BRIEF ENCOUNTERS WITH PHIL SPECTOR!

April 15, 2009

bmi-dinner

L to R: Artie Ripp, Jeff Barry, Phil Spector, Paul Case, Ellie Greenwich, Jerry Leiber, and Ed Silvers at BMI award dinner in 1964

Yesterday I was talking to a pal from the past, Ira Howard, the former editor of Cashbox Magazine, who ran the music division of Readers Digest for 28 years. He was telling me about a new super website he’s about to launch especially for our generation, who never lost our love for the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s. As we talked about old times, the conversation turned to the headlines and Phil Spector, and our encounters over the years with him.

I told Ira, “After I left Aldon music, I started hanging out at Paul Vance’s (“Itsy, Bitsy, Teeny Weeny, Yellow Polka Dot Bikini”) office at 1650 Broadway. Ellie Greenwich (“Hanky Panky”) dropped in one day to see Paul who wasn’t there, and wound up writing a song with me and Danny Jordan (The Detergents), “You Should’ve Told Me”, which the Angels recorded. As Danny and I were dreaming of further collaborations with this talented young lady, Ellie, her fiance Jeff Barry (“Tell Laura I Love Her”) had other plans.

The two of them had started writing songs with 21 year-old producer, Phil Spector (“To Know Him Is To Love Him”). ..songs that defined a generation. “Be My Baby” by The Ronettes, “Da Doo Run Run” by the Crystals, and “River Deep Mountain High” by Ike and Tina Turner.”

Ira Howard recalls, “I was at Cashbox in the early ’60s when Phil came in and immediately blurted out “I got a hit record and I need a name for this new group I’m producing.” (the group, by the way, included Bobby Sheen, Darlene Love and Fanita James, who recorded under many group names back them.) We began throwing around some ideas, when, out of left field, I mentioned that we could possibly name them after the clothes the kids were wearing. I then said “how about dungarees…or blue jeans?’ Phil’s eyes lit up and said “bingo…it’s The Blue Jeans.” He followed it by saying, “now how about a lead singer?” I then followed with “how about bobby sox?” Phil had a grin from ear to ear and said “great…it’s Bob B. Soxx and The Blue Jeans.” The recording was “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” and it went Top Ten in November of ’62. Ira went on to mention that Phil had an amazing memory. The two didn’t meet until 40 years later at a songwriters awards dinner in New York. Ira got past Phil’s bodyguards and went up to him and just smiled. Phil then said “Bob B. Soxx & The Blue Jeans as his hello.”

Copyright 2009 by Artie Wayne http://artiewayne.wordpress.com/about-artie-wayne/

For more personal encounters with Phil Spector click onto

http://artiewayne.wordpress.com/2006/08/16/the-scoop-on-richard-baskin-and-phil-spector-with-a-cherry-on-top/

http://artiewayne.wordpress.com/2007/03/17/part-2-trade-martin-and-an-exclusive-look-inside-a-phil-spector-recording-session/

To see and hear Phil’s brilliant recordings with the Beatles as well as EVERY BEATLE VIDEO EVER MADE! http://artiewayne.wordpress.com/2009/04/11/every-beatle-video-ever-made-for-free/

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9 Responses to “BRIEF ENCOUNTERS WITH PHIL SPECTOR!”

  1. KennyTheDee Says:

    Artie,
    You’re the expert, and what you say goes, but the guy who is identified as Paul Case in the photo looks alot like Lester Sill to me.

  2. Country Paul Says:

    While it is sad to see Phil Spector convicted in LA this week, I am disheartened to say it also seems appropriate. The dichotomy between the amazing musical body he created and his extreme behavior of questionable sanity is large and tragic. I will still enjoy his musical contributions, but now there’s a little storm cloud casting a shadow over all of them.

    What a sad, sad situation.

  3. Charles Sheen Says:

    Artie
    great story,i didnt even know it happened like that.

    charlie

  4. MarkBarkan Says:

    I ran into Spector many times in the sixties-the time I remember most was when I was writing songs with Ellie for Lieber and Stoller. Phil came to hear some songs I wrote with Ellie and some she wrote with Tony Powers. All the while Ellie played and sang her heart out (in the small piano room in Lieber and Stoller’s offices, Phil kept lookingat himself in the mirror. Finally Ellie stopped in the middle of a song and said “hey you pr–k are you gonna keep looking at yourself or start listening to our songs!” I think he started listening-and he did record a few of the songs she wrote with Tony not with me-and then when Ellie started writing with Jeff-the rest is history

  5. Andrew C. Jones Says:

    Since the verdict, some people on the many music-related discussion groups that I belong to have been gloating over PS’s conviction. some of their comments have been so nasty that I wanted to answer, “Geez! What did he do to YOU?” (The worst thing he did to them, probably, was create the “Let It Be” album.”) But I agree with Country Paul on this one: if PS was convicted fair and square, he should be in prison – but still, it hurts to see someone whose work I’ve admired and enjoyed all my life come to such a pass.

  6. craig chereek Says:

    re: Phil Spector,
    Phil’s still got that “but she was only a stoopid woman,” look on his face. What a rotten shame. Gonna give rock and roll a bad name. Can’t anybody stand a happy ending? Gotta screw it all up by being human. Those that have resent those that don’t for their neediness, until they become less than human.
    NO, Phil, it is you who have become less than human, you forgot empathy for others, it’s the long slider on the left, it’s a little sticky, and you are gonna want to turn it all the way up. It’s all that can save you now.

  7. Art Munson Says:

    Hi Artie,

    I was also saddened, but not particularly surprised to hear about Phil’s fate.

    I had worked many times with Phil in the 60s and 70s, first with The Righteous Brothers and then with John Lennon and Leonard Cohen. You can read the whole story at http://over50music.com/arts-musings/my-time-with-phil-spector/.

    One thing I forgot to mention in my story: I remember my girlfriend at the time was coming to the some of the sessions but had to leave the control room and go home. There was so much weed being smoked she couldn’t breath, for her that was saying something!

  8. Terri Fricon Says:

    I remember a dinner several of us attended at Phil Spector’s house in the 1960s. The house was lovely and Phil had quite a few people working that night serving drinks and hors d’oeuvres. Dinner was announced and we all filed into the dinning room admiring the table beautifully set with china, sterling silver flatware and crystal glasses. A few moments later, the servants entered with our meal — TV dinners still in the tinfoil trays. Phil had a great sense of humor! It is so sad that his life has taken this turn.

  9. Terri Fricon Says:

    I have to agree with KennytheDee. The man identified as Paul Case looks like Lester Sill to me, too.


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