Phil Spector, the legendary ”wall of sound” producer behind numerous 1960s hits, was arrested Monday and charged with first-degree murder, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s department. Police in the Los Angeles suburb of Alhambra detained Spector after responding to a call at 5 a.m. at a residence owned by Spector, where they found a woman shot dead. Spector is being held at the Alhambra police station on $1 million bail. A Sheriff’s department spokesperson declined to elaborate on the investigation to EW.com. Police have not released the woman’s name, pending notification of her family.
Spector’s friend, famed Los Angeles attorney Marvin Mitchelson told the Associated Press that Spector lives at the Alhambra home by himself and does not have a girlfriend. Having worked recently with Spector to develop a movie about the producer’s life, Mitchelson said, ”His mental state has been great – very rational, very together, super intelligent, a very funny man.”
Spector’s famed ”wall of sound,” a lushly orchestral soundscape that layered track upon track for a booming, reverberating effect, resulted in hits for acts like the Righteous Brothers, the Crystals, the Ronettes, (whose lead singer, Ronnie Spector, was the producer’s wife for many years), and Ike and Tina Turner. In the ’70s, he produced albums for the Beatles, John Lennon, and the Ramones (whose bassist, Dee Dee Ramone, claimed Spector pulled a gun on them in the studio).
Former Ramones drummer Marky Ramone defended Spector on Monday, telling the Fox News Channel, ”I don’t think he would hurt a fly. Until anything happens, you’re innocent until you’re proven guilty. I don’t think Phil had it in him to murder anybody.” Of the incident cited by Dee Dee, Marky Ramone said, ”A lot of these things were overblown and a lot of these things were alcohol-induced. You can have a gun and wave it around but that doesn’t mean you’re gonna use it…. There’s no way Phil would have shot Dee Dee Ramone.”
Spector has been largely inactive for the last quarter century, though the British band Starsailor told Launch.com last month that they’d recorded four tracks with the 62-year-old producer for their next album.