BREAKING: Phil Spector Defense Team To Rest Case

LOS ANGELES — In an unexpected move, Phil Spector’s attorneys said they could conclude defense testimony today in the music producer’s trial. Spector’s witness list included scientific-evidence heavyweights such as Michael Baden and Henry Lee, and testimony was expected to stretch into next week. But defense attorney Christopher Plourd said yesterday outside the presence of the jury that three or four minor witnesses would be called today to testify about what was discovered on actress Lana Clarkson’s computer.

Spector, 67, won’t be┬ácalled to testify. Prosecutors said they were surprised by the announcement, but would work to have witnesses ready to rebut defense testimony. Deputy District Attorney Patrick Dixon said the prosecution’s rebuttal case could last two to three days.While the bulk of the defense case could end today, Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler advised lawyers that they would not officially rest their case until next week after jurors are expected to take a tour of Spector’s suburban home, the site of Clarkson’s Feb. 3, 2003, shooting death. Fidler told jurors that a trip to the castlelike mansion is tentatively set for Aug. 9.

SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE: Your Honor, I’m Just A Frozen Caveman Lawyer, I Am Frightened By Your Modern World, Your Cell Phones And Fax Machines Scare And Confuse Me, BUT ONE THING I DO KNOW — THIS MAN IS INNOCENT!


Spin Cycle

The Ronettes’ “Be My Baby,” produced by Phil Spector
The intro must have sounded like gunshots back in the summer of 1963–just months before Kennedy’s death ride past the grassy knoll–because back then drums simply didn’t hit that hard. Even now, when rock ‘n’ roll has grown louder than bombs, those drums sound like they’re being played in some vast, immeasurably grand space–like they’re ricocheting around the sunken belly of the Titanic or bouncing off the vaulted ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Time and repetition have rendered the beat iconic, as classic as tail fins and french fries: boom boom-boom CHA! boom boom-boom CHA! And then the Wall of Sound comes down like a velvet hammer–shimmering piano, hot-rod bass, chugging guitar, a billowing curtain of strings and a sparkling candelabra of tambourines, maracas and castanets–resonating endlessly in colossal reverb and pristine mono. The sound soars, swelling into an eternal sigh, a symphonic teen fantasia of need and want. (There’s no telling how many takes Phil Spector demanded. Legend has it he once spent 12 hours listening to one note until he was certain it was perfect.) And then the vocals come in, like a choir of angels with dirty faces. It’s Ronnie Bennett–soon to be Ronnie Spector–of the Ronettes. Their unholy 1968 to 1974 marriage could be summed up with the title of another Spector production, “He Hit Me (It Felt Like a Kiss).” Spector liked to tell people that when he discovered the Ronettes he thought they were good-looking but couldn’t sing so good. Still, he “kinda promised their mother” that he would make them stars. And so Ronnie became his songbird, the canary in the coal mine of his black-leather soul. If Brian Wilson–who became obsessed with “Be My Baby,” more or less using it as the floor plan for the Beach Boys’ sound–was teen America’s Mozart-on-the-beach, Spector was its Beethoven: dark, brooding, brilliant and doomed. That’s why he always wore shades–not to keep the light from getting in, but to keep the darkness from getting out. (Jonathan Valania)



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