Phil Spector, star pop producer convicted of murder, dies at 81

His signature “wall of sound” method changed the sound of pop forever, but the troubled producer will always be remembered for the murder of Hollywood actress Lana Clarkson.

Phil Spector

Photo: Nick Ut / Pool via Getty Images

Phil Spector, the convicted murderer and producer whose production methods changed the sound of pop and rock, has died at 81.

Spector died while serving his sentence for the murder of Lana Clarkson. News of his death was confirmed in a statement by the California Department Of Corrections And Rehabilitation.

“California Health Care Facility inmate Phillip Spector was pronounced deceased of natural causes at 6:35 p.m. on Saturday, January 16, 2021, at an outside hospital,” the statement read. “His official cause of death will be determined by the medical examiner in the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office.”

According to sources from TMZ, Spector may have died from COVID-related symptoms.

In his heyday, Spector was renowned for his signature production method, the “Wall Of Sound”, which involved layering orchestral instruments onto pop arrangements for a lush and full sound.

In the early 70s, Spector was responsible for producing The Beatles’ final studio album Let It Be, as well as the celebrated solo albums, Imagine and All Things Must Pass, by John Lennon and George Harrison respectively.

By the later part of the decade, accounts of Spector’s disturbing behaviour began circulating around the music scene. He was said to have held a gun to Leonard Cohen’s head at the sessions for the album Death Of A Ladies’ Man.

In a separate incident, he reportedly held The Ramones hostage at gunpoint at his mansion, while the group were working on their 1980 album, End Of The Century.

In 2009, Spector was convicted for the 2003 murder of Hollywood actress Lana Clarkson. She was found dead at his mansion in Alhambra, California with a bullet wound in her head. Spector claimed Clarkson’s death was an accident.

At his trial, four women came forth to allege that Spector had in the past threatened them with guns when they turned down his advances. He was convicted of second degree murder and given a sentence of 19 years to life.

Weeks before the murder of Clarkson, Spector sat down for a rare interview with The Telegraph.

“I would say I’m probably relatively insane, to an extent,” he said. “I have devils inside that fight me. And I’m my own worst enemy.”

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