April 14, 2009

"He had this one priceless gift. Which was a musical ability."

"And he was able to create out of this gift these extraordinary records, these grandiloquent dreams of romance and love and escape, and fling those back into the face of the world. It was flinging them at his father, who killed himself; flinging at the kids who wouldn't talk to him at school; flinging it at the record industry, who thought he was a madman. These records were Spector's revenge."

Unfortunately, Phil Spector was quite insane.

Insanity and insecurity haunted Spector's entire life. His older sister had to be institutionalized, and his father committed suicide when the boy was 9. The traumatized family moved from New York to Los Angeles. Spector's first hit, at age 18, was inspired by the inscription on his father's grave: "To Know Him Is to Love Him."

56 comments:

rhhardin said...

Maybe he can do prison songs.

Fred4Pres said...

Mentally ill. Okay. Insane? No. He knew better but thought he could get away with it. Prison is where he belongs now.

zedzded said...

He crazy!

He will be popular in prison - and think of all the hours he will have to work on his hair.

Meade said...

Silver lining is this could be a wake up call for Maxine and MichaelJeremy.

SteveR said...

He's gotta hope his cell mate won't be singing, "Be My Little Baby".

Bissage said...

We are only a stone’s throw away from the total collapse of Western Civilization when NPR becomes indistinguishable from VH1's “Behind the Music.”

ricpic said...

Diminishing Options
or
The Walls Close In
or
Revenge Of The Walls

First there was Der Bingle;
Then came Mister Two Tingles Intermingle:
Leaving only walls of sound to bundle up and let flingle.
Now he can only hope to avoid "marriage" and remain single.

John said...

He wasn't just an eccentric genius. He was a sick sadistic lunatic. From Ronnie Spector's wikipedia entry.

"By her own account, he (Spector)kept her a near-prisoner and limited her opportunities to pursue her musical ambitions. In her autobiography, she said that he would force her to watch the film Citizen Kane to remind her she would be nothing without him.

Spector's domineering attitude led to the dissolution of their marriage. Bennett was forbidden to speak to the Rolling Stones or tour with the Beatles, for fear of infidelity. Bennett claims Spector showed her a gold coffin with a glass top in his basement, promising to kill and display her should she leave him. During Spector's reclusive period in the late 1960s, he reportedly kept his wife locked inside their mansion. She claimed he also hid her shoes to dissuade her from walking outside, and kept the house dark because he didn't want anyone to see his balding head. Spector's son later claimed that he was kept locked in his room, with a pot in the corner to be used as a toilet. Ronnie Spector did leave the producer and filed for divorce in 1972. She wrote a book about her experiences, and said years later, "I can only say that when I left in the early 1970s, I knew that if I didn't leave at that time, I was going to die there" [3]. She and Spector separated in 1973 and divorced one year later.

Her autobiography, Be My Baby, How I Survived Mascara, Miniskirts, and Madness, co-authored by Vince Waldron, was published in 1989. In 2004, Onyx Books republished the book in a revised and updated mass market paperback edition in the USA.

She now lives in Connecticut with her second husband, Jonathan Greenfield, and their two sons, Austin Drew and Jason Charles. She also hosts an annual Christmas party at B. B. King's bar and grill in New York."

lumiere said...

Leonard Cohen on making the album Death of a Ladies' man with Phil Spector;

"Death of a Ladies' Man was produced by Phil Spector, the reclusive genius of girl-group pop. "I was flipped out at the time," Cohen said later, "and he certainly was flipped out. For me, the expression was withdrawal and melancholy, and for him, megalomania and insanity and a devotion to armaments that was really intolerable. In the state that he found himself, which was post-Wagnerian, I would say Hitlerian, the atmosphere was one of guns - the music was a subsidiary enterprise ... At a certain point Phil approached me with a bottle of kosher red wine in one hand and a .45 in the other, put his arm around my shoulder and shoved the revolver into my neck and said, 'Leonard, I love you.' I said, 'I hope you do, Phil.'"

Robert Cook said...

