Legendarni producent Phil Spector je juce uhapsen zbog ubistva u Kaliforniji,u produzetku teksta je intervju iz Londonskog Telegrapha...odlican text :smile:
Phil Spector-Pop's Lost Genius
from the Telegraph, London
Phil Spector produced some of the greatest pop hits of all time, from Be My Baby to Imagine. Notoriously eccentric in his heyday, his slow retreat into self-imposed exile only multiplied the myths that surrounded him: insane genius, tyrannical egomaniac, demented control freak. The reality is no less extraordinary. In his first interview for 25 years, he breaks his silence to Mick BrowPop's los
Phil Spector produced some of the greatest pop hits of all time, from Be My Baby to Imagine. Notoriously eccentric in his heyday, his slow retreat into self-imposed exile only multiplied the myths that surrounded him: insane genius, tyrannical egomaniac, demented control freak. The reality is no less extraordinary. In his first interview for 25 years, he breaks his silence to Mick Brown
'I have not been well,' says Phil Spector, choosing his words carefully. 'I was crippled inside. Emotionally. Insane is a hard word. I wasn't insane, but I wasn't well enough to function as a regular part of society, so I didn't. I chose not to.' He pauses. 'I have devils inside that fight me.'
Phil Spector: 'I have devils inside that fight me'
The classical music that has been playing throughout our conversation ebbs and flows. Sibelius, Bach, Beethoven, Brahms. Spector is responsible for producing some of the greatest pop music ever made: Be My Baby by the Ronettes; You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' by the Righteous Brothers; River Deep - Mountain High by Ike & Tina Turner; Imagine by John Lennon; My Sweet Lord by George Harrison. But he no longer listens to those songs. The hi-fi equipment ranged in his music room - his own wall of sound - is silent; the antique jukebox loaded with his own hits is never played. Instead, Spector subscribes to a satellite service that feeds classical music into his home on tap, 24 hours a day; balm for his troubled soul.
For 25 years Spector lived in a mansion in Beverly Hills. It was there that he masterminded his conquest of the pop charts in the Sixties and Seventies, and where he began his long, slow retreat into self-imposed exile, secreted behind security fences and 'Keep Out' signs. Twelve years ago, as if to put yet more distance between himself and the music business on which he had apparently turned his back, he locked the gates of the mansion and moved into a Thirties replica of an 18th-century Pyrenean chateau, high on a hill above the Los Angeles suburb of Alhambra. 'I wanted a castle,' he says. 'And there aren't many left.'
Spector lives here alone, with only his small staff for company. He sits, hunched, a small figure on a large white sofa. His hands tremble slightly. He is drinking something red that might be wine, or cranberry juice, or who knows what else. He is wearing - the strangest thing - a wristwatch that on the hour makes a whirring noise, like a cuckoo clock, and speaks the time: 'It's three o'clock.'
'I am trying to get my life reasonable,' he says. 'I'm not going to ever be happy. Happiness isn't on. Because happiness is temporary. Unhappiness is temporary. Ecstasy is temporary. Orgasm is temporary. Everything is temporary. But being reasonable is an approach. And being reasonable with yourself. It's very difficult, very difficult to be reasonable.'
He slowly shakes his head and falls back on the sofa. The music swirls around us. And you find yourself thinking, reasonable? When was Phil Spector ever reasonable?
I heard my first Phil Spector record in 1963: Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah by Bob B Soxx and the Blue Jeans. There was, strictly speaking, no such group: they were simply session singers whom Spector had assembled for the occasion, their name a nod to the teenage sartorial craze of the time. The song itself was taken from the 1946 Walt Disney movie Song of the South. In its original form, it had been a slice of happy-go-lucky, not to say mindless, cornball optimism. Spector turned it completely on its head to create something that sounded like music had never sounded before. The voices pleaded and preached, like a gospel choir getting happy in an echo-chamber. The sound created by a melange of instruments was so dense, so clotted, that as Spector now recalls, there wasn't even room for a drum in the mix - unlike his other recordings, where he would sometimes employ two or three drum kits at a time. The effect was dark, incantatory, disturbingly sexual. There was nothing reasonable about it.
