He's a Rebel: Phil Spector—Rock and Roll's Legendary Producer
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Phil Spector created the "wall of sound," produced the Beatles' last record, persuaded the Ramones to go "pop," made the Righteous Brothers sound respectable, and was a millionaire by age 21. His credits include some of the most important and memorable songs of the 1960s: The Ronettes' "Be My Baby," The Crystals' "And Then He Kissed Me," and Ike and Tina Turner's "River Deep, Mountain High."
Culled from more than 100 interviews with Spector's closest associates, including staff producers, singers, musicians, and ex-wives, He's a Rebel discusses all stages of Spector's varied musical career, from his first hit, "To Know Him Is To Love Him" (written as a teenager) to his appointment to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
In addition to chronicling his musical achievements and unpredictable genius, the author boldly explores Spector's legendary eccentricities, addictions, and violent, reclusive tendencies. He's a Rebel offers a definitive, unflinching portrait of Phil Spector, the producer who transformed the airwaves and forever impacted the sound of popular music.
on the floor and screamin’ . . . ‘piss, shit, fuck. Fuck, shit, piss!’ He would just go on, he started freakin’ out, and there would be no reason to go on any longer with the session.” As Dee Dee Ramone and Phil came closer to going over the edge, the studio became a collision course waiting for an accident to happen. At one crisis point, Joey and the band’s musical director, Ed Stasium, warned Phil his drinking was killing the album and he eased off. “We wanted Ed there to oversee,” Joey said,
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Howard Hirsch and a drummer, Rod Schaffer. Elliott had a much younger brother, Ira, who was only nine at the time. But he could still see something disturbing and adrift in Phil Spector. “He was this lost soul. My mother was a real mom to everybody, and I think Phil liked to be around us, as a family feeling. But he was a lost soul; he got pretty out there and unapproachable during that time.” Esther Ingber thought so too. Though Phil seemed to want to be around her son and her home, she
anyone born early or late enough to appreciate his work. The bom, bom-bom intro riff of “Be My Baby” is an immediately identifiable heartbeat. Indeed, the Wall of Sound doesn’t reflect the sixties motif as much as it is the era’s apotheosis by lionizing the sentimentality in all humans. Spector’s 1963 Christmas album—an astounding portrait of maudlin beauty—is this generation’s “White Christmas.” At the height of his reign, Spector’s authority over a song was not unlike that of Frank Capra,
man who knew all the angles and all the right people. Phil had long known Davis. A round little man with friendly blue eyes and a cackling laugh that could rumble a room, Davis had once worked the Borscht Belt as a stand-up comedian while doing promotion for Eddie Fisher, and he carried that chattery arm-around-the-shoulder manner to rock and roll when John Bienstock hired him as national promotion manager at Big Top Records. Davis, who promoted Spector’s records for Dunes, found Phil an