Phil Spector charged with murder of actress

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The Independent US

The record producer Phil Spector was charged with murder yesterday.

The recording-studio wizard has been free on $1m (£590,000) bail since he was arrested shortly after a woman was shot dead at his home on 3 February. Lana Clarkson, 40, a B-movie actress and model, was found dead in the foyer of his Alhambra mansion.

Prosecutors have not said whether they will seek a first-degree or second-degree murder conviction against Mr Spector, 63. Marvin Mitchelson, his friend and an attorney, said: "I am shocked, saddened. But I fully believe that time will prove Phil's complete innocence." Mr Spector has denied he killed Ms Clarkson, suggesting in an interview with Esquire magazine that she may have shot herself.

Mr Spector is famous for creating the Wall of Sound, which involved overdubbing multiple instruments, vocals and sound effects to create a full, dramatic effect. The technique changed the way pop records were produced while bringing fame to groups including the Ronettes and the Crystals.

Among the hits bearing his 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.

He also worked with Elvis Presley and Ike and Tina Turner, produced the last Beatles album, Let It Be, in 1970, worked with John Lennon on "Imagine" and helped Yoko Ono to produce Lennon's work after he was killed in 1980.

But there apparently was a dark side to Mr Spector's genius, with stories of drunken rages, violence against a former wife and a penchant for brandishing firearms.

The District Attorney's spokeswoman, Sandi Gibbons, said the nine-month gap between the shooting and the charges was due to a lengthy sheriff's investigation. "The sheriff didn't turn over the evidence to us until 18 September," she said. "We had a tremendous amount of evidence to evaluate and we had to gather additional evidence on our own." (AP)

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