Thursday, 23 June 2011

Men of Music: Phil Spector

Here we have the man that created the production technique known as 'The Wall of Sound'. Take ourselves back 50 years, we hear Pop acts such as The Ronnettes, The Crystals and The Righteous Brothers all use this technique, which today has been replicated and reformed by many different artists, taking influence from Spector.

It's completely different from today's Pop in this period, Soul music was just kicking in, The Beatles, The Who and The Kinks were taking America by storm. With Spector producing records that are chart toppers. This must have been an incredible period for music, the 60's as a whole had so many musical exports it makes every other decade look terrible.

The Wall of Sound, was an innovative production technique. It created a texture of sound that nobody had heard before. Not only this, but these singles were hits, 'Be My Baby' being the most famous, which has been replicated in many ways. In modern music we don't have to look far to notice Spector influences.

The Jesus & Mary Chain's 'Psychocandy', has a direct influence from Spector. You can hear the Wall of Sound techniques used, along with the simple style of drumming from records such as 'Be My Baby'. A little closer to today, Glasvegas use this technique heavily, it's their distinct sound. Taking influence also on the basic drumming style.

The genre known as Shoegazing came to light in the late 80's. Partly influenced from the likes of The Velvet Underground, they combined the use of distortion with the many effect pedals available and the Wall of Sound technique. He paved the way for Alternative Rock, Grunge and Shoegaze. His technique has been widely used by many studio producers and he has been known to be one of the best producers of all time. He had good ideas which he put in to practise with his studio musicians, some moving on to successful solo careers, such as Glen Campbell. 

Even today, new acts are attempting to replicate his sound and production. Bands such as Cat's Eyes, who formed due to the love of Spector produced 60's records. He became even more famous when he produced the final Beatles album, Let it Be. His Christmas album is one of the best festive albums and the content is constantly played on radio across the world. 

He created a new sound, he was a pioneer, a song writer and producer. He has produced some of the most famous songs known, such as John Lennon's Imagine, Be My Baby and Let It Be. Being an influence indirectly to many of today's musicians who focus on reinventing 60's Pop music. Amy Winehouse being one of the performers who note Spector as an influence. With her album 'Back To Black' being heavily influenced from artists such as The Crystals.

His technique will live on. Without Spector, today's music would be completely different. That can be good or bad, but he led the way in music production with his wide knowledge.
Phil Spector, genius? or not. I think he is, I thank him for his techniques because he gave the world some amazing artists, it's just a shame his life has tragically changed, but I will always remember him for the Wall of Sound.

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