Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Agony and Ecstasy of Phil Spector


I had no idea this movie was even in the making! And for someone like myself who has many a friends obsessed with the gun-wielding creator of the “Wall of Sound”, it came as a great surprise.

This documentary is comprised of candid interview footage w/ Phil Spector, courtroom footage of his trial and a soundtrack to die for!

Songs like “To Know Him is to Love Him”, “He’s a Rebel”, “Imagine”, “Be My Baby” and so many more Spector classics were played in their entirety! The clearance of all of these Spector songs is impressive alone, but it’s the honesty (and at times lunacy) in which Spector speaks about his life that really draws you in.

Throughout the documentary he compares himself to artists like Leonardo DaVinci, Bach or Mozart. He also boasts that he has offered more to Rock N Roll than Buddy Holly (because Holly only lived 3 years during Rock N Roll). This is just the tip of the iceberg. His megalomania is on full on display throughout the documentary.

There’s a great moment in the film where he discusses Tina Turners River Deep Mountain High. It was expected to be a big record, even John Lennon and George Harrison endorsed it! But the record failed to move units upon release in the US while it reached #1 in the UK. This prompted Mr. Spector to take out a full page ad in Billboard that read “Benedict Arnold was right”. This move, as Spector says “killed the record immediately”.

I’ll spare any further spoilers, just go and see it.

And make no mistake about it, this is a cautionary tale. As entertaining as it is to hear anecdotes on some of music's most legendary artists, it is clear that Spector is (and has been) dealing with demons.


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