Entertainment behind the scenes
One of the biggest mysteries to emerge from convicted murderer Phil Spector’s two trials has just been solved. Yes, they were wigs delicately perched on the head of the infamous “Wall of Sound” music producer. But he’s not completely bald.
A pair of mugshots released on Wednesday by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation shows a gaunt Spector with unkempt,stringy hair hanging from the back and sides, but nothing on top. CDCR regulations forbid wigs and hairpieces unless they are “deemed medically necessary.” Spector will also have to ensure his remaining tresses are kept in “a neat, plain style, which does not draw undue attention to the inmate.”
Of course, it was never really a surprise that Spector was bewigged. But mainstream media reports during the trials generally sidestepped the issue even as some of his designs appeared to breaking their own laws. He is pictured below last month at his sentencing, in 2007 and in 2005. (from left)
Spector, 69, was forced to abandon his wild plumage last week when he was transferred to North Kern State Prison in Delano, Calif., shortly after he was sentenced to 19 years to life in prison for the murder of a Hollywood actress in 2003. He is expected to be evaluated at the facility for at least two months before he is sent to his new home in the California prison network.
Music producer Phil Spector was sentenced on Friday to 19 years to life in prison for shooting to death Hollywood actress Lana Clarkson in 2003. But the day of judgment for the “Wall of Sound” creator came long after his high-wattage career had dimmed to a glow.
Spector was most famous in the 1960s, when he worked with The Ronettes, Ike and Tina Turner and The Beatles. The radio-friendly tilt of his sound earned him the nickname The Tycoon of Teen in the ’60s, and he called his “Wall of Sound” technique “little symphonies for the kids,” because it involved overdubbing many musicians playing a wide range of instruments. But it’s a rare teen today who would be all that familiar with Spector’s recordings.
John Lennon’s “Instant Karma” is an unlikely choice for an advertising jingle. With future murderer Phil Spector manning the boards, the angry ex-Beatle wasted no time warning listeners, “You better get yourself together, Pretty soon you’re gonna be dead.” Which in fact Lennon was a decade later.
Cut to 2009, and Chase has dusted off the song for an advertising campaign, but it has focused on the shiny, happy chorus, “Well we all shine on, Like the moon and the stars and the sun, Well we all shine on…”
That’s not Lennon singing on the new version, by the way. Instead Chase went edgy with British goth singer Peter Murphy, who used to front Bauhaus, a rock group famed for the song “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” and for inspiring Nine Inch Nails. Cindy Mizelle, who once toured with Mick Jagger, does the backing vocals.
The spot heralds Chase’s arrival in California following the purchase last fall of Washington Mutual’s banking operations by its JPMorgan Chase parent. The black-and-white clip depicts such outdoor pursuits as surfing, swimming and ballooning, and a biker couple riding off into the sunset.
“This spot heralds a bright new day and so we chose a song that is upbeat, well known and classic,” a Chase spokesman said in an email. “‘Instant Karma’ is an iconic song and the chorus, ‘We all shine on’, reinforces an emotional connection with the brand but also demonstrates that ‘we’re going to get through these trying times together.’”
The spokesman declined to discuss financial terms, and a spokesman for Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, did not return an email seeking comment.
Murphy recorded the song in full, and hopes it will see the light of day, said David Baron, who produced and arranged the tune with Murphy at a converted church in Woodstock, New York.
“Peter is currently working out the details for the new record and the final tracks have not been decided on,” Baron said. “Peter would like to release Instant Karma in some fashion so I am sure it will surface.”
Murphy does not appear in the Chase ad, but he can be seen as “the Blown Away Guy” in a 1980s British ad for Maxell cassettes.
(Peter Murphy photo credit: Koray Birand)