Phil Spector produced the Ramones’ 1980 album End of the Century. At one point during the recording sessions in Los Angeles, Spector held Dee Dee Ramone at gunpoint, and forced him to play the same riff over and over again.
Perhaps because the King of Mono was still on the outside at the time this interview was filmed, one gets the distinct feeling watching it that the boys from Forest Hills were holding something back…
Joey was the biggest Spector freak in the band. Note how he doesn’t say a word..
Monkees songwriters Boyce & Hart in a 1967 I Dream of Jeannie appearance as the leaders of an untalented rock group. Jeannie blinks the band into having a lil’ mojo, before she sits in herself on drums. Groovedelic, but hey, who is this bigwig record executive-type bobbing his head along as he listens? Well, it’s none other than “tycoon of teen” and future cold-blooded murderer, Phil Spector, playing himself (Oddly, in the credits for the episode (titled “Jeannie, the Hip Hippie”) Spector gets called “Steve Davis,” but twice Jeannie refers to him as “Phil Spector” and “Mr. Phil Spector.”)
“Out and About,” the Paul Revere & The Raiders-esque song Boyce & Hart (and “Jeanie”) perform, reached # 39 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1967. Seriously, you’re going to wonder where this song has been for your whole life! You are most welcome!
Boyce & Hart also appeared on Bewitched in 1969, singing a tune called “I’m Gonna Blow You a Kiss In The Wind,” which Elizabeth Montgomery, as “Cousin Serena” also performed in her own inimitable style.
It just occurred to me, I never wished you all a Happy New Year!
Well, here we are people. We made it past the Mayan apocalypse, past the predictions of the I-Ching and Terence McKenna’s computer, past the fiscal fucking cliff (whatever that actually meant) and we’ve arrived in a new age!
And I can’t think of a better way to celebrate by sitting back and listening to a 50 year old record, one of the greatest works of popular music to come out of the 20th Century, here stripped of the wall of sound and with its beating heart laid bare. It’s the isolated vocals from the Ronettes all-time, stone-cold classic “Baby I Love You”, and, frankly, it’s stunning.
This will raise the hairs on your neck high enough to match Ronnie’s infamous beehive. And if rumors are to be believed, one of those backing voices is none other than Cher.
And I completely agree with the sentiment - I love you all and let’s have a Happy New Year! xx
And this is what he turned into? What a complete shock…
So although it’s fairly well-known what a crazy motherfucker Phil Spector is, it’s still somewhat surprising to see that he never even went a little bit out of his way to at least try to affect an air of bare minimum congeniality, or to be charming, or attempt to appear SANE, even when he was on television. From the get-go, he’s hostile to Merv (how can you be hostile to Merv?) and becomes increasingly irritated and paranoid throughout the interview.
By the time Spector alludes to hitting Merv and a very unimpressed and composed Eartha Kitt—who hits him hard with her well-delivered Socrates quip—the audience is hissing and booing him.
Al Pacino as Phil Spector. This photo was taken in mid-town Manhattan during the filming of an HBO bio-pic on Spector being directed by David Mamet.
I’m not buying the look. Pacino just doesn’t resemble Spector to my eyes (he looks like an aging Rock Hudson). But taking into account Pacino’s tendency to create some over-the-top characterizations we might not notice the gap between reality and artifice. I’m looking forward to it.
Farris Badwan is lead singer of the British psyche-garage troupe The Horrors, and Cat’s Eyes is his new project, co-founded with the London-based Canadian opera soprano Rachel Zeffira. The pair’s debut album, cunningly titled Cat’s Eyes, has just been released on Polydor, following up their debut Broken Glass EP which came out in January, and it’s really rather good.
What the duo are doing is nothing we haven’t seen before, but they do it very well. Take the dark romanticism of male/female duos like Nancy & Lee, Isobel & Mark, even Kylie & Nick, filter it through the girl-group and 60s pop lens of Phil Spector and inject it with occasional jolts of psyche-rock and you pretty much get the picture. What a lovely picture that is too, a balance of light and shade, of anger and tenderness blended to perfection by veteran producer Steve Osbourne.
