Phil Spector’s legal problems of the past decade have over shadowed his success, contributions, and influences in the world of American music, which led to his induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.
He was tried for second-degree murder twice, first in 2007 and again in 2008. The first ended in a mistrial, as it had a hung jury, which voted 10-2 in favor of a conviction. He was convicted at the second trial and sentenced to 19 years to life in prison. He will not be eligible for parole until he turns 88 years old.
Fifty years ago, during 1961, a young Phil Spector established his own Phillies Label. It was with this label as owner, songwriter, and especially producer that he would develop recording techniques that would become known as the Wall Of Sound. His use of multi-tracking and layering of vocals were some of the most creative in music production and recording history. While he would go on to produce The Beatles, solo releases by John Lennon and George Harrison, Dion, Leonard Cohen, and The Ramones, it was these early 1960s recordings that would cement his reputation.
In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Phillies label, Sony Legacy, in conjunction with Phil Spector Records, has issued a series of CDs by The Crystals, The Ronettes, Darlene Love, and a greatest hits compilation.
Wall Of Sound: The Very Best Of Phil Spector 1961-1966 is an excellent introduction to his sound and music. While many of the 19 tracks are contained on the other releases, there are some important differences. If you want to gain a nice flavor of what the Wall Of Sound is all about, this is a good place to start.