Between 1961 and 1966 Spector's so-called Wall of Sound made him the most successful pop record producer in the world, with more than 20 top-40 hits by such artists as the Crystals, the Ronettes and the Righteous Brothers. In the words of the writer Tom Wolfe, Spector was the 'first tycoon of teen', a man who dared to come on not only as if he was Mozart but Salieri as well, part genius, part hustler, a precocious, brilliant and demented visionary who would change the face of pop music for ever.
When, in the late Sixties, musical fashion overtook his Wall of Sound, Spector moved on to the biggest pop group in the world, the Beatles. In 1969 he produced their valedictory album Let It Be, and went on to produce solo albums by John Lennon and George Harrison. Then began the long, slow retreat. In 1980 Spector produced his last album, for the punk-rock group the Ramones. And then he vanished, seemingly abandoning his old life as pop music's most celebrated producer for a new one, as its most enigmatic recluse. Phil Spector has not given a major interview in more than 25 years. His has been rock'n'roll's greatest untold story.
'Happiness is temporary': Spector in his 1964 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud, which has the licence plate 'Phil 500', last month
'I don't like to talk,' he says, 'and I can't stand to be talked about. I can't stand to be looked at.
I can't stand to be photographed. I can't stand the attention.' Venturing out rarely for public appearances, he has allowed the myths that surround him to multiply without correction or rebuke: Spector the madman, the broken genius, unable to face the monumental weight of his own legacy. But last year came the astonishing news that Spector had returned to the studio to produce two tracks for a forthcoming album by the British band Starsailor.
The prospect that Spector would even consider being interviewed was remote; his agreement, when it came, frankly incredible. It was almost to be expected, then, that the evening I arrived in LA there was a message waiting for me at my hotel. Our appointment for the following day had been cancelled. I was instructed to wait. For 24 hours I held my breath, then the telephone rang. A car was waiting for me downstairs, a white 1964 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud, licence plate 'Phil 500'. A chauffeur swung open the door. Encased in leather and walnut, hidden behind black curtains - a car that could tell stories - we proceeded along the Hollywood Freeway, bound for Alhambra.
We turned off the freeway and the road wound upwards, and further upwards still, ending at last at a set of high wrought-iron gates. We drove through and pulled to a halt, the gates slowly closing behind us. 'Mr Spector,' said the chauffeur, opening my door, 'likes visitors to walk up.'
A flight of broad granite steps led up through an avenue of lowering pines. The summit seemed to be wreathed in mist, out of which the shape of the castle loomed, grey, turreted, imposing. I felt I was being watched. I might have been imagining this.
The front door opened into a cavernous hallway, red-carpeted and wood-panelled. Two suits of medieval armour stood sentinel. Spector was nowhere to be seen. His assistant, a vivacious woman in her early 40s, guided me through the ground-floor rooms: the music room, John Lennon's old guitar resting on a stand; the bar lined with framed photographs of Spector with various music-business luminaries. In the drawing-room a Picasso drawing hung on the wall beside an original Lennon sketch. A uniformed maid brought iced water. The classical music swirled around us. After 30 minutes the assistant's mobile phone rang. Philip, she said, would be with us shortly.
He appeared at the top of the stairs, to the strains of Handel. A small, slight figure, he was wearing a shoulder-length, curled toupee, blue-tinted glasses, a black silk pyjama suit with the monogram PS picked out in silver thread, and three-inch Cuban-heel boots. He looked bizarre, yet at the same time curiously magnificent.
