Phil Spector, Famed Music Producer and Convicted Murderer, Dies at 81


For Mr. Lennon, he produced “Imagine” and, in part, “John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band” and “Rock ’n’ Roll.” He worked with Mr. Harrison on the album “All Things Must Pass” and “The Concert for Bangladesh,” a live triple album of the two charity concerts at Madison Square Garden in New York organized by Mr. Harrison in 1971 to aid refugees from the Bangladesh-Pakistan war.

“Let It Be” received mixed reviews and was thoroughly repudiated by Paul McCartney, who hated the lush choirs and heavy orchestration, especially on “The Long and Winding Road.” At his instigation, Apple Records produced a de-Spectorized version of the record, released in 2003 as “Let It Be . . . Naked.”

In the late 1970s, in recording sessions marked by more than the usual chaos, Mr. Spector produced the Ramones’ album “End of the Century” and Leonard Cohen’s “Death of a Ladies’ Man.” Neither album was successful.


Mr. Spector was inducted in to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1989. A boxed set of his recordings from 1958 to 1969, “Phil Spector: Back to Mono,” was released by Phil Spector Records in 1991.


In addition to his daughter Nicole, survivors include his partner, Janis Zavala.

In the early hours of Feb. 3, 2003, Mr. Spector, after drinking heavily, drove to his home in Alhambra, Calif., with Lana Clarkson, a struggling actress he had just met at the House of Blues, where she worked as a hostess. His chauffeur, waiting behind the house, later testified that he heard a popping sound, after which Mr. Spector emerged, a revolver in his hand, and said, “I think I killed somebody.”

Mr. Spector was charged with second-degree murder. His defense argued that Ms. Clarkson, depressed about her failed acting career, had committed suicide.

A first trial, in 2007, ended in a hung jury. Mr. Spector was retried in 2009 and found guilty. He received a sentence of 19 years to life, which he was serving at the California Health Care Facility in Stockton. Because of his declining health, he had been moved from the California State Prison in Corcoran in 2014.


Marie Fazio and Lauren Wolfe contributed reporting.

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