The Ramones also spoke of Spector wielding a gun in their recording sessions when he produced their END OF THE CENTURY lp. He's obviously dangerous and sick and should be locked up, but light-hearted quips about cellmates wanting him to "Be My Baby" are not funny. The horror of inmate on inmate violence and rape in our prison system is a disgrace and something we should all be ashamed of and determined to eradicate. No one should have to endure torture and victimization by people they're locked up with and cannot escape and it is our responsibility as their keepers to insure their physical safety.

john said...
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john said...

Just a year after that song -

In September, Annette Kleinbard lost control of her MG convertible, tumbled down a mountainside and into a ditch. She was pulled from the wreckage. Her face was ravaged, her nose almost completely sheared off. .... Four weeks later when she was well enough to receive guests, Phil Spector was not among the bedside visitors. "Too bad she didn't die", was his comment.

Nice guy, and only 19 at the time. Doesn't it make you wonder how many other murders he might have or did commit during the following 50 years?

traditionalguy said...

This poor wrecked man had to be in total control over whoever dared to "love him". The money and fame from rock and roll were his tools that he used to prove his power over those women and to attract new candidates under his control. Yes, there really are people who are possessed of Demons, and not in the metaphorical sense, as Specter acknowledged himself. Most convicted murderers interviewed in prison, when lying will not help them anymore, when asked why they killed say they don't know why, but something told them to do it.

PatCA said...

"Spector's first hit, at age 18, was inspired by the inscription on his father's grave: "To Know Him Is to Love Him."

A bad sign.

Dust Bunny Queen said...
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Dust Bunny Queen said...

He's obviously dangerous and sick and should be locked up, but light-hearted quips about cellmates wanting him to "Be My Baby" are not funny. The horror of inmate on inmate violence and rape in our prison system is a disgrace and something we should all be ashamed of and determined to eradicate. No one should have to endure torture and victimization by people they're locked up with and cannot escape and it is our responsibility as their keepers to insure their physical safety.While I do agree with the sentiments above, no need to worry about Phil.

He will be in solitary, isolated from the rest of the prison population just like other famous prisoners. He will cost the State of California millions upon millions upon millions of dollars. He will never be released, thankfully, into society again and will spend the entire rest of his life alone with only the brief company of prison guards and the occasional doctor's visit. He will be allowed one hour a day to walk around alone outside, weather permitting. He will not be allowed many hobbies that require sharp intruments. No running with scissors for him.

Feel better?

save_the_rustbelt said...

I seem to vaguely remember a news magazine profile (maybe in the
70s or 80s?) about what a raving loon this guy had become. I think he had become obssessed with martial arts and carried a bag of guns in his car.

It just took him a while to finally kill someone, but the seeds were planted a long time ago.

His "wall of sound" will now be in a slightly smaller studio.

Robert Cook said...

"Feel better?"No.

Although I know that Spector will be granted protective custody, my remarks were more general. We hear such jokes made all the time, and often such remarks are not meant as jokes, but are sincere wishes by citizens that prisoners actually be sexually assaulted. Celebrity and special case prisoners aside who are kept in protective custody, thousands of inmates, many of them non-violent drug offenders or petty criminals, and many of them very young, are subject to victimization in prisons throughout our land, not just sexually assaulted by individuals but gang-raped and often pimped out to other prisoners.

I applaud Senator Webb who wants to generate reform of our penal system and sentencing guidelines, but the public must get behind such initiatives if they are to be enacted.

zedzded said...

Senator Webb has committed criminal acts, and should probably be in prison himself.

As for sexual assault in prison, I see that as one more reason to avoid prison.

Robert Cook said...

"Senator Webb has committed criminal acts, and should probably be in prison himself."What has he done? I don't necessarily refute your assertion, as I don't know of any allegations against him of criminal acts. Please elaborate.

"As for sexual assault in prison, I see that as one more reason to avoid prison."Given how many innocent people find themselves embroiled in our criminal justice (sic) system, that's not necessarily something within one's power. What if you fit the description of a suspect in a crime? What if someone accuses you of a crime? What if a crime occurs and the police decide YOU are the likely perpetrator and they focus the weight of their investigation on you?

