It seems Phil Spector has passed.
In this era it's hard to remember what it was like not knowing every crazy thing someone famous did or had done, and in a pre-social media era, it was maybe easier to conflate madness and genius. And Phil Spector managed to leverage his gigantic cultural shadow to protect himself from consequence, terrorize and generally make miserable some of the foundational acts of American pop music.
Spector is perhaps one of the original producers to earn a name beyond the music industry, and is definitely the longest sustaining name of a producer people still recognize.
Look, I love the Wall of Sound stuff. Back to Mono was one of the first big outlays I ever made for a boxed set when I couldn't afford it and somehow made it work.* The Crystals, Ronnettes, Darlene Love... totally my thing. But I'm also well aware of the nightmare Spector made their lives.
In the end, he murdered actress Lana Clarkson - then managed to dodge jail for a few years and was eventually convicted.
Since learning of his various and frequent abuses, I've not been able to reconcile Spector's work in the studio with what he did in his private life. By the time the news about Clarkson's murder hit, I knew enough about the guy that I wasn't that surprised. I just thought he would have more self-preservation instinct than to actually draw that kind of attention to himself.
Anyway - you don't have much choice but to sometimes separate the artist from the art. But, man, is it hard to do so sometimes.
*back then skipping meals was always an option for saving money - I could just be dizzy for a bit til dinner