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Music producer Phil Spector dead at 81

Spector was best known for developing the music production technique called the "wall of sound," and was serving prison time for the murder of actress Lana Clarkson.
Music producer Phil Spector, left, and his attorney Dennis Riordan appear in a courtroom for Spector's sentencing in Los Angeles, Friday, May 29, 2009. Spector has been sentenced to 19 years to life in prison for the murder of actress Lana Clarkson. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, Pool)

The California Department of Corrections has confirmed that music producer Phil Spector has died, he was 81-years-old.

Spector was responsible for some of the biggest chart toppers the music industry has ever seen, but his life came crashing down after the murder of actress Lana Clarkson in 2003, for which Spector was serving a prison sentence for her shooting death.

Spector was convicted of murdering Clarkson at his castle-like mansion in Los Angeles. After a long and public trial in 2009, the disgraced music producer was sentenced to 19-years to life in prison.

Many sources have Spector’s birth date as 1940, but it was listed as 1939 in court documents after his arrest. Spector's lawyer confirmed that date to The Associated Press, putting his age at death at 81, despite the California Department of Corrections' news release originally stating otherwise on Sunday. 

Spector was best known for developing the music production technique called the "wall of sound" back in the 60s, where multiple sound layers are added to a track to create a dense orchestral effect on songs.

Reports that Spector died after experiencing COVID-19 related symptoms were not confirmed by the California Department of Corrections in a Sunday press release. 

Harvey Philip Spector, was born in the Bronx, New York on December 26, 1939. According to Rolling Stone, Spector's father died by suicide when Spector was only nine years old. He and his mother later moved to Los Angeles where he began his music career. He became a millionaire at just 21-years-old with the success of Philles Records, the record label he created with veteran L.A. producer Lester Sill.

During his long run as a music producer, Spector produced hits for The Beatles, Cher, John Prine, John Lennon, the Ramones, The Righteous Brothers, Curtis Lee and on and on.

The California Department of Corrections said Spector died on Saturday Jan. 16 at 6:35 p.m. local time, from "natural causes."

He was said to have been in an outside hospital when he died. The San Joaquin County's medical examiner will now work to determine an official cause of death. 

Credit: California Department of Corrections

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