This is why we enshrine certain protections against state power into our system of laws and in our Constitution--although these protections are being degraded and even removed entirely as time goes on--NOT primarily to "protect the rights of the criminal" which so many citizens ignorantly decry (although criminals do have rights which should be protected), but to mitigate against the state's power to destroy a citizen's life by pursuing him with all its might.

Bissage said...
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Beth said...

The question is why did it take two trials to convict this guy? What kind of idiots show up for juries in LA, and halfway believe "out of nowhere, she grabbed the gun I was brandishing and shot herself!"

Joe said...

Even better he walks out of his house and announced that he thinks he shot someone. Someone says that and someone was actually shot where he had just been, it's pretty open and shut unless its a Mission Impossible script.

Bissage said...
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Bissage said...

These records were Spector's revenge.

It says HERE that the “little man’s complex” might be a myth.

Funny, that.

zedzded said...

There were no charges - he had an aide carry his pistol into a government office, much hubbub, but no real fallout. He lied his way out of that one.

As a white male living in former DA Nifong's realm, I do fit the ideal model of a criminal. But I keep my head down and try not to come to the attention of the local authorities. Only fake rapists are arrested here. Real rapists get a pass. Trust me, I know much more about this subject than I am willing to write here.

As for the erosion of the rights of citizens, and the protection of criminals, that's liberals for you. One guy around here takes pride in baking cookies for incarcerated felons. Nice touch.

TMink said...

Beth asked "What kind of idiots show up for juries in LA, and halfway believe "out of nowhere, she grabbed the gun I was brandishing and shot herself!"

Consider the location! I bet Phil would have found justice a bit quicker in your neck of the world!

Trey

William said...

The old joke was that poor people are crazy and rich people are eccentric. The Hollywood variant is that B list people develop paranoia and the truly talented are driven by demons. How did someone so overtly nuts manage to hold a gun license? He got a pass from a lot of people simply because he knew how to create good music. Barry Manilow would never have gotten away with so many years of craziness......In support of Robert Cook's observations, I read somewhere that, if you factor in prison rape, more men than women are raped.

Peter V. Bella said...

He should have used the Zombie Defense.

Peter V. Bella said...

I applaud Senator Webb who wants to generate reform of our penal system and sentencing guidelines, but the public must get behind such initiatives if they are to be enacted.No we don’t and no, I hope, we won’t. People who are predicate felons should be locked up and away from society for life. People who sell drugs(death) should be locked up for life. I have no pity on any of them. I also think we should get rid of the country clubs that we send the white collar guys to. Send them to a real prison.

muddimo said...

Good posts, Robert. There was a time when they would have garnered a more positive (normal) reception here. What people don't realize is that it is not the bad guys that are getting abused in prison. They are the abusers. The more violent and depraved, the more prison life rewards them. The more WE reward them with a steady stream of victims. That's the disgusting reality. Write your governor and state representative if you have a problem with facilitating the degradation of other human beings.

zedzded said...

So it is now considered normal to think that prison should be less brutal? What? I think convicted felons get what they deserve.

srfwotb said...
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srfwotb said...
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TMink said...

William wrote: "if you factor in prison rape, more men than women are raped."

My perspective is that rape is rape. So of course prison rape should be included, because it is rape. It gets tricky when you add people who see rape as a women's issue and are not willing to share so to speak.

They get a tad upset and want to discount prison rape.

Trey

Smilin' Jack said...

I think convicted felons get what they deserve.The problem with that is that some of them are innocent. People like to assume that our police and courts are sprinkled with some kind of magical fairy dust that makes them more reliable than other government bureaucracies like the post office or DMV, but it ain't so. It barely makes the news any more when some guy who has been in prison for decades is exonerated by modern DNA technology--"Oops, sorry about that!" In deciding how prisoners are treated we always need to remember that some of them are there only because we the people fucked up.

Robert Cook said...

