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Music producer and convicted murderer Phil Spector dies, aged 81

Phil Spector
(Image credit: FRED PROUSER/AFP via Getty Images)

Music producer Phil Spector, who was serving a prison sentence for murder, has died at the age of 81, it’s been confirmed.

In a brief statement, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said: “California Health Care Facility inmate Phillip Spector, 80 [sic], 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 was admitted from Los Angeles County on June 5, 2009, for second-degree murder. He had been sentenced to 19 years to life for the shooting death of actress Lana Clarkson.”

Spector had been a hugely influential music producer; his Wall of Sound technique, which he developed in the ‘60s, scored him a slew of hits with acts such as The Ronettes (Be My Baby, Baby, I Love You), The Crystals (Da Doo Ron Ron, Then He Kissed Me), The Righteous Brothers (You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’) and Ike & Tina Turner (River Deep - Mountain High).

His work continued in the ‘70s, when he produced Let It Be, the final studio album by The Beatles, and solo records by both John Lennon and George Harrison.

Spector then became a reclusive figure, earning infamy when, in 2009, he was found guilty of murdering actress Lana Clarkson, who died of a gunshot wound to the head in 2003.