Nailed to a hospital bed breathing for last breaths, Phil Spector couldn’t be further away from the life he once knew.
He was the strongest man in the music industry, creating not just stars but icons.
Spector’s life ended in January last year at the age of 81, when he was treated at an outside hospital while serving a prison sentence for murder in the United States.
His wife Ronnie survived him for a year. She died Wednesday at the age of 78 after battling cancer.
The singer of the girl group Ronettes endured Phil’s abuse – and barely escaped becoming his first victim of murder.
On February 3, 2003, Spector shot actress Lana Clarkson in the mouth at his Iberian mansion in the Alhambra, California.
Spector later said Clarkson’s death was a “random suicide.”
Sony Music Archive via Getty Ima)
Sony Music Archive via Getty Images)
Six years later, a life full of violence, genius and insanity finally caught up with him when he was found guilty of Clarkson’s murder and imprisoned.
Despite the hell he put it through, Ronnie later remembered the “fairy tale” they once shared.
As a new girl group, The Ronettes – Ronnie, her sister Estelle and cousin Nedra Talley – fought for success.
So in early 1963, Ronnie took matters into her own hands and called Spector and asked to audition.
With Spector at the piano, the trio sang a version of Why Do Fools Fall In Love, which caused the producer to jump up and shout, “This is it. That’s it. That’s the voice I’ve been looking for. “
At first, he wanted to sign Ronnie as a solo performer, but her mother insisted that he sign the entire Ronettes band or the contract was dropped.
Spector agreed, and by March 1963, the Ronettes were officially part of his Philles Records list.
Shortly afterwards, she and Ronnie began an affair.
At the time, the 20-year-old starlet did not know at the beginning of their relationship that he was married to singer Annette Merar.
When Ronnie, born Veronica Bennett, was detained for prostitution at the Delmonico Hotel in New York City, she called Spector for help.
The strong producer threatened – and she was released. She has seen him as her protector since that day – but he was not a guardian angel.
The Ronettes have achieved great success with blockbusters like Be My Baby.
When they toured the UK in 1964, the Rolling Stones opened up to them.
After Spector separated from Merar in 1965, he bought a home in Beverly Hills. She and Ronnie were married in 1968. A year later, they adopted a son, Donté Phillip.
Two years later, he surprised her with adopted twins Louis and Gary as a bizarre Christmas present.
Spector’s madness was already beginning to emerge. It gradually became dominant and dominant.
Their 23-room mansion has been transformed into a strictly guarded prison with fences, barbed wire and intercoms in each room.
In her 1990 memoir Be My Baby, Ronnie revealed that Spector subjected her to years of psychological torment after her marriage.
He also sabotaged her career by banning her from performing. On rare occasions when he let her out, she had to ride a life-size Phil doll in the passenger seat of the car.
Ronnie said he placed a golden coffin with a glass plate in the basement and vowed to kill her and show off her body if she left him.
But in 1972, she managed to escape.
One night, without shoes – because he also hid them from her – she slipped away for a walk with her mother.
Speaking about her escape, she remembered her mother saying, “We need to get out. Or you, my little girl, will be gone. “
In 1974, the divorce was completed. After Spector threatened to kill her, Ronnie left him his future record earnings.
She received just £ 18,000, a used car and £ 1,800 a month in stock for five years.
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Ronnie tried to rebuild her career, but Spector hired lawyers to stop her from singing her hits.
In 1988, Ronnie and other Ronettes sued Spector for £ 7.5 million.
After more than a decade of litigation, he had to pay Ronnie more than a million pounds in royalties. Still, Ronnie had kind words for Phil when he died in California last year.
About the man who shaped her life in this way, she wrote: “Getting to know him and falling in love was like a fairy tale.
“Darkness ensued, many lives were damaged.”
But she added: “I still smile when I hear the music we’ve created together, and I always will. The music will be there forever. “
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