"So it is now considered normal to think that prison should be less brutal? What? I think convicted felons get what they deserve."It's not only "considered normal" now, it's even enshrined in our Bill of Rights, (see the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment). The punishment of those convicted of crimes is formalized in law, and consists typically of terms of incarceration. We do not sentence prisoners to be killed or sexually assaulted by other inmates, and it is our responsibility as a society to protect inmates from such dangers.

I don't think any prisoner thinks incarceration in a small cell away from the world and their loved ones is any kind of "light" treatment. We don't need to add the peril of violent attacks to make their punishments "just."

Consider also that a substantial portion of our present prison population are non-violent offenders, often just people arrested for possession of drugs. Consider also our perverse trend in recent years of trying juveniles as adults. I hardly think anyone can say we let prisoners have it too easy.

muddimo said...

zedzded: Yes, it is normal to desire prisons to be less brutal than they are and, indeed, to avoid state-sanctioned (or facilitated) brutality in general. Welcome to the United States of America.

Prisons are for incarceration (our preferred form of punishment), and it is still the goal of some to provide opportunities for rehabilitation. This is what you would want if your son or nephew were sent to prison for having a small but sufficient amount of pot on their person, for example. You would also want the prison to be orderly, clean, and the prisoners well-disciplined. You would also want opportunities for your young relative to better themselves through engagment in some productive activity while they contemplate their loss of freedom and the reasons therefor. Guess what? This is what other normal people want as well. Not a playground for psychos.

Maxine Weiss said...

Nobody in their right mind is gonna throw "Barretta" in jail. Nobody wants that, besides he'll put a hit out on ya.

And besides, Bonnie Lee Bakely was unattractive. An ugly girl---we can't feel too sorry for her.

Lana Clarkson was attractive, so she's the more sympathetic victim.

I still say a lady doesn't go to a gentlman's house at 1:30 am unless she's looking for trouble, and there are many women who enjoy being violated. She got a little bit more than she bargained for, but then again, she placed herself in that situation to begin with.

A "Looking for Mr. Goodbar"--type scenario !

Love,
Maxine

John Stodder said...

People who are predicate felons should be locked up and away from society for life. People who sell drugs(death) should be locked up for life. I have no pity on any of them. I also think we should get rid of the country clubs that we send the white collar guys to. Send them to a real prison.You're assuming, quite erroneously, that the criminal justice system works in good faith on behalf of pure justice. It does not.

Prosecutors and judges are politicians either formally (they're elected or they work for someone who is) or informally (they want promotions, publicity and lucrative job offers). So let's just call them politicians. What do these politicians do? Well, they do their jobs, hopefully. They put murderers and child molesters, drunk drivers and thieves away.

But sometimes that's not enough to make the kind of impression a politico wants to make on the general public. So they feel compelled to do much more, making mischief in order to address a momentary public panic, or to boost numbers so they can campaign on a xx percent increase, or to get their faces on the news, or to justify an investigation that has not succeeded in finding what they announced they would find.

Politicians also make big mistakes and to protect their careers try like hell to cover them up.

When all politicians have the power to do is spend your money, some of this is tolerable. We tolerate a lot of waste in order to have politicians in charge of things like building roads or missile launchers. But it's different when the politician (such as Nifong) has the power to choose a handful of people, turn them into pariahs, and then set about to ruin their lives, up to and including sending people to prison to be assaulted by other prisoners in your obviously delighted fantasy -- all because an election is coming up, or one of the other political incentives described above is in play. Nifong is no outlier. He is typical.

You mentioned drug dealers. You realize, of course, that the term "drug dealer" is sometimes applied to anyone caught with enough drugs in their pocket or home that could conceivably be shared with another person. Or it is applied to the roommate or spouse of such a person, merely because they were aware of the presence of the drugs. You still want all those drug dealers locked up for life?

The criminal justice system is a rigged game run by politicians. And you are comfortable with that, and hope the victims of that system suffer punishments far worse than their formal sentences. And, even more disgustingly, you feel quite righteous in this belief. I can only hope that one day, you'll be sitting in one of those cells, screaming, "but I'm innocent!" as you begin your 30-year-sentence for a crime whose unethical prosecution got your DA triumphantly re-elected.

John Stodder said...

