As I’ve been pointing out since the late spring, the vast death toll from COVID hasn’t deprived our future of a comparable amount of human capital because most of the victims have been past their primes. For example, from the New York Times obituary section, here is perhaps the most legendary American victim of COVID-19 yet. But his prime was around 1963:
Known for creating the ‘Wall of Sound,’ he scored hits with the Crystals, the Ronettes and the Righteous Brothers and was one of the most influential figures in popular music.
By William Grimes
Jan. 17, 2021
Phil Spector, one of the most influential and successful record producers in rock ’n’ roll, who generated a string of hits in the early 1960s defined by the lavish instrumental treatment known as the wall of sound, but who was sentenced to prison for the murder of a woman at his home, died on Saturday. He was 81.
The cause was complications of Covid-19, his daughter, Nicole Audrey Spector, said. He was taken to San Joaquin General Hospital in French Camp, Calif., on Dec. 31 and intubated in January, she said.
Mr. Spector had been serving a prison sentence since 2009 for the murder of Lana Clarkson, a nightclub hostess whom he had taken to his home after a night of drinking in 2003. The Los Angeles police found her slumped in a chair in the foyer, dead from a single bullet wound to the head. …
After learning the ropes as a record producer, Mr. Spector, the central figure in Tom Wolfe’s 1965 essay “The First Tycoon of Teen,” became a one-man hit factory. Between 1960 and 1965 he placed 24 records in the Top 40, many of them classics.
His 13 Top 10 singles included some of the quintessential “girl group” songs of the era: “He’s a Rebel,” “Uptown,” “Then He Kissed Me” and “Da Doo Ron Ron”by the Crystals, and “Be My Baby” and “Walking in the Rain” by the Ronettes.
For the Righteous Brothers he produced “Unchained Melody” and “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling,” a No. 1 hit that became the 20th century’s most-played song on radio and television, according to BMI.
Mr. Spector single-handedly created the image of the record producer as auteur, a creative force equal to or even greater than his artists, with an instantly identifiable aural brand.
Even the general public (e.g., me) had heard he was a dangerous loon by about 1980 when the Ramones mentioned how scary it was to record their End of the Century album with him.