Cat’s Eyes is not the first Horror’s off-shoot band. That honor would go to Spider And The Flies, which is Rhys and Tom experimenting with analog synths and Joe Meek-esque production techniques. That too is really good, and floats my particular boat very much. I have to admit I was really wary of the Horrors when the emerged about 5 years ago - I took one look at their haircuts and goth-dandy stylings and dismissed them straight away as another “fashion” act. Their music blew me away though, keeping alive the heavy sleaze-garage vibes of one of my favorite bands from the 90s, Gallon Drunk. Their Primary Colours album from 2009 (produced by Portishead’s Geoff Barrow) took their sound in a more psychedelic/shoegaze direction and straight to the top of the NME’s best albums of the year poll. Now The Horrors have just announced a short string of UK dates for this summer, and their official website says they are currently in the studio.
I eagerly await what they do next, but in the meantime am more than happy to make do with Cat’s Eyes, who have more info (and some free MP3s) at the Cat’s Eyes website. The album Cat’s Eyes is available to buy on Amazon now, here’s a taste of what’s on offer:
Cat’s Eyes - “Face In The Crowd”
Cat’s Eyes - “The Best Person I Know”
Cat’s Eyes - “Cat’s Eyes”
Cat’s Eyes - “When My Baby Comes” (Grinderman cover)
We’ve had plenty of Cher-related novelties here on Dangerous Minds. And we’ve out share of Harry Nilsson and Phil Spector rarities as well. So why not go for a triple-header? Have a listen to what Harry called “Nilssonny & Cher,” produced by the monomaniacal Phil Spector. Recorded during downtime in the recording of John Lennon’s Rock ‘n Roll album, this is one of those “lost” records that came out for a very short time before disappearing completely, but that is now as easy to hear as pressing play below…
Here’s yet another Cher/Phil Spector rarity, “Ringo, I Love You (Yeah, Yeah, Yeah) from 1964. This surprisingly punky ditty was recorded by a then 18-year-old Cher (performing as Bonnie Jo Mason) and was co-written and produced by Phil Spector, but it never charted. Apparently radio programmers thought her deep voice was a male’s voice, or at least deep enough to be confused as one, meaning that the song would have taken on overtones not orignally intended.
Over the weekend via that most wonderful invention known as Netflix Instant View I caught an excellent documentary on the making of the John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band LP. I found it to be one of the best Lennon related documents I’ve ever seen, worth watching if only for the moments wherein the gloriously raw vocals are isolated, check out the last few minutes of the below clip. Chills up the spine !
“There are many who have laid with me, then got up and walked away from me.” Following on from Brad’s post about the Phil Spector rarities, here’s another, the amazing single he produced for Cher in 1975, A Woman’s Story.
Someone once called Cher’s 70s output “whore operas” and that’s an especially pointed way to describe A Woman’s Story. Written by Nino Tempo, April Stevens and Phil Spector, it’s the plaintive lament of “a woman who was passed around” who has now found true love in her life, and who desperately wants and needs this love. It’s a really tense, haunting, moving, gorgeous, slow-burning number, fairly unique in both Spector’s, as well as Cher’s, oeuvre. It took me years to track the 45 down (or it may have been a gift, I can’t recall) but as you can hear, it’s an absolute show stopper.
As much as I love it, I actually prefer the Marc Almond cover version from his 1986 EP, titled A Woman’s Story. He really gives his all to this song and it’s interesting to hear his voice’s similarity to Cher’s, who I’ve noted tends rarely to go up a note, but rather down, when she sings. Both singers, Cher and Marc, do not have what we’d call “good” singing voices, but they are amongst the very finest vocalists of our time because they found a way to use their vocal shortcomings and make them work for them, incorporating their idiosyncrasies to develop instantly recognizable singing voices. Download Cher’s version here.
The original flip sides to everybody’s favorite convicted murderer/hugely influential pop music producer Phil Spector‘s string of mega-hits issued on his own Philles label have never been re-issued in any way. Hell, they aren’t even on the above pictured Flips and Rarities LP ! It’s also damn near impossible to get information about these tracks (mostly named for the musicians playing on them or other members of Spector’s crew) let alone hear them so I was thrilled to find this collection of 15 or so of them uploaded to Youtube in bunches. It’s fascinating listening. Ostensilbly these were instrumental throwaways: Jams, half-songs, pseudo jazz workouts whose pupose, I believe, was to ensure that no DJ anywhere would be confused as to which side was the A side. But it’s obvious that Spector was also using these tracks to really push his sonic experiments: Crazy huge reverbs, echo, overloaded pre-amps (I hear the genesis of The Beatles’ Savoy Truffle horns in here), wild-ass solos, etc. I’d sure love to have these all collected and properly mastered. Until then can someone out there tell me where else to find these tracks collected ?