Monday, June 3, 2013

The Curse Of Early Success

I never met Phil Spector, but when I started producing pop music  in the seventies he was one of my role models. I even tried to copy his famous Wall Of Sound (to no avail). Like every artist I dreamed of success. Phil Spector, the legendary producer of 60s' hits like Baby I Love You, Spanish Harlem, Da Doo Ron Ron, Be My Baby and You've Lost That Loving Feeling had been a teenager when he had reached the peak of his career. In my twenties, struggling to make a living, working hard and longing for a breakthrough I regarded him as the lucky one. But what looks like a blessing sometimes turns out to be a curse. How can you top having at the same time four songs in the top ten of the Billboard Charts? Impossible. You can't even repeat it. So everything else that comes feels like a failure. Already in his thirties, Phil Spector became very strange. He hid from daylight and surrounded himself with bodyguards. He never stopped producing, recorded songs with big stars and enormous success. However, he wasn't the admired wunderkind he used to be, rather a revisited legend. And never again four hits in the charts. He turned bitter. His weird behavior alienated him from his devotees and collaborators. I guess Phil hated himself. The wigs he wore and the drugs he took did not help. The sad end of his career came in 2011: He was sentenced to life imprisonment on a charge of murder. As Tim Rice in his great Evita aria High Flying Adored says: So famous, so easily, so soon is not the wisest thing to be.

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