In his 1904 book 'A Study of Genius', the British physician Havelock Ellis drew a correlation between genius and insanity. There were those, he wrote, who were insane during a considerable portion of their lives (William Cowper); those who were briefly insane (Dante Gabriel Rosetti); and those who exhibited 'marked eccentricity not amounting to insanity' (James Boswell). The 19th-century French criminologist Césare Lombroso maintained that genius was linked both to traits such as sexual excess, morbid vanity and excessive verbosity, and to physical characteristics such as shortness of stature and pallor. Another British physician, WR Bett, wrote a volume on what he called 'the deformities of genius', citing Honoré de Balzac's high blood pressure, Robert Burns's rheumatic fever and Lord Byron's lameness.
These authorities would doubtless have been fascinated by Spector, although none of them in their analyses of genius mentioned a tendency to cheat at Monopoly and Scrabble, which was his habit as a child. Playing against his friends, he would take paper money from his own set to games. 'An extra $100 or $500 and I'd win every time. Same with the x's and blanks at Scrabble.' He shrugs and laughs quietly to himself. 'I just figured, shit, if it's all about winning I ain't going to lose, because what's the fucking fun in that? And if you don't like it, don't invite me over.'
Spector grew up in the Bronx, the younger of two children. He was nine when his father Ben, a steelworker, succumbing to the pressure of financial difficulties, ran a length of hose from the exhaust pipe to the front window of his car and killed himself. The family moved to LA, where Spector's mother Bertha worked all hours as a seamstress.
Spector was small and scrawny, a chronic asthmatic with watery eyes, a receding chin and a whining, adenoidal voice: the outsider, 'always different', who knew he was smarter than most, even if nobody else did. His mother and elder sister alternately dominated and smothered him. He used to dream of being strangled.
Music was his salvation; not the white-bread pop that dominated the late Fifties, but jazz, rhythm and blues, and classical music. He took guitar lessons, and in 1958 he enlisted two high-school friends, called them the Teddy Bears, and wrote, produced and sang on his first recording, To Know Him Is To Love Him. The title was borrowed from the inscription on his father's gravestone. A sepulchral, haunting doo-wop ballad, it went to number one in the American charts. Spector was just 17.
He made $20,000 on the record and was swindled out of $17,000 of it. He would never make the same mistake again. 'I learnt a lot by being in the Teddy Bears,' he says. 'I learnt I didn't want to be a singer. I learnt about payola and distributors and manufacturing. I learnt about the Mafia.'
Convinced that his destiny lay not in performing, but in writing and producing, Spector headed back to New York. 'I wanted to be in the background, but I wanted to be important in the background. I wanted to be the focal point. I knew about Toscanini. I knew that Mozart was more important than his operas; that Beethoven was more important than whoever was playing or conducting his music. That's what I wanted to be.'
He shoehorned his way into the Brill Building on Broadway, where teams of writers worked in cubicles pitching songs for the pop market. Spector was a minnow in the shark-infested waters of Tin Pan Alley, but he was a quick learner. Early photographs show a sallow-faced young man with suspicious eyes shielding big ambitions. He ran errands and slept on couches, at the same time writing and producing minor hits for such artists as Gene Pitney and Curtis Lee, and co-writing the classic Spanish Harlem for Ben E King. He quickly earned a reputation for being both brilliant and impossibly bumptious. He would tell everybody he met that he was a genius. 'And they would agree with me.' He laughs. 'I believed I was the best in the world.'
In 1960 he set up his own label, Philles, with a music business veteran, Lester Sill. Financial backing came from a woman named Helen Noga, who managed the singer Johnny Mathis. 'An Armenian-Italian mafioso lady,' Spector remembers. 'She was the toughest woman I ever met in my life. Toughest person I ever met. 'Bout 4ft 9in, 400lb, with a mouth like a truck driver. She took a liking to me. All these people loved me.' He smiles to himself. 'They saw money in me.'
The label had its first hit in 1961 with There's No Other Like My Baby by the Crystals, and its first number one the following year with the same group's He's a Rebel. Spector bought out Sill, and at the age of 21 became the youngest record-company boss in America, and a millionaire.
