The other night I was watching ABC News Nightline -- as is my normal late night viewing habit right before Jimmy Kimmel, Uncle Frank, and Guillermo give me a few good yuks and lull me off to dreamland — when they ran a piece which caught my attention. It was about the Phil Spector murder trial.
Now, I have to tell you that normally such sensational and scandalous celebrity stories don't do a lot for me. To me the usual category this stuff falls under — what with Anna Nicole, Paris, Britney and the like — is one of distraction. In other words, I've always believed that the media focus on these types of stories serves no real purpose other than to numb the public into a state of ignorant bliss. What better than celebrity dirt to divert our attention away from more important issues such as how we're presently being raped at the gas pump, or how the Democratic congress just this week caved on the issue of continuing funding for the Iraq war?
But I'll save the rants on those particular topics for another time and place. The Phil Spector deal caught my eye because, as a music fan, I'm still somewhat dumbstruck by the whole thing. You see, Phil Spector was, and is, one of my musical idols.
As a fan, I know all too well of Phil Spector's reputation both inside and outside of the recording studio. He is one of those maybe not so rare birds in the music business to whom both the terms genius and lunatic could be equally applied. And this was long before he was ever accused of shooting the House of Blues waitress he brought home to his Hollywood castle for a night of drinking and who knows what else, presumably because she simply decided it was time to leave.
Spector has been described as the ultimate control freak inside the recording studio. He's been known to drive his musicians to the brink of madness in take after take after take, just to get the sound of something like a tambourine right. For example, during the recording of the Spector produced Beatles album Let It Be, the already splintering band apparently was so divided over the final result that Paul McCartney eventually felt compelled — decades later — to release the Un-Spectorized Let It Be...Naked version of the album.