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1961: Phil Spector Produces Arlene Smith Solo Record

In April 1961, Phil Spector produces a solo record Arlene Smith, lead singer of The Chantels, who had one of the very first rock ‘n’ roll era Girl Group hits in 1957, “Maybe.” Arlene sings “Love, Love, Love” and the Gerry Goffin/Carol King number “He Knows I Love Him Too Much” on this hard-to-find disc.

1964: The Rolling Stones’ Debut LP Released In England

1964: The Rolling Stones’ debut LP released in England. Phil Spector and Gene Pitney showed up for the session that produced the album’s opening track “Not Fade Away” (Phil plays maracas) plus “Now I’ve Got A Witness” and “Little By Little” (which Phil co-wrote). Two out-takes, “Mr. Spector and Mr. Pitney Came Too” and “Andrew’s Blues,” were also recorded. The following year, a loose 4 a.m. session at RCA studios in Hollywood has Phil playing bass, Jack Nitzsche playing harpsichord, Keith Richards playing acoustic guitar and Mick Jagger singing. The song becomes “Play With Fire,” which in retrospect Andrew Loog Oldham signified as the moment The Rolling Stones’ songwriting took a giant leap forward toward the dynamics of their mid-’60s psychedelic material.

1966: The Saturday Review Gives Thumbs Up To ‘Things Are Changing’

1966: The Saturday Review gives thumbs up to “Things Are Changing,” a multi-group recording project done in ’65 to help advertise Equal Opportunity Employment programs during the Johnson administration (a hold-over concept from Kennedy’s youth programs). Phil Spector records a version of “Things Are Changing” with The Blossoms, featuring Darlene Love doing a powerful lead vocal. The backing track had actually been recorded earlier for a Ronettes version of Brian Wilson’s “Don’t Hurt My Little Sister,” on which Brian Wilson substituted for Leon Russell at the piano bench.