was sentenced to 19 years to life for shooting actress Lana Clarkson to death at his home in 2003.

On this day in music history: March 7, 1966 – Tina Turner records her vocals on “River Deep – Mountain High” at Gold Star Studios in Hollywood, CA. Written by Phil Spector, Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, it is first solo release by Tina Turner. Producer Phil Spector, long an admirer of Tina, approaches her about working together. Spector pays Ike $20,000 to stay away from the studio though he is billed on the finished single and album. “River Deep – Mountain High” is released in May of 1966 but flops in the US, peaking at #88 on the Hot 100. However, it is enthusiastically received in the UK where it peaks at #3. The records US failure devastates Spector so much, that he stops recording for over two years. In spite of its failure in the US, years later the epic song is covered by numerous artists, with the original recording being regarded as one of Phil Spector’s greatest productions. The recording session for the song is recreated in the film “What’s Love Got To Do With it” in 1993, with actress Angela Bassett lip synching to the original track. “River Deep – Mountain High” is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1999.