Phil Spector, famed music producer and convicted murderer, dead at 81

Phil Spector

Legendary music producer Phil Spector has died while still serving 19 years-to-life for murdering actress Lana Clarkson, prison officials announced Sunday.

The Bronx-born killer was 81.

California state prison officials said he died at 6:35 p.m. Saturday of natural causes after being taken to “an outside hospital.”

While the medical examiner has yet to release an official cause of death, sources told TMZ that he died of complications from COVID-19.

He was first hospitalized with a coronavirus infection four weeks ago, before returning to prison — but died Saturday after being rushed back to a hospital that day after struggling to breathe, the outlet said.

Spector’s “Wall of Sound” — merging vocal harmonies with lavish orchestral arrangements — revolutionized music production in the 1960s, and John Lennon called him “the greatest record producer ever.”

His work produced 20 top 40 hits between 1961 and 1965, including “Da Doo Ron Ron,” “Be My Baby” and “He’s a Rebel,” as well as Righteous Brothers’ epic “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling,” the 1965 hit said to be the song most played on radio and television in the 20th century.

Despite his success, his dark side — which he pinned on “devils that fight inside me” — had long simmered in plain sight, with terrifying stories of gunplay, including threats against the likes of Lennon, Leonard Cohen, and the Ramones.


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