November 2, 2014

I took no small amount of jabs and ridicule from the family at our gathering to celebrate my Auntie Marge and Uncle Don’s 60th wedding anniversary because of my expressed respect and passion in these pages for Phil Spector. I respect their point of view while at the same time fiercely holding my own view that Phil’s music has changed my life and that, whether you believe it or not, the worst he committed was manslaughter – any time you mix guns and alcohol bad stuff is bound to happen. And when you appear to not possess all of your mental facilities the pathetic and jealous hoi polloi will rip you to shreds.

Screw ’em, that’s what I say!

That aside, while some folks might consider the Crystals’ Da Doo Ron Ron (what a great video!), or his Christmas album, or the Righteous Brothers’ (You’ve Lost That) Lovin’ Feelin’ Phil’s greatest production (and why not, it’s the most played record on pop radio stations of all time), “River Deep, Mountain High”, recorded the next year by Ike and Tina Turner remains his greatest production EVAH.

Lots of folks have written about the failure of this song and the impact it had on Phil’s career, so I won’t bother with it here. All I can tell you is that I do think it is Phil’s finest work, and I dare anyone to listen to it without thinking there wasn’t something special going on during those legendary sessions at Gold Star back in 1966.

The big question here is, was it over-produced? My response: absolutely not. It was what Phil wanted and from the very start it just jumps at you like a rabid raccoon ripping into your jugular vein. Listen to Tina’s performance (performed with minimal lighting since she had asked Phil and his engineer Larry Levine if it was OK if took off her blouse to make her more comfortable!) and all that raw emotion and screaming and yelling, and you know there was nothing in her performance, Phil’s production, or Levine’s engineering that was going to hold anything back. Both Phil’s production and the musicians playing is extremely hot from start to finish, matching the intensity of Turner’s performance. I don’t think there was anything like it, before or since.

Was it ahead of it’s time? I don’t think so. I just think that for three and a half minutes back in 1966 magic was made and God made the world stand still.

I only know this: to listen to Celine Dion try and match what Phil and Tina did is OK, but outside of that dress 🙂 and her willingness to take the song on, you just realize what a great and unappreciated combination Phil Spector and Tina did almost a half century ago.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 02:36 | Comments (4)
4 Comments »
  1. Well that’s 3:36 of crap I’ll never get back.

    I usually defer to you on music stuff, but there is a reason why that song was panned.

    Comment by Dave Richard — November 3, 2014 @ 5:02 am


  2. I’m guessing you didn’t play it loud enough.

    Comment by The Great White Shank — November 5, 2014 @ 3:59 pm


  3. Internet troll above is deaf. One of my all time favorites! Tina was great then and still rocks at age 74!

    Comment by Gavin Thomas — November 5, 2014 @ 10:32 pm


  4. Thanks for the comment, Gavin. Glad you enjoyed the post. Welcome, and don’t be a stranger!

    Comment by The Great White Shank — November 24, 2014 @ 3:16 pm


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