More than just a producer, Spector was a visionary who approached making records like a general waging war. In those days, pop's infancy, the conventional line-up for a session was drums, bass, guitar and piano. But Spector dreamt of a sound never before heard in pop: huge, clamorous, monumental. He would assemble up to 30 musicians and singers in the studio, who fought for elbow room: regiments of bass players and guitarists, as many as four at a time; platoons of pianists; battalions of drums; massed ranks of horns and strings.
'A Phil Spector session was a party session,' remembers the drummer Hal Blaine, who played on all the Spector hits. 'Phil would have a notice on the door of the studio, "Closed Session", and anyone who stuck their head in he'd grab them and give them a tambourine or a cowbell. There'd sometimes be more percussionists than orchestra. I used to call it the Phil-harmonic. It was an absolute ball.'
Spector in the music room of his chateau outside LA: the jukebox is loaded with his own hits, but he never plays them. 'Those records, when I was making them, they were the greatest love of my life'
Recording on rudimentary one- and two-track equipment, Spector would 'ping-pong' the music back and forth, building it up layer by layer, pushing the recording needle into the red zone - then pushing it even further to create a thunderous torrent of sound. He would spread the voices on top like chocolate icing. Spector favoured black girls: Darlene Love, Veronica Bennett of the Ronettes and Dolores 'La La' Brooks of the Crystals - heartbreak voices, soulful and sexy.
The songs themselves might have been simple, almost banal - Da Do Ron Ron, Be My Baby - but in Spector's hands they became epics, 'little symphonies for the kids', in his phrase; mythic teen fables of desire and need and pain, the ecstasy of a goodnight kiss, the agony of being much too young to be married; innocent and knowing, neon-bright and dungeon-dark all at the same time; delirious, feverish... mad.
Spector was a man possessed. He hired the best session musicians in LA, and kept them waiting for hours while he tinkered obsessively to capture a sound which only he could hear. Guitarists complained of being ordered to play the same chord over and over again until their fingers bled.
'I knew,' says Spector.
At a time when pop music was generally regarded as ephemeral junk, Spector had the temerity to call it art. 'People made fun of me, the little kid who was making rock'n'roll records. But I knew. I would try to tell all the groups, we're doing something very important. Trust me. And it was very hard because these people didn't have that sense of destiny. They didn't know they were producing art that would change the world. I knew.'
In a sense you could see these records as Spector's revenge against all the doubters and disbelievers, 'the cigar-chewing fatties', as he called them, who controlled the pop business and viewed him, the teenage upstart, with contempt. In the outside world, he might have been small, strange and put-upon. But in the studio Phil Spector was a god shaping his own universe.
So you wanted immortality, I ask.
'Yes.' He nods vigorously. 'I think when Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence he was thinking, people will remember this. Gershwin may have said to himself, I'm not sure about this American in Paris, but I think he said, this is something special. I think Irving Berlin had an ego. I think he wanted to be number one. And so did I.'
Spector says he doesn't like to talk about the past, yet this can't be right because here, seated on the sofa, talking about the past, he flames into life; names, dates and song titles come spilling out. Old friends are saluted, old enemies trashed.
When I ask him about You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' by the Righteous Brothers - to my mind, Spector's defining moment, greater even than the same team's Unchained Melody - he appears to enter a reverie. Written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, two of his best writers, and recorded in 1964, the record was Spector's most Wagnerian production yet - a funeral march to departed love. The guitarist Barney Kessel, who played on the song, described Spector approaching the recording 'like he was going to invade Moscow'.
Eschewing the duo's usual practice of sharing the lead, Spector gave almost the whole song to Bill Medley, leaving his partner Bobby Hatfield to sing only a minor part. When a peeved Hatfield asked what he was supposed to do while Medley was singing, Spector allegedly snapped back, 'You can take the money to the bank.'
'That's true,' he says. 'It's also true that they didn't want to do Lovin' Feelin'. They wanted to do rock'n'roll, ooh-bop-a-doo stuff.' He shakes his head, as if to say 'Idiots.'