So it is now considered normal to think that prison should be less brutal? What? I think convicted felons get what they deserve.Unless the judge has formally sentenced you to be gang-raped and assaulted, I would say you shouldn't have to put up with it. If you're ever convicted of a crime and sentenced to a stretch, however, you might want to ask the judge if there is a gang-raping-is-okay provision in the fine print. You might have grounds for appeal if so.

A prison sentence should be exactly what it is. Time in prison. It should be understood that if, during your stay in prison, crimes are committed against you, such crimes will be prosecuted, rather than regarded as some implicit part of the deal.

Revenant said...

flinging it at the record industry, who thought he was a madmanCorrectly, as it turned out.

buster said...

I agree with Robert Cook at 10:43 a.m. The lack of personal security for a large part of the prison population is a national scandal which ought to exercise everyone, social conservatives in particular. The fact that the victims are criminally guilty is irrelevant. If a prison were to impose flogging as a punishment or disciplinary measure, it would almost certainly be held to be cruel and unusual punishment and therefore unconstitutional, no matter how guilty the prisoner is. Yet severe beatings and rape, which are clearly worse, are tolerated in practice by prison administrators, politicians, and voters.

Revenant said...

Yet severe beatings and rape, which are clearly worse, are tolerated in practice by prison administrators, politicians, and voters..

The difference is that prison rape isn't a punishment administered by us. It is an unfortuate *consequence* of criminals being cooped up with other criminals.

Our duty, as with all crime, is to punish it when it is discovered. We do not have a duty to go out of our way to prevent it from occurring in the first place. We don't even extend that guarantee to law-abiding citizens!

John Stodder said...

Our duty, as with all crime, is to punish it when it is discovered. We do not have a duty to go out of our way to prevent it from occurring in the first place.Really? I think about 100 percent of police chiefs and sheriffs would disagree with you. They spend an enormous amount of money on crime prevention. They tend to focus resources particularly on high-crime areas. This is what the taxpayers in most jurisdictions expect them to do. It is a traditional role for police, going back 200 years.

Here's a clue. When you see a patrol car driving around your town, they are generally not on their way to investigate a crime. They are making their presence known in order to deter crime.

By your logic, residents of a high-crime area deserve to be mugged and shot because they're too stupid to make enough money to move.

If prison rape and assault are explicitly part of the sentence handed down by the judge, then fine. But of course that's absurd, the judge would never risk the political blowback if s/he actually sentenced a convicted criminal to be raped and beaten up. (Plus you'd have to pay the rapists union scale.) Which means to me that the prisoner should not be told by a bunch of half-baked hacks to expect it as part of their sentence, like it's just a natural outcome. It's illegal, and it shouldn't be permitted, period.

buster said...

Revenant said:

"Our duty, as with all crime, is to punish it when it is discovered. We do not have a duty to go out of our way to prevent it from occurring in the first place. We don't even extend that guarantee to law-abiding citizens!"


When the state takes away a criminal's freedom, it assumes the obligation to ensure his wellbeing at some reasonable level. It has to provide nutritious meals, adequate space (i.e., no overcrowding), effective medical care, etc. Personal security is also a requirement. There are many court decisions concerning the adequacy of the state's treatment of prisoners.

In general the courts give prison administrators a great deal of discretion (they are right to do so: judges don't know how to run prisons and shouldn't be ordering legislators how to spend tax revenue) buy it is also arguable that most of them don't take the problem seriously enough because they are less sympathetic to the claims of criminals, and there is little political support (not to say active hostility) from the public.

Bob From Ohio said...

Good luck with convincing the public to give a darn about criminals being raped.

People, if asked by a pollster, might say they oppose prison rape so as to look "civilized". Few really care though. Most people think its what criminals deserve. The vast number of jokes shows that more than any poll.

And what's really wrong with flogging? I'd rather get flogged once than spend a year or two in prison.

John Stodder said...

Prison guards' unions have become almost as much of a public policy menace as teachers' unions. Both profit from failure, while wrapping themselves in the mantle of high-road issues ("tough on crime," "children are our future"). Neither wants to be accountable and will fight like hell to prevent any efforts to impose accountability. They are both feared by politicians and seldom crossed.

