Spector's legend is notorious, his influence profound, his credit list rightfully admired. Perhaps his career is best summed up by a quote attributed to him circa 1973: "I really believed in what was going on and I did try to change the music - I did try to change it and it was a painful experience, it was hard, basically, because there were not many people to do it with, there was not much help. It really rested on my ability to do things with my music and sounds. I don't know if I was consciously trying to change it, but musically I was definitely trying to do what I really felt was right."
What was right in Spector's ears apparently was right in a lot of other people's as well. Immediately after leaving Atlantic Records, where he was named head of A&R at age 20, Spector began to develop his Wall of Sound. Some of the musicians he used to produce that sound included drummer Hal Blaine, guitarist Larry Knechtel, bassist Carol Kaye, saxophonist Steve Douglas and percussionist Sonny Bono. That sound, which some say he "borrowed" from Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, "sweetened" a track with larger-than-life strings, vocals and percussion instruments. The goal - from finding or writing the song, to hiring the musicians, to recording the song - was to make the song as far out and overwhelming as possible.
After the Teddy Bears and Atlantic, Spector worked with a number of producers including Lee Hazlewood, Lester Sill and Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. In 1962, Spector took his show on the road and launched the Philles label, scoring over 20 hit records by such artists as the Crystals, Darlene Love, Bobb B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans, The Ronettes, and the Righteous Brothers. After his success in 1958, Spector's next No. 1 came in 1962, with the Crystals' "He's a Rebel." With classic Spector subterfuge, The Crystals didn't really sing, either on that top hit or on the No. 11 "He's Sure the Boy I Love," because of touring conflicts; instead, it was the Blossoms with Darlene Love on lead who recorded them. The actual Crystals (Barbara Alston, LaLa Brooks, Dee Dee Kennibrew, Mary Thomas and Patricia Wright) scored four other Top 20 hits for Spector, including "There's No Other (Like My Baby)," "Uptown," "Da Doo Ron Ron (When He Walked Me Home)" and "Then He Kissed Me."