On April 2, 1970, Phil Spector put the final touches on the Beatles‘ Let It Be album, ending their time as a recording entity until the Anthology project in the mid-’90s.
According to Mark Lewisohn’s The Beatles Recording Sessions: The Official Abbey Road Studio Session Notes, 1962 – 1970, Spector and engineers Peter Brown and Roger Ferris were holed up in Room 4 of Abbey Road Studios and made stereo mixes of “The Long and Winding Road” and “Across the Universe.”
… George Harrison‘s “I Me Mine” was, at 1:34, the shortest song on the record. … Spector spooled the tape back to 0:31 (“All through the day“) and let it run until he got back to the original spot. This edit added 51 seconds to the song, increasing its length by roughly 65 percent.
Read more at Ultimate Classic Rock.
The Righteous Brothers’ 1964 single, “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin,'” produced by Phil Spector, is among 25 recordings selected this year to be inducted into the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry.
Under the terms of the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000, the Librarian of Congress each year selects 25 recordings that are “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant” and at least 10 years old.
“You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ ” (single) – The Righteous Brothers (1964)
This is the epitome of Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound, a carefully layered assemblage of sound combinations, often enhanced by echo. Spector, who had recently signed The Righteous Brothers (Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield) to his Philles label, asked the husband and wife team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil to write a song for them. Inspired by the yearning of “Baby, I Need Your Loving” by The Four Tops, they took their draft to Spector, who suggested a riff from “Hang on Sloopy” for the bridge, which they liked, and added the vocal “whoa-whoa-whoas,” which they didn’t. At first, Medley and Hatfield thought the high harmonies of the demo were wrong for them, but Spector kept lowering Medley’s opening part to the point that when Mann heard the finished version, he thought it was being played at the wrong speed. Recorded at Gold Star Studios in Los Angeles, Spector crammed the modest-sized Studio A with musicians, including multiple guitars, basses and pianos. According to engineer Larry Levine, the resulting microphone leakage contributed to the Wall of Sound effect. Another key was the cement-lined echo chambers in Studio A, used on both the instrumental track, which was recorded first, and the vocals, which were done weeks later. The results were mixed into a 45-rpm mono masterpiece. Unfortunately, at nearly four minutes, the final recording was too long for most time-conscious disc jockeys, so Spector purposely misprinted the running time as 3:05, a fact referenced years later by Billy Joel in his song “The Entertainer.”
Read more at The Hollywood Reporter.
Hal Blaine is featured in the new documentary The Wrecking Crew about a group of anonymous intensely successful musicians who recorded together. Terry Gross, host of NPR’s Fresh Air, spoke with him in 2001. Here is an excerpt:
GROSS: What are some of the things he had you do that other session heads didn’t? What was different about working with Phil Spector?
BLAINE: Well, first of all, every Phil Spector session was a party. Everyone on the session – all the guys and girls were the first call people. Everyone wanted to work with Phil Spector because they knew that some kind of a hit record – I mean, it was the talk of the town. Phil Spector was the guy that everyone wanted to see how he worked. He had a big sign on the door that said closed session, and yet anyone who stuck their head in – he’d grab them, and he’d shove them in the studio, and he’d say, Hal, give them a tambourine or a shaker or some claves, some noisemakers. Let him play something.
Read more and listen to the interview at NPR.org.
When David Letterman ends his 30-plus-year late night career in 2015, his smirking wit won’t be the only thing missing from television — it will also mark the end of an annual holiday TV tradition.
Every year since 1986, Darlene Love has performed her 1963 girl group classic “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” from the album A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector, on the last episode of Letterman before Christmas. In a recent interview with the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Billboard asked Love if she would consider moving the annual performance to a different late night show.
She laughed and shook her head.
…”They couldn’t ask me not to sing ‘Christmas (Baby)’ on another show, but after 10 years, then 15 years, of doing this one song on this one show, I felt I had an obligation to be true to them.”
Photo by John Paul Filo/CBS