'I worked six months on that fucking record, over-dubbing and re-overdubbing, and finally I had it down right where I thought it was pretty good, but I was worried that nobody would get it. I played it for a few people and nobody had heard anything like it. I didn't know whether we'd changed the world or done something completely catastrophic. So I had to go back to New York.
'I played it for Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. I put it on, the record goes, "You never close your eyes", and Barry says, "Whoah, whoah, wait. Wrong speed." I said, "What?" He goes, "Wrong speed, Phil." That's the first comment I hear.
'So I immediately called Dr Kaplan, my psychiatrist, and I said, "Doc, I have to see you right away. I just worked six months on this record; it cost me $35,000 and the fucking co-writer thinks it's on the wrong fucking speed. I called Larry Levine, my engineer, and said, "You given me the right pressing?" I'm fucking paranoid. I didn't know what to do. So I called Donnie Kirshner, the co-publisher, and said, "Donnie, I got to play you this record." He said, "I hear it's a monster." I said, "You've got the best ears in the business." So I bring it over and put it on. He goes, "Boops, it's great, it's great, it's great; what do you call it?" I said, "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'." He said, "How many you got pressed up?" I said, "Half a million." He said, "Bring Back That Lovin' Feelin' - that's your title." That's the second opinion. So I call Dr Kaplan again.
'Then I call Murray the K, the biggest DJ in New York City. I said, "Murray, I have this new Righteous Brothers record. I need you to play it on the show, because it's a four minute and five second record; there's never been a record this long before." And I'm lying on the label; I put three minutes five seconds - I got in a lot of fucking trouble for that. So he comes over and he listens to the record. This is the last opinion of the day - five o'clock in the afternoon. And he's listening and listening, and it gets to the middle section, and he says, "That bass line, that La Bamba thing, what's that?" I said, "That's part of the song." He said, "That's fucking sensational." I said, "Well, yeah." He said, "That's how it should begin." I said, "It can't begin that way, Murray." He said, "Make that the beginning." And those are my three experts; the co-writer, the co-publisher and the number-one disc-jockey in America all killed me. I didn't sleep for a week when that record came out. I was so sick, I got a spastic colon; I had an ulcer.'
According to Spector You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' is now the most played and programmed song in the history of music, beating Always by Irving Berlin and the Beatles' Yesterday. 'I'm just saying this because McCartney and I have a little thing going with each other.' He gives a snickering laugh. 'I'm just giving it a little boom-boom-boom.'
Spector's wristwatch speaks. 'It's four o'clock.'
'Timing,' he says, 'is the key to everything.
'OK.' He jabs a finger at me across the table. 'You ask me what's my name, and then you ask me what do you do for a living, and what's the most important part of what you do for a living. Go ahead! Just for the conversation.'
OK. What's your name?
And what do you do for a living?
'I'm a record producer.'
And what's the most important...
And Spector breaks up in laughter.
This is the unexpected thing about him, just how funny he is. The scabrous comedian Lenny Bruce was one of his closest friends - he once described Bruce as 'my Socrates'. Spector recorded him and supported him through his last days from when Bruce was being harassed by the authorities until his death in 1966 from a drug overdose (or, as Spector put it at the time, 'an overdose of police'). And you suspect he is still keeping Bruce's lines warm.
'Profanity,' he declares, 'is the last refuge of the inarticulate prick.' And, 'In a world where carpenters get resurrected anything is fucking possible.' As long as you've got the timing right. Timing - he says it again - is everything.
In the early Sixties in America, pop music was dominated by a handful of major companies.
A small independent might have regional success but would have to kowtow to a major for national distribution. Spector changed that. He controlled everything himself: finding the artists, co-writing the songs, production, publicity, quality control. Because he had made the sound, and the sound was what sold, he was - uniquely for a producer - bigger than his artists, strutting like a tyrant, all capes and Cuban heels. 'He was the first of the anarchists/pop music millionaires,' the writer Nik Cohn observed. 'At last, in him, odium equalled money.'
