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Phil Spector's wife says he produced her album, but some are skeptical

Music producer Phil Spector was legendary for his work with Tina Turner, the Ronettes, the Beatles.

But certainly his greatest feat would seem to be having a new CD appear this summer proclaiming him as producer while he sits in Corcoran State Prison, where he is serving a sentence of 19 years to life for the second-degree murder of struggling actress Lana Clarkson.

The new CD is the work of his wife, fledgling singer Rachelle Spector -- and it was produced before her husband went to prison last year.

Rachelle, who is 29 (30 next month) met her husband, who is 70, at Dan Tana’s, the old-style Italian restaurant and bar hangout. They met just months after Clarkson died of a gunshot wound in the producer’s Alhambra mansion.

Rachelle said she had no clue about his fame -- or his infamy -- that night.

"Pretty much from the time we met until the time he was taken away from me," she said referring to the April 2009 conviction that sent him to prison, "we were inseparable."

Never doubting his innocence, she says, she married him in September 2006. The two worked on her CD, she said, between that year and 2009, a period that Spector spent mostly free on bail. His first trial ended in a hung jury in 2007 before he was convicted after his second trial.

"It took a lot longer than anticipated because the trial took precedence over everything," Rachelle said.

"It was fun," she said of the recording sessions. "It was his outlet. It was his escape back to his roots."

Not that the collection of up-tempo pop songs, some of them dance tunes, resemble the fabled lush Wall of Sound that became Spector’s signature.

"He didn’t want that," she said of the songs that she notes he co-wrote, produced and arranged. "It’s not about the Wall of Sound. It’s about turning the negative into a positive and getting back to the roots of music."

The cover of the CD, titled "Out of My Chelle," shows an ebullient Rachelle kicking her leg at an abstract splash of pink paint. In the upper right hand corner is the declaration "A Phil Spector Production."

A few have raised questions about whether this is really the producing work of Phil Spector.

"She has a strong drive to be a pop singer," said Steve Escobar, who lives in the Bay Area and calls himself a friend of the producer, but he added, "Since I’ve known him in 2004, he would say she was going off to do her songs. … I asked him, 'Are you working on it?' He said, 'No, I just go in and listen once in a while and give my critique.'"

Rachelle countered, "People are going to say what they’re going to say. This was my husband’s idea -- several years into my husband’s and my relationship."

Said Bob Merlis, a former music industry executive who now runs his own public relations firm and is a friend of Spector’s: "I told her when I heard it that people will logically conclude it doesn’t sound like what you expect from a Phil Spector record. She said, You haven’t heard him in so many years.' I just accept that. I wasn’t at the sessions."

Rachelle came to Los Angeles in 2001 to pursue a singing career and said she sang at local clubs around town. She said she was on a night off from her waitress job when she met Spector. She said they rehearsed the music for weeks at the home she shares with him in Alhambra -- the same house where Clarkson was shot to death and where Rachelle now lives alone.

She said she recorded her songs in a Sherman Oaks studio with her husband present.

"To see my husband in his element was magical. … His ears are amazing. If he didn’t like something, he would stop it and rewrite an entire different part," Rachelle said.

The songs are produced on her own label, Genius4Ever, and are available digitally June 8.

The actual CDs will be available online starting July 20. And Spector will first be eligible for parole in 2028.

Rachelle said she visits him weekly. "I go up every single weekend," she said.

-- Carla Hall

Photos: (top) Phil and Rachelle Spector outside of court. Credit: Associated Press

(bottom) Rachelle Spector's new album. Credit: Rachelle Spector

Comments () | Archives (9)

All you haters need to leave Rachelle alone. She's hot, and you're not. She's talented, you're not. Anyone who says rude things about her obviously is saying more about themselves!

If Phil Spector produced this CD and it says "A Phil Spector Production", why does it have her label on it and not his "Phil Spector Production" label. She's using his logo (from the 60's), why not the label as well?

I can't wait for some reporter to interview her and question her about all her wild claims and changes in past statements and interviews. She herself had stated that she was going to hire another Producer.

She would have more credibility if she did not keep changing her stories. Anyone recall her claiming his hair was real and that she should know since she made up his hair everyday?

Excerpts from the album can be heard on her Website:
Decide for yourself.

To my ears, listening through studio headphones, it sounds like a thoroughly professional production. Whoever did this certainly knows what they're doing.

My only objection is that much of the background track seems to be computer (or synthesizer) generated. Live instruments would have given it a richer sound, with the added bonus of room ambiance from the studio.

Its always a tough one to take in and believe stuff from the media..my senses tell me that all this is above board and that he did have input into what this lady is doing...My regards for Phil is enormous and has been and remains so to this day,the man is a genius, so much joy passed on to millions,its simply quite sad how things have turned out.

I sense this lady is telling it as it is,the fact that Phil did have input into this production but perhaps not quite at the high level she describes.So I would say leave the lady alone and allow her to get on with her work.Phil has my enormous regard and it has been that way for many years for all the work he brought to our shores.A genius of a man in the world of music thats unquestionable,how sad it all is right now.
My Warmest Thoughts & Good Wishes To Everyone
John in The UK.

"...her own label, Genius4Ever"

hahahahahahaha, Rachelle. Kick your leg some more, dreamer.

I just found out that it was mostly Graham Ward, that Produced this CD.

Where's his credit? It would appear that all the Producing credit is going to the 1 person that did the least work just for the purpose of sales and promoting. Very sad.

The story might be true, but if so, it's disgusting how low someone will go to get ahead . Latching onto a music legend, who is sick and dangerous and about to go to prison for life, is pathetic, even for Hollywood. I don't have to listen to the music to know it's bad. Garbage in, garbage out. Don't waste your money.

W the exception of "Here In My Heart", the rest of the collection is so underproduced that it just doesn't seem like Phil Spector. Most of the rest of the tracks sound unfinished discards from any old wannaBritney Spears. Spector produced John Lennon's Plastic Ono Band album, and that's a good example of how PS can produce w/ restraint. His wife's album lacks the manic energy, the echo chambers and the mixed-in-your-face vocal tracks that are PS's inescapable trademarks.


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