Sunday, December 25, 2011

VA - A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector ( Philles, 1963)

For all my obsession with the most famous avant-garde record producers of pop history (Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois, Sam Phillips, George Martin, Tony Visconti, John Cale, Tom Dowd, etc., nothing matches Phil Spector. You may disagree, but as far as originality goes, nothing impresses me more than his "Wall of Sound" treatment.

This is the greatest Christmas album of all time yet it has been a relative failure. How is this possible? These recordings coincided with Spector at the peak of his creative genius. With The Ronettes and The Crystals on board it doesn't seem like anything could go wrong.

Well, there is a legitimate reason. Historically, Phil Spector has had a multitude of misfortune. Some of it his fault, some of it not, much of it due to serious psychological problems. Either way, Philles Records released this on Nov. 22, 1963. Does that date ring a bell? Yeah? That's because JFK was assassinated that day. Yep, Spector got screwed again, and although Apple re-issued it in 1972, Ronnie and Darlene's delicious voices weren't still wooing the world at that point.

As is often the case with great records like this, the original pressings sell for $400-500. I don't own it. If you do, I'm jealous. One day I'll crowd around the hi-fi and watch this turn on my platter. Until then, lets all crowd around the mp3's with our friends and family on Christmas day and celebrate the better hand fate has dealt us than Mr. Spector. Merry Christmas everybody.

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