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    Phil Spector

    Back To Mono 10 ( 1991 )
    To Know Him Is to Love Him - Teddy Bears / Corrine, Corrina - Ray Peterson / Spanish Harlem - Ben E. King / Pretty Little Angel Eyes - Curtis Lee / Every Breath I Take - Gene Pitney / I Love How You Love Me - The Paris Sisters / Under the Moon of Love - Curtis Lee / There's No Other (Like My Baby) - The Crystals / Uptown - The Crystals / He Hit Me (It Felt Like a Kiss) - The Crystals / He's a Rebel - The Crystals / Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah - Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans / Puddin' N' Tain - Alley Cats / He's Sure the Boy I Love - The Crystals / Why Do Lovers Break Each Others Hearts? - Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans / (Today I Met) The Boy I'm Gonna Marry - Darlene Love / Da Doo Ron Ron - The Crystals / Heartbreaker - The Crystals / Why Don't They Let Us Fall in Love - Veronica / Chapel of Love - Darlene Love / Not Too Young to Get Married - Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans / Wait 'Til My Bobby Gets Home - Darlene Love / All Grown Up - The Crystals / Be My Baby - The Ronettes / Then He Kissed Me - The Crystals / Fine, Fine Boy - Darlene Love / Baby I Love You - The Ronettes / I Wonder - The Ronettes / Girls Can Tell - The Crystals / Little Boy - The Crystals / Hold Me Tight - The Treasures / (The Best Part of) Breakin' Up - The Ronettes / Soldier Baby (Of Mine) - The Ronettes / Strange Love - Darlene Love / Stumble and Fall - Darlene Love / When I Saw You - The Ronettes / So Young - Veronica / Do I Love You? - The Ronettes / Keep on Dancing - The Ronettes / You Baby - The Ronettes / Woman in Love (With You) - The Ronettes / Walking in the Rain - The Ronettes / You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' - The Righteous Brothers / Born to Be Together - The Ronettes / Just Once in My Life - The Righteous Brothers / Unchained Melody - The Righteous Brothers / Is This What I Get for Loving You? - The Ronettes / Long Way to Be Happy - Darlene Love / (I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons - The Righteous Brothers / Ebb Tide - The Righteous Brothers / This Could Be the Night - Modern Folk Quartet / Paradise - The Ronettes / River Deep-Mountain High - Ike & Tina Turner / I'll Never Need More Than This - Ike & Tina Turner / Love Like Yours (Don't Come Knocking Everyday) - Ike & Tina Turner / Save the Last Dance for Me - Ike & Tina Turner / I Wish I Never Saw the Sunshine - The Ronettes / You Came, You Saw, You Conquered - The Ronettes / Black Pearl - Sonny Charles & The Checkmates / Love Is All I Have to Give - The Checkmates

    The music of Phil Spector plugs into many things. It was ahead of its time, his production techniques hugely influential. Without his 'Wall Of Sound', many things would have turned out differently, all told. That's not even the half of it. Phil has this reputation these days. A man slightly short of all his marbles, etc, etc. Unpredictable, as likely to shoot somebody ( reputedly, don't want to get sued! ) as he is to get back in the studio and work his magic once again. Well, those days most likely are long gone. But, for awhile there, Phil was consistently number one. He influenced The Beach Boys. They ( the beach boys ) pushed The Beatles to greater heights. The Ronettes, one of Phil's dearest groups ( he married Ronnie, the usual lead singer ) went on the sleep with all of The Rolling Stones. Gonna get sued again, but hey! It's appropriate, because Phil has been back and forth being sued and contrastly, suing everybody else whilst he's at it, anyway. This is all by the by, and not even the half of it. Not even a fraction. Wait, a half is a fraction. Dammit!

    You know, Phil Spector was dubbed the first teenage tycoon of Rock n Roll. He could arrange, write, produce. He could deal with the dishonest guys in the music biz, very present these guys were, and still are. He named his first song, 'To Know Him Is To Love Him', after the engraving on his fathers tombstone. That's nice and touching. The record made $20,000 - he saw $3,000 of that - so soon set up his own record label. Constant battles with distributors ensued, but once he was on a roll - even those crooks gave him more time than they would anybody else. Everything he touched was turning to gold.