Prison guards' associations are the largest interest group demanding that the failed and costly war on drugs continue perpetually. Teachers unions have taught a generation of politicians and journalists to believe that education reform = better working conditions and higher pay for teachers. Hence the obsession with smaller class sizes as opposed to merit pay.

And on the subject of prisoner assaults and rapes. The guards' response generally is "I didn't see anything."

John Stodder said...

Good luck with convincing the public to give a darn about criminals being raped.A liberal thing I'd like to see happen: The ACLU wins a lawsuit such that imprisonment itself is declared unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment so long as states and the federal government continue to permit regular assaults on prisoners. A judge finds that the only feasible remedy is to release on OR all prisoners in a given jurisdiction, regardless of their crimes.

I think the public would start to give a darn at that point.

Maguro said...
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Maguro said...

A liberal thing I'd like to see happen: The ACLU wins a lawsuit such that imprisonment itself is declared unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment so long as states and the federal government continue to permit regular assaults on prisoners.So how do you go about preventing prisoner-on-prisoner rape, or prisoner-on-prisoner violence in general? I'm there have been well-intentioned prison wardens who have tried to stop that sort of thing, but apparently they failed. Any reason to think that there's a practical way to keep society's most vicious criminals from abusing other inmates?

Ignacio said...

I recently read THE BLACK HAND by Chris Blatchford, which is the story of the Mexican Mafia (aka "La Eme"), most of whose highest-ranking members are in prison. They do business and take a keen interest in what's going on in the outside world (i.e., ordering hits and so on).

Those who have life-sentences have no fear whatsoever of anything the criminal justice can do to them. Oh well. I won't go on about that.

However, those here who evince indifference to prison rape may be unaware of the high rate of HIV infection behind bars.

Not everyone who is sentenced to prison is an irredeemable scumbag. And an 18 month or 5 year sentence should not be a de facto death sentence because a one-time criminal is unaffiliated the Crips or the Bloods, La Eme or the Aryan Brotherhood.

Bob From Ohio said...

"A liberal thing I'd like to see happen: ... A judge finds that the only feasible remedy is to release on OR all prisoners in a given jurisdiction, regardless of their crimes."

You know what I'd like to see happen. Me win the MegaMilions 76 Million tonight.

My odds are better than John's.

The only way to make prison's "safe" is to make them SuperMax types. Everyone in a cell 23 hours a day.

Funny, the same people who complain about prison violence, also complain about SuperMax prisons.

John Stodder said...

Funny, the same people who complain about prison violence, also complain about SuperMax prisons.Funny, but your stereotype is idiotic.

I have no problem whatsoever with isolating violence-prone prisoners with nothing to lose. Whatever needs to be done. And I'm not unrealistic. 100 percent elimination of prison assaults is impossible to achieve.

What I object to is the smarmy assumption on the part of many on both the left and right that prison rape is implicitly part of the punishment a convicted criminal should expect -- and that they're just fine with that. The right has certain types of people they'd like to see raped, and so does the left. It's depraved. Moreover, it shows an unhealthy lack of skepticism about the criminal justice system. When I was a liberal, one of the articles of my faith was I didn't trust the cops, the DA and the prison system. Now that I've moved away from liberalism, guess what: I'm still skeptical. More than ever. But most liberals nowadays aren't. They like authority. Strange, to one like me.

TMink said...

Robert wrote: "We do not sentence prisoners to be killed or sexually assaulted by other inmates, and it is our responsibility as a society to protect inmates from such dangers."

Well said. I agree.

Except when it comes to real child sexual perpetrators. I honestly feel guilty about this in me, but I have known too many of their victims and it has hardened my heart against the perpetrators.

I cannot thoughtfully justify my desire for them to experience some of what they did to others, but my heart wins this argument.

Trey

zedzded said...

Yeah, you are right. I was hoping Nifong would get a longer sentence and get raped. Repeatedly. He deserved no less. Sad he only served a day.

Child molesters should be set on fire. Then raped.