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Phil Spector: Famed music producer, convicted murderer dead at 81

Obit Phil Spector
Posted at 9:46 AM, Jan 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-17 13:00:36-05

LOS ANGELES — Phil Spector, the eccentric and revolutionary music producer who transformed rock music with his “Wall of Sound” method and who later was convicted of murder, has died. He was 81.

California state prison officials said he died Saturday of natural causes at a hospital.

Born in New York City in 1939, Specter rose to fame in the early 1960s by working with artists like Ronnie Crawford and the Top Notes. Throughout the decade, helped forever transform the sound of pop music through his innovative "Wall of Sound" method, which employed dozens of microphones to capture unique sounds.

By the end of the decade, Specter was working with the biggest bands in the world, like The Beatles, and his method was employed by other influential bands like the Beach Boys and the Velvet Underground.

After several decades away from the public eye, actress Lana Clarkson was found dead of a gunshot wound at Spector's castle-like mansion in 2003. At the time, Spector claimed Clarkson's death was an accidental suicide, but he was eventually charged with murder.

In 2007, Spector's first murder trial was declared a mistrial by hung jury. He was tried again for murder in late 2008 and eventually convicted in 2009. He was sentenced to 19 years to life.