    I've discussed his famous wall of sound elsewhere. See the choice cuts page, find it and read the 'River Deep Mountain High' bit. The way Phil combined instruments was hugely influential on a certain Brian Wilson, for one. The later hits even, those Righteous Brothers songs, which he had a hand in writing - went onto influence a bunch more artists, producers and musicians. His magnum opus, 'River Deep Mountain High', an astonishingly brilliant arrangement and production, only went to no 88 on billboard, even though it was a huge hit in England. Phil was crushed. Still, he pallied upto John Lennon and George Harrison, and produced more hit records, even in the early Seventies. We won't talk about 'Death Of A Ladies Man', by Leonard Cohen. He produced that - it's one of the worst albums ever made! He did produce punk act The Ramones, way ahead in time, 1980 - and did a very good job to my ears. In more recent years, he's not done a lot, to be honest - but then, he doesn't need to. He's got his name on the writing credits for several of those Righteous Brothers hits, after all. Money continues to roll in, he's a canny guy. Give him credit. All of this is kind of scientific and cold. His huge wall of sound, often angry noise. The Beach Boys and Brian Wilson in particular, converted his 'Wall Of Sound' into a 'Wall Of Love'. Softer, beautiful. Brian was publicly competitive with Phil - Phil did 'Da Doo Ron Ron' in response to The Beach Boys and their harmonies. Everything goes around. Brian doesn't speak much of 'River Deep Mountain High', even though it remains Spectors crowning achievement, but he speaks a lot of 'Be My Baby', one of the greatest things known to music, of any kind.

    Oh, I love the doo-wop fifties things of the first disc. 'Pretty Little Angel Eyes' contains a soaring falsetto and romantic lyrics - and i'd sing it for someone special if I could only sing in tune. Still, the intention is there. One thing about the sixties, and Phil Spector in particular. Check the sound of 'To Know Him Is To Love Him'. It contains, not only the restraints of the technology of the time - but a very natural atmosphere. It's like someone praying in a church somewhere. No matter who tried to recapture this sound, these days - they couldn't. The feel and atmosphere is very Sixties - like the air itself during that decade had a magic all of its own.

    Ben E King sings a song here, not produced by Spector, but co-written by him. Gene Pitney sings 'Every Breath I Take'. Gene Pitney, with his quiveringly high, unusual voice - lends his talents to the Phil Spector Production. The song contains doo-wop harmonies, strings - is immensely romantic. What more do you want? The world never, ever - revolved around The Beatles. It only did that, in the eyes of NME and Melody Maker, two UK music magazines, obviously biased, but that bias reached the US. The British invasion struck many US artists very hard. Phil didn't openly express any opinions about it. He liked The Beatles a lot - but like Brian Wilson, didn't understand why they were liked so much. Still, time moves on - and resolves a lot of these issues.

    You know that tune? "Let's go for a little walk, under the moon of love"? Phil co-wrote and produced the original version! I never knew that!! A clutch of wonderfully romantic Crystals songs decorate the first CD of this box-set - pure teenage romance. 'He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss)' still disturbs to this day, however. The lyrics are printed in the box-set. I don't really want to repeat them. Many US radio stations banned the song, quite rightly.

    We reach 1963 or so, and Phil was in love with Ronnie Bennett, Veronica, etc, etc. The Ronettes. 'Be My Baby' shook many a teenagers world. So damn sexy. Such a wonderful production - that famous drum pattern appearing in countless songs during the next thirty years or so. The most famous drum pattern of all time, the patented Spector percussion effects and production effects. "I'll make you happy baby, just wait and see. For every kiss you give me, I'll give you three..." and it carries on. A deliriously brilliant song, one of the greatest ever moments recorded on vinyl. No question - the strings come in, everything is perfect. Beautiful. Other fantastic Ronettes moments dominate the second CD of this box-set. 'Baby, I Love You', covered by The Ramones - should have followed 'Be My Baby' to number one, but it didn't, sadly. 'So Young', sung by Veronica of The Ronettes - so romantic. I want to kiss you right now, I want to hold you. Many Spector productions of this era revert you back to some clean cut, trouser-pressed kid in America, circa 1959. You're standing outside 'the diner', a new girl. You're both pressing against each other, kissing so very passionately. 'So Young' floats around the airwaves - a voice to die for. You want to take each other back to bed - do it. The music lends itself to a slow, candlelit, yet utterly passionate, session of love making. Another Ronettes tune, 'Walking In The Rain', rounds off the second CD. It's magnificent in every respect. The Ronettes will go down in history, a major part of The Phil Spector story. A group of girls with a story of their own, too. Timeless.

    I have a 'Back To Mono' badge! It came in the box-set!! I have a copy of 'A Christmas Gift For You', a CD Bonus in the box-set. A box with lovely pictures, LP sized, just beautiful in itself. I'll wear my 'Back To Mono' badge next time I see a particular girl I hope wants to see me again. I wish I could sing those Righteous Brothers songs for her, but man, I could never match that guys voice. The Spector production and echo and full thing, revolves around 'You've Lost That Loving Feeling'. 'Unchained Melody' is here as well - but the best song they ever did? The Righteous Brothers? Somebody decent ( for a change ) should cover THIS! 'Just Once In My Life' breaks me down in tears. I want to make love to you so much, 'Just Once In My Life', can something happen? A voice to die for in this song, the full Spector production - strings swirling around. One of my favourite ever recordings. Add 'Be My Baby' to that list. Add 'River Deep Mountain High'. So yeah, this box was worth every single penny. It's a world all of it's own - not really related to anything else. This is the world of Phil Spector. It's scary sometimes - but he worked with a lot of great songwriters. He didn't do it all on his own - but he was the overall guy. You don't just produce 'Just Once In My Life' and not HAVE something, very special.

