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


“Let It Be” received mixed reviews and was thoroughly disapproved of 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, known in 2003 as “Let It Be. . . Naked.”

In the late 1970s, Mr. Spector produced the Ramones album “End of the Century” and Leonard Cohen’s “Death of a Ladies’ Man” in recordings marked by more than the usual chaos. No album was successful.

Mr. Spector was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1989. A series of his recordings from 1968 to 1969, “Phil Spector: Back to Mono”, was released in 1991 by Phil Spector Records.

Besides his daughter Nicole, his partner Janis Zavala is survivors.

In the early hours of February 3, 2003, after drinking a lot, Mr. Spector drove to their home in Alhambra, California with Lana Clarkson, a struggling actress he’d just met at the House of Blues, to host a hostess. His chauffeur, who was waiting behind the house, later testified that he heard a bang, whereupon Mr. Spector appeared with a revolver in hand and said, “I think I killed someone.”

Police found that Ms. Clarkson slumped in a chair in the foyer and was fatally shot in the mouth with a single bullet.

Mr. Spector has been charged with second degree murder. His defense argued that Ms. Clarkson, depressed by her failed acting career, had committed suicide.

A first trial in 2007 ended in a hanging jury. Mr. Spector was tried again in 2009 and found guilty. He received a 19-year life sentence serving at the Stockton Health Center, California. Because of his deteriorating health, he was moved from Corcoran State Prison, California, in 2014.

Marie Fazio and Lauren Wolfe contributed to the coverage.