Monday, January 18, 2021

Song of the Day: 'To Know HIm Is to Love Him' by the Teddy Bears

If ever there were a case to be made for separating the art from the artist, it would be Phil Spector, who died of complications of Covid -19 yesterday at 81. By all accounts, to know him was to loathe him -- if he wasn't holding you against your will he was pointing at gun at you, in one case fatally -- yet there's no arguing he's the most influential music producer of all time. 

"To Know Him Is to Love Him" (a phrase lifted off his father's tombstone), recorded with his high school band, the Teddy Bears, reached No. 1 on the charts -- selling more than a million copies after the teens appeared on “American Bandstand,” with Spector playing guitar and singing backup.

From there, his famous Wall of Sound was born, leading to a string of classic singles -- “Then He Kissed Me” and “Da Doo Ron Ron” by the Crystals, “Unchained Melody” and “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” by the Righteous Brothers, "I Love How You Love Me" by the Paris Sisters, Ben E. King's "Spanish Harlem," the Beatles LP "Let It Be," "Instant Karma (We All Shine On)" by John Lennon, "My Sweet Lord" by George Harrison, and the one (and sadly only album by the Ronettes, which featured "Be My Baby," arguably the best pop song of all time. 

I'll never forget stopping in Tower Records on Sunset Boulevard (below Spago) around Christmas 1992 after getting my wisdom teeth violently yanked at a nearby medical plaza on the corner of Doheny -- drugged up and driving -- and buying the box set of Phil's works, "Back to Mono (1968-1969)." In addition to the aforementioned hits, the set included "A Christmas Gift to You," Phil's legendary holiday album that provided aural comfort to my oral pain, and is still my favorite Christmas record of all time.

RIP/rot in hell, you actually evil genius. 

Naturally, everyone has an opinion about his death ... and about the only one who had anything to say about his musical legacy was his ex-wife:

Read HERE.

1 comment:

Rix said...

Just watched the Fran Lebowitz series on Netflix...She had an interesting take on separating an artists work from their personal lives.