Music producer Phil Spector dies in prison at 81

Phil Spector, who produced artists like the Beatles, George Harrison and the Ramones, died Saturday at age 81. The producer was serving a 19-to-life sentence for the 2003 murder of actress Lana Clarkson. He was convicted in 2009. Spector’s death was confirmed by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, who released a statement, saying, “California Health Care Facility inmate Phillip Spector was pronounced deceased of natural causes at 6:35 p.m. on Saturday, January 16, 2021, at an outside hospital,”  “His official cause of death will be determined by the medical examiner in the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office.”

Spector became a prolific producer and songwriter in the ’60s, working with the Ronettes, the Crystals, the Righteous Brothers (including the 1964 hit “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'”) and Ike & Tina Turner. Spector famously worked with members of the Beatles and was recruited to turn the band’s Let It Be recordings into a final album. Spector also co-produced Lennnon’s 1970 LP, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band; his 1971 LP, Imagine; George Harrison’s 1970 record, All Things Must Pass; and his 1971 live album, The Concert for Bangladesh.

In 1974, the producer was involved in a near-fatal car crash and suffered injuries that prompted extensive surgery. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989. On April 13, 2009, the producer was convicted of second-degree murder, over six years after Clarkson had been shot dead. 

Phil Spector, murderer and music producer, dead at 81