Welcome To The "PHIL SPECTOR" Thread! By popular demand, I am presenting a Spector Biography (below) which will be followed by:

A - Complete Philles 45 Discography
B - Complete Philles LP Discography
C - The Unreleased Masters

(B & C will be coming soon!) Here's hoping you'll all enjoy and comment on the legendary masterpieces of Phil Spector and Philles Records.


PHIL SPECTOR BIOGRAPHY:

Phil Spector was born in NYC on December 26, 1940. As a life-long music lover, he went on to write and produce many number one songs in the US and UK while developing his signature "Wall of Sound" of which many attempted to copy but few succeeded.

Phil's first hit record in 1958 was The Teddy Bear's "To Know Him Is To Love Him" on which he wrote, produced, and performed, sending it to #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.
https://youtu.be/vrwf-sIcr0M
L-R: Marshall Lieb, Annette Kleinbard, Phil Spector)

After acting as a freelance writer/producer at various record labels, it was in 1961 that Phil Spector formed a business partnership with Lester Sill by setting up his own record label, Philles Records (PHIL + LESter = Philles). [NOTE: Although the spelling suggests a pronunciation like the female name 'Phyllis', everyone I've ever known pronounces it Phillies, like the baseball team, which also explains why many often misspell Philles Records by adding the letter 'i' to the es.]

Phil Spector recorded his famous Philles recordings with The Wrecking Crew session musicians at Gold Star studio in L.A. Phil's band included 5 or 6 guitars, three pianos, tenor saxes and an army of baritone saxes, two or three bass players, Hal Blaine's thunderous drums and Earl Palmer's trap set, and a myriad of percussion including castanets, maracas, shakers, bells, chimes, woodblock, temple blocks, sleigh bells, handclaps, and an array of back-up singers including Darlene Love & The Blossoms, Sonny Bono, Cher, Nino Tempo, and any sound effect that the song-at-hand required -- all squeezed into that tiny little Gold Star studio with its low ceilings and famous echo chamber! Phil typically spent 3 hours just setting up the mics positioned at each musician's chair. By the time he was satisfied and ready to start the tape rolling, the guitar players' fingers would be bleeding. But the Wrecking Crew all loved working with Phil because they knew that what they'd end up with at the end of the all-day session would be a magnificent masterpiece they would all be proud to be a part of!

To achieve the Wall Of Sound, Phil would record the successful take on a mono tape recorder. He would then have his recording engineer, Larry Levine, copy that tape onto another recorder. From the 2nd recorder, he would dub that copy back over onto the first recorder so that every time he dubbed (overdubbed), the sound would double. (This process was known as "Sound-On-Sound".) The original 5 guitars would become 10 guitars, 3 pianos became 6, the saxes became an army of tenor and and baritone saxes, and Hal Blaine's drum fills became gloriously thunderous, as did the percussion instruments. The back-up singers went from a back-up chorus of 6 or 7 to a choir of 12 or 14. Phil would keep overdubbing and again doubling the sound until he heard what he wanted. Larry Levine would warn Phil, "Jeez, Phil, you can't do that! The VU meter is already up into the Red Zone", and Phil would reply, "I don't care. The sound is exactly how I want it.", and Larry, of course, would abide. Each time Phil overdubbed, the echo effect would increase. Add to that Gold Star's famous built-in echo chamber and you've got the Spector "Wall-Of-Sound" which proved to be revolutionary, thus paving the way for overdubbing in the world of Popular music.

[See NOTE below (in "Complete Philles 45 Discography" immediately following the Philles 111 entry) regarding the exit of Lester Sill from Philles Records.)

It's also important to note that from 1961-1967, Philles released a total of only 37 singles and 13 albums. The reason is that, while many record companies released several records at one time, throwing a handful of them to the wind, hoping that one might hit big, Phil Spector concentrated on producing just one recording at a time -- taking great care that each and every note in his 3-minute "Little Symphonies" were absolutely perfect and worthy of Philles release. Whereas other record companies would typically record 4 songs within a timed, Union-controlled recording session, Phil would book session time at Gold Star for the entire day to perfect and record just that one song. And he paid his Wrecking Crew musicians handsomely, too. It has been reported that Tina Turner's recording of "River Deep - Mountain High" required a total of 5 recording sessions to complete, costing Phil an incredible $22,000.00 which was unheard of back in the day, yet he felt that "River Deep" was his crowning achievement and was willing to pay whatever it cost to achieve it. Sadly, "River Deep" stalled at #88 on the U.S. Pop chart, causing a discouraged and defeated Phil Spector to close Philles' doors in 1967.
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ON A PERSONAL NOTE:
For me, it started with The Crystal's "He's A Rebel" 45 in October '62 (when I was 11). After getting The Crystals' "He's A Rebel" LP for my 12th birthday in March '63, Philles soon became my very first favorite record label, and Phil Spector became my first favorite producer. The hits continued into 1963 with more Crystals, Bob B. Sox & The Blue Jeans, and Darlene Love gems, as well as the newest stars on the Philles roster, The Ronettes. 1963 represented Philles' peak year which also included the 6-week, all-night-long, marathin Gold Star recording sessions for the iconic Christmas album, "A Christmas Gift For You From Philles Records." Hits continued throughout 1964 with more of the same and also adding the Righteous Brothers to the roster through 1965 until Philles hits and successes started waning. Phil refused to bribe the radio DJ's with Payola. He figured his track record of hits should be enough for the radio DJs to crave each of his new releases, which they did, until the older DJ's retired and were replaced by a new crop of wise-ass, "entitled" D.J.'s who figured, "Who does Spector think he is -- expecting us to play his records without compensating us for it?" Phil also should have been signing new groups in order to keep up with the times and the latest trends, but he didn't. Philles slowly went down the tubes -- partly because of that, and partly because the British Invasion knocked the Philles girl groups off the charts. It's sad that Philles died out, while Motown grew up hand in hand with The Beatles and the other British groups.