Phil Spector dead at 81: Jailed Wall of Sound producer dies of COVID

Phil Spector dead at 81: Jailed Wall of Sound producer dies of COVID after relapsing four weeks after diagnosis

  • Music producer Phil Spector died from COVID-19 related complications on Saturday at the age of 81
  • He was diagnosed with COVID four weeks ago and went to a hospital but recovered enough to return to jail
  • He relapsed, struggled with breathing and returned to a hospital where he died
  • He was serving a 19 years-to-life sentence for the murder of Lana Clarkson

Music producer Phil Spector has died from COVID-19 related complications at the age of 81.

Spector was diagnosed with COVID four weeks ago and was transferred from his prison cell at California Health Care Facility, where he was serving a 19 years-to-life sentence for the 2003 murder of actress Lana Clarkson, to a hospital.

He recovered enough to return to jail but he relapsed and struggled with breathing and returned to a hospital where he died Saturday, as per TMZ.

The California Department of Corrections confirmed his passing and he was pronounced dead of natural causes at 6.35pm Saturday.

A medical examiner will determine his exact cause of death. 

Music producer Phil Spector died Satruday from COVID-19 related complications at the age of 81. Pictured in court in February 2004 in California 

The famed musician, born in the Bronx of New York City, developed the Wall of Sound a technique of that has a roaring effect, dubbed the ‘Wagnerian approach to rock ‘n’ roll,’ that was popular in the ’60s. 

He was eight years old when his father killed himself and his mother moved their family to Los Angeles. He attended Fairfax High in 1954, where alumni included songwriters Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who would play an important role in his early career, according to Variety.

He wrote, co-wrote and produced acts for the likes of the Ronettes, the Crystals, and Ike & Tina Turner. 

He started his career by producing his first hit ‘To Know Him is To Love Him’ for his vocal trio the Teddy Bears when he was still in high school. 

From there his career skyrocketed and he produced hits including ‘Be My Baby’ by the Ronnettes and ‘He’s a Rebel’ by The Crystals.

In 1969 he produced the Beatles’ album Let It Be and several solo records for John Lennon and George Harrison.

By the 70s he had produced 18 US Top 10 singles for various artists including Leonard Cohen, and the Ramones.

Some of his top songs include ‘The Long and Winding Road’ by the Beatles in 1970 and ‘My Sweet Lord’ by George Harrison in 1970.

Spector did little work after the early 80s and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989.

In 2009, after three decades in semi-retirement, he was convicted of Clarkson’s murder.

In February 2003 actress Lana Clarkson was killed at Spector’s mansion in Alhambra, California.

The 40-year-old actress who starred in the cult film ‘Barbarian Queen’ was found dead, slumped in a chair suffering a single gunshot wound to the mouth with her broken teeth scattered across the carpet.

Spector told Esquire Magazine in July 2003 that her death was an ‘accidental suicide’ and she ‘kissed the gun.’


Lana Clarkson (right) suffered a single gun-shot to the mouth and her teeth were found scattered over the carpet. Spector (right) said he death was an accident but he was eventually found guilty of her murder in 2009

In an emergency call from Spector’s home, the music virtuoso can be heard saying ‘I think I killed someone’.

His driver, Adriano de Souza, says he saw Spector emerge from the back of the home clutching a snub-nosed pistol, shortly after making the call.

In both of his trials – the first ending in a mistrial – jurors were taken to examine the murder scene.

Spector was eventually convicted of her murder in 2009. He was supposed to be eligible for parole in 2024. 

This is a developing story 

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