'We played the part,' says Spector. 'Did it all, did it all. I just felt I didn't fit in. I was different. So I had to make my own world. And it made life complicated for me, but it made it justifiable. Oh, that's the reason they hate my fucking guts; I look strange, I act strange, I make these strange records, so there's a reason to hate my guts. Because I felt hated. Even when the music became big I never felt like I fitted in. I never did all the drugs and the parties. I didn't feel comfortable. I always preferred the studio. Going out was always the big ordeal. Too hard. It was like being in front of an audience.'
Fame, success, the recognition he had always craved, all of it was 'scary. I felt powerful. But it was frightening because you always think of losing it, every minute of the day. You look at poor people all the time. You think of yourself as poor all the time. You're remembering yourself as poor all the time. You never quite accept it. Guilt, all the time.'
Spector had by now married Veronica Bennett, the stunningly beautiful lead singer of the Ronettes. She would later write in her autobiography, Be My Baby, of how Spector kept her a virtual prisoner in his mansion. When she toured with the Ronettes, she recalled, he would call each night and tell her to leave the receiver on her pillow so he could hear the sound of her breathing until morning. But couldn't that be love? He bought her a sports car and a custom-made mannequin of himself to ride in the front seat beside her. Perhaps it was obsession.
According to Bennett, he would replay the film Citizen Kane endlessly in the darkness of his mansion, weeping at the final scene where Rosebud, the sled, is incinerated. Citizen Kane is a film about wealth, hubris and spiritual failure. Like Spector, Orson Welles was a prodigy - he made Kane when he was 26 - a genius who refused to compromise, and who bent the world to his vision. And as much as the film was a study of power and the isolation it brings - the plutocrat locked in his mansion of Xanadu - it was also a portrait of Welles's own worst fears, the decline of early promise and brilliance. Spector regards it as the greatest film ever made, and returns to it constantly throughout our conversation. At one point we are talking about Lenny Bruce. The great tragedy of Bruce, Spector once said, was that he was remembered for all the wrong reasons - as a junkie, rather than a wise, fearless and funny man. Did Spector ever worry, I ask, that a similar fate might befall him, remembered not for his brilliance but as...
'Maniacal?' Spector gives a thin smile. 'Yeah. That's why I say now, let the art speak for itself. If the art's maniacal, I'm maniacal.' He pauses. 'Orson Welles spent his whole life chasing money, and then he ended up being 300lb doing wine commercials. He never lived up to the genius that he was because he never made that commitment to what he wanted to be. He was caught up in being a playboy, a movie star, maybe being a senator. I made a commitment to what I wanted to be. I let the art speak for itself.'
Spector made his last great Philles recording in 1966: River Deep - Mountain High with Ike and Tina Turner. It was his most extravagant, most impassioned recording yet. The record did go to number one in Britain, but American DJs ignored it, and in the States it barely brushed the charts. By now, the writing was on the Wall of Sound. Spector's metier was the 45rpm single, but that was fast giving way to the album as the pre-eminent vehicle of pop. The new generation of artists no longer wanted a producer with big ideas; they had big ideas of their own. By the time of River Deep - Mountain High, Spector's operation had ground almost to a halt. Its failure floored him. He folded Philles and retired to his mansion to brood. His career as a record producer appeared to be over.
It was the Beatles who saved him. In 1969, in the midst of breaking up, they approached him to salvage the tapes of Let It Be. Paul McCartney was reportedly incensed when Spector applied his grandiloquent techniques to the title song, dressing it in strings and choirs. (There are rumours that McCartney now plans to issue a remastered version of the recording with Spector's flourishes excised.) But the album was a critical triumph and sold millions. Revitalised, Spector went on to produce George Harrison's All Things Must Pass, and four albums with John Lennon, including Imagine.
