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Friday on my Mind 199: Baby I Love You

That he committed a murder is the main fact that ought to be remembered about Phil Spector, who died last weekend.

His death would not have made the headlines, however – murderers are not usually accorded such notice – had he not, as a record producer, been the main architect of the sound of mid-60s US pop music with his ‘wall of sound.’ A sound characterised by heavy drums, layered vocals, strings and highlighted percussion. As typified in the song below, recorded by The Ronettes.

Spector’s life was always likely to come to some sort of horrific event. He had a disturbed childhood, subjected to bullying by his mother and schoolmates and further traumatised by his father’s suicide. His behaviour in adulthood could be described euphemistically as erratic or, more emphatically, as demented. He treated his second wife, Ronnie, abominably and had a history of pulling guns on people in the recording studio. He was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Without him the Sixties would have sounded very different.

The Ronettes: Baby I Love You

Harvey Phillip (Phil) Spector: 26/12/1939 – 16/1/2021. So it goes.

Let us not forget his victim, whose young life he ended tragically abruptly.

Lana Clarkson: 5/4/1962 – 3/2/2003. So it goes.

Friday on my Mind 177: Be My Baby – RIP Hal Blaine

The list of hits on which Hal Blaine played drums is enormous. His obituary in the Guardian mentions only a few. A fuller (though possibly partial) list is here. Looking at that it could almost be said that he was the sound of the sixties.

He was certainly a major component of the “wall of sound” on those Phil Spector productions he played on. No more so than on Be My Baby.

The Ronettes: Be My Baby

Harold Simon Belsky (Hal Blaine): 5/2/1929 – 11/3/2019. So it goes.

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