Phil Spector: Wall of Sound; The Very Best of Phil Spector 1961-1966 (Sony Legacy)

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The Ronettes: Walking in the Rain
Phil Spector: Wall of Sound; The Very Best of Phil Spector 1961-1966 (Sony Legacy)

This judiciously selected, 19-song collection arrives half a century after Spector's distinctive "wall of sound" started to make an impact on the charts and his "little symphonies for the kids" changed the way people thought about how to use a recording studio.

And what talent Phil Spector had on his hands at Gold Star Studios in Hollywood and later in New York: Gene Pitney wrote He's a Rebel (the '62 hit for the Crystals); arranger Jack Nitzsche; songwriters Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry; the great -- and often interchangeable girls groups like the Ronettes and the Crystals; the Righteous Brothers (yes, You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling is here, written by Spector with Barry Mann and Cynthia Wells), Ike and Tina Turner (ditto, River Deep Mountain High) . . .

Books have been written about Spector, "the first tycoon of teen" as Tom Wolfe called him, during these years . . . and not a few about his gun obsession, imprisonment of Ronnie of the Ronettes when she became his wife, and of course the murder for which he now serving 19 years.

And many of these songs have been previously compiled, most notably on the essential Back to Mono four-CD box set which includes (among many other tracks) his overlooked classic Love is All I Have to Give by Checkmates.

This collection doesn't include that (or He Hit Me And It Felt Like A Kiss) but scoops up key hit tracks by the Crystals and Ronettes, Darlene Love (The Boy I'm Gonna Marry, Wait Til My Bobby Gets Home, A Fine Fine Boy) and Bob B Sox and the Blue Jeans (the lame Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, Why do Lovers Break Each Others Hearts? and Not Too Young to Be Married).

Echoes, handclaps, castanets, strings, massive drums, stack-up vocals, high drama . . .

This was the first phase of Phil Spector's remarkable professional life.

Afterwards came the Beatles, Ramones . . . and gunshots.

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Gavin Hancock - Dec 8, 2011

About bloody time Phil Spector's Greatest Creations were made widely and cheaply available...the "Back To Mono" box set is too expansive and too expensive for the casual fan so this does the trick. Everyone who has the "Dirty Dancing" and "Ghost" soundtracks should complement them with this.

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