Spector's countenance becomes mournful when he talks of Lennon. He loved him and misses him, he says, as he loved and misses Lenny Bruce, and his own father. Lennon was 'the brother I never had. I just loved him. And we just loved each other. He loved the way I worked. He loved the way I thought. Perfect marriage. Just perfect.'
The last album they made together was Rock'n'Roll, recorded in 1974. Lennon had been thrown out of the matrimonial home by Yoko Ono, and had moved to LA. He was drinking heavily, and so was Spector. 'It got a little out of hand,' he remembers, 'because it was the first vacation either of us had taken since we'd started our careers. We partied and invited too many people to the party, everybody from Warren Beatty to Elton John. It wasn't healthy and it wasn't good.'
The sessions ended in disarray. Spector says they both knew it was over. 'I didn't want to work any more and neither did John.' They made a pact to reunite in the future and make a record with Elvis - the record that would save Elvis from himself. And then Elvis died. 'We called each other on the phone,' Spector remembers. 'We were shook up.'
Lennon started recording again, but without Spector. Spector himself continued to work fitfully. He recorded albums with the veteran rocker Dion and with Leonard Cohen, albums that were events simply by virtue of Spector's presence at the controls. But he had lost interest. His eccentricities had by now become a thing of legend. The electric fence around the mansion; the bodyguards; the scenes in restaurants. Cohen described Spector, the control-freak, as 'out of control'. Dee Dee Ramone recalled that when the Ramones first met Spector to discuss working together on the album End of the Century, his first words were, 'My bodyguards want to fight your bodyguards.'
Spector had taken to wearing a pistol - a different one, it was said, according to his wardrobe, and stories multiplied about him brandishing it in the studio. 'He was a good shot,' said Dee Dee. 'I saw him hit a fly at 50 yards.'
It didn't matter if these stories were true. The myths swirled and eddied about him, and in the end they closed over his head like a shroud. By 1980 he had done it all. He had shaped the defining sound of a generation; he had worked with the greatest rock group of them all. Finally, there was nowhere left for him to go. On December 8, 1980, Lennon was shot dead. Phil Spector turned away from the world, and closed the door behind him.
Spector said he needed a break. While he vanished upstairs, I walked in the garden. From here, on top of the world, you could see the sun shining on the roofs of the houses in the valley below. But among the trees, the unkempt lawn and flowerbeds, all was shadows and melancholy. Inside, a buffet lunch had been spread out in the dining-room. Spector's PA and I ate, the classical music playing around us. At length, Spector returned. He looked at the food and shook his head. 'Let's go in the other room.'
'I'm not addicted to applause,' Spector says, 'because I live a life of reclusiveness.' He pauses. 'My friend Doc Pomus [who wrote hits for Elvis and the Drifters], when people used to say, I hear Phil Spector's a recluse, he would say, not recluse, reckless, baby! Reckless!' Spector smiles to himself. His wristwatch whirs into action. 'It's five o'clock.'
For years he did... nothing. He was incapable of action. Paralysed. Projects came and went, unfulfilled. What could possibly interest him?
Michael Jackson? 'The most depressing, heinous thing. I mean, starting out life as a black man and ending up as a white woman, what's that all about?'
Rap music? 'Like the c got left off at the printers.'
Kurt Cobain? 'When Kurt Cobain died somebody phoned me from Time magazine and said, "I haven't been this upset since John Lennon died." I said, "You don't know the difference between Kurt Cobain and John Lennon?" He said. "No, what's the difference?" I said, "That's too bad, because Kurt Cobain did." ' Spector falls back on the sofa. 'It's all been done! It's all been done!'
How did he pass the time - the weeks, the months, the years? 'I studied languages...' The sentence peters into silence. 'I don't remember. I don't think it was a particularly good time.'
He was mostly alone. Spector had no gift for relationships. 'Those records, when I was making them, they were the greatest love of my life.
I lived for those records. That's why I never had relationships with anybody that could last.' He pauses, bewilderment flickering in his face. 'That's why I can't figure out why they have so little significance for me today.'
Phil Spector Intervju
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