As a record producer, pint-sized Phil Spector created the sound of the 1960s, using a multitude of instruments to re-create the feeling of a first kiss and the fracture of a broken heart. Through the 1970s and ’80s, the reclusive Spector earned a reputation as a borderline psycho and gun-nut. He has waved pistols at John Lennon and Leonard Cohen.
Bad craziness undid Spector when, in 2003, a dead B-movie starlet was found in his home. Lana Clarkson had died of a gunshot wound that Spector blamed on “accidental suicide.” In an interview given a week earlier, he had described himself as “relatively insane.” Phil didn’t help his sanity’s cause when he appeared at his second-degree murder trial in a variety of wigs that made him look like everything from a blond pageboy to a collision between TV’s Screech and a bottle of Rogaine.
In 2007, a deadlocked jury resulted in a mistrial. In public, the jury is still out on Phil Spector. Phil is just out to lunch. — Charles Bottomley
Watch Tina and Ike Turner perform Spector’s “River Deep, Mountain High” below.