    A couple of underrated Ronettes songs follow, 'River Deep Mountain High' follows, too. An all out attack - unrepeatable. The follow-up hits are pretty good too, though. Oh right, they never were hits! But, contrasting with popularly received wisdom, Phil didn't die or anything, when 'River Deep Mountain High' failed to scale the heights of the US charts. 'I'll Never Need More Than This' doesn't sport as fine a Tina vocal, but does contain a mighty fine Spector musical assault. The final two songs here, oh my! 'Black Pearl' is gorgeous, true soul, like Spector could have been a one man Motown. Why wasn't this a hit? Maybe it was, but it's not a song many people these days will know. It's superb, absolutely special. I feel like standing outside of, oh, it'd have to be a 'Burger King' or somewhere, wouldn't it?? No more American Diners of the 50's. And besides, i'm 29 - born in England. This entire Box-Set is fantasy, brilliant, delirious. I'll stand there, the people passing by will be watching. I'll be kissing her passionately, because she turns me on. Music will revolve around my brain - soaring strings, falsetto, harmonies. Guitars. A world full of love and noise.

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    Readers Comments

    Brendan Tnahpellee@yahoo.com.au
    I don't own this album. However, I own a Ronette's greatest hits. SO I will comment on that. It's basically fun, vibrant, melodic, early-60's pop music. Phil Spector kind of blends everything into a big mass of sound but it's fine with me and sounds unusual but powerful. Why is it fine with me, because the vocalist is always louder than the music. If you can spare it, get George Harrison's Somewhere in England album. He's buried beneath all the instruments, even though there aren't that many. Here, there's a mass of instruments but the singer is clear and audible above it all. He's a very handy producer. I love the songs 'Be my baby', 'Best part of Breakin Up', Why don't they let us fall in love', 'You came you saw you conquered' and 'Do I love you?' A Couple of his assistants on the album would end up working with Ringo in the 70's, they being Vini Poncia and Harry Nilsson.

    Matthew Byrd matthewbyrd@hotmail.com
    I don't own this one right now... but I do have some of the cuts that are contained on it. 'Be My Baby' and 'River Deep, Mountain High' are two of the greatest singles of all time. 'The Wall Of Sound' is probably one of the best-sounding production methods ever devised; and it came about in the early 60's!! I can't to decide what to buy.. Back To Mono OR... Kraftwerk - Trans-Europe Express, Prince - Sign 'O' The Times and Joy Division - Unknown Pleasures.... we'll see. And will someone talk sense into George Starosinifickeington... or whatever his name is. People are people they'll always act in a way that you won't like, they're idiots. C'mon George, you have a fine website, no one wants to see it go.

    Tony top40tony@yahoo.com
    I have this box set. However, I have one complaint. I agree that "Just Once in My Life", a #9 US hit in May, 1965 is a fantastic recording. I don't feel that the version on the set sounds very good. I have it on its original 45 and on a mono copy of "Righteous Brothers' Greatest Hits" and it sounds FANTASTIC...jus' JAW DROPPIN'! Everything else on the box set sounds great. Like that button too!

    Richard Astley-Clemas alicespiral@yahoo.co.uk
    Spector was succesful because he knew just what to copy.Nothing wrong with copying it takes as much talent to copy as to originate but once those Philles hits began you read between the lines.Eg the hit Why do lovers break each others hearts? is asclosetothis to Jo Ann Campbell's Mama can I go out tonight? Phil was not really a writer he was more a visionary.After a few of the early Teddy Bears songs like Oh Why he simply added his name to other peoples' songs as a courtesy thing. He had many odd ideas mainly to do with what he thought the U K should listen to so he stopped the release of the Righteous Brothers' Just once in my life in favor of Unchained Melody--a rather pointless move when BOTH could have been issued and it was years before we heard it here. Another huge influence on Spector was the 1958 hit by the Aquatones-You-a group still in existence - I email one of them regularly. By the mid 60s the World was revolving round the Beatles and today it d! oes that more than ever.Phil always wanted to work with the Beatles-Lennon knew that and invited him to salvage what was then an abandoned project-the 100s of recordings made for a proposed album to be called Get Back.Paul McCartney was not happy about it especially the arrangement done to The Long & Winding Road.I never saw his point though I liked it-and today McCartney does the song with a similar effect-but we have Let It Be Naked to show the actual album in its pre Spector state hence the NAKED reference. Its also a misconception that Spector actually arranged the strings-all he did was commission Richard Hewson to write an arrangement-a musician who'd been involved with the Mary Hopkin album He did generally good work for the Beatles and ex Beatles eg Happy Xmas War Is Over and the first Harrison album. Probably if Spector had never existed he'd have had to have been invented

    Brian Gregory London
    Genius! Terrible what's hapened with ole' Phil recently but this is still pure genius! People go on and on about the 'wall of sound' but tend to forget just what an amzing songwriter he was.....

    top of page this page last updated 10/05/09

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