- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 4, 2003

ALHAMBRA, Calif. (AP) Phil Spector, the legendary record producer whose "wall of sound" helped change the sound of pop music in the 1960s, was arrested yesterday on suspicion of shooting a woman to death at his suburban mansion.
Mr. Spector, 62, was seized at the castlelike estate around 5 a.m. after someone in the home called authorities. Sgt. Joe Efflandt said Mr. Spector was taken to the Alhambra Police Department and booked for investigation of murder.
He was released shortly after 7 p.m. after posting $1 million bail, said Los Angeles County sheriff's Deputy Rich Pena.
Lawyer Robert Shapiro, whose clients have included O.J. Simpson, was representing Mr. Spector. "I don't know answers to any of this," Mr. Shapiro said by telephone from the Alhambra Police Department before his client's release.
Authorities did not immediately identify the woman or her relationship to Mr. Spector.
The victim, found in the foyer, appeared to be in her early to mid-20s, and authorities were trying to locate her relatives, sheriff's Lt. Daniel Rosenberg said. He said deputies had found the gun, but released no details.
Police arrived after someone in the home called to report shots had been fired, Lt. Rosenberg said.
"Someone else was there at the time of the shooting," he said, declining to elaborate. A black Mercedes-Benz sedan with the driver's door open was parked in the driveway of the home, which records show that Mr. Spector bought for $1.1 million in 1998.
A close friend, lawyer Marvin Mitchelson, said Mr. Spector lived alone and didn't have a girlfriend.
Mr. Mitchelson said he and Mr. Spector had been trying to put together a movie about Mr. Spector's life.
"His mental state has been great, very rational, very together," Mr. Mitchelson said.
Mr. Spector is famous for creating the "wall-of-sound" effect that involved overdubbing scores of musicians to create a full, dramatic sound. The lush technique changed the way pop records were produced while bringing fame to singing groups such as the Ronettes and the Crystals.
In his storied career, Mr. Spector produced records for Elvis Presley, Ike and Tina Turner, the Righteous Brothers, and Darlene Love. He produced the last Beatles album, "Let It Be," in 1970. He worked with John Lennon on "Imagine" and helped Yoko Ono produce Mr. Lennon's work after he was killed in 1980.
Among the hits to bear his signature style are "Da Doo Ron Ron" and "Then He Kissed Me" by the Crystals, "Walking in the Rain" by the Ronettes, and "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin" by the Righteous Brothers.
His session players, known as the Wrecking Crew, included guitarist Glen Campbell, pianist Leon Russell, drummer Hal Blaine and the late Sonny Bono, who learned the producer's trade under Mr. Spector. But his production style, involving heavy use of echo, went out of style.
Mr. Spector, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989, has been reclusive during the past couple of decades. His last major album was "End of the Century," a 1980 collaboration with the Ramones.
During the session, the late bassist Dee Dee Ramone once said, Mr. Spector pulled a gun on the band.
"I don't think he would hurt a fly. Until anything happens, you're innocent until you're proven guilty. I don't think Phil had it in him to murder anybody," Marky Ramone, drummer for the Ramones, told the Fox News Channel.
The producer is said to have demonstrated near-psychotic and abusive behavior, according to a 1995 biography by Rolling Stone magazine.
"It had to stop," Mr. Spector said of his behavior in a 1977 Los Angeles Times interview. "Being the rich millionaire in the mansion and then dressing up as Batman. I have to admit I did enjoy it to a certain extent. But I began to realize it was very unhealthy."
Mr. Spector was a 17-year-old student at Fairfax High School in Los Angeles when he wrote and produced his first No. 1 hit, for the Teddy Bears, a 1958 ballad called "To Know Him Is to Love Him." Its title was taken from the inscription on the gravestone of his father, Benjamin, who committed suicide in 1949, when Spector was 9.

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