Over three decades since its heyday, Phil Spector's Wall of Sound still stands as a milestone in recording history. It changed the the course of pop record producing and produced some of rock's best loved music. Spector raised pop production's ambition and production by overdubbing scores of musicians to create a massive roar.
Wall of Sound - A thick layer of instrumentation (drums, guitar, bass, a horn section).
After the Teddy Bears broke up Spector enrolled at UCLA, and also worked part-time as a court stenographer. He later dropped out and moved back to New York, where he hoped to become at the U.N. interpreter in French. However, he soon returned to Los Angeles, where he decided to become involved again in the record business. He became acquainted with Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, a pair of songwriters and producers who were very successful by 1958 with the Robins/Coasters and written many songs recorded by top rock and roll acts. A quick learner, Spector decided to record a song he had written. The result was "To Know Is To Love Him" by the Teddy Bears, a group made up of Spector and two friends. "To Know Him Is To Love Him" became a number one best seller in the fall of 1958.
Spector decided that he liked the production more than the performing part of the business. In fact his stage fright was so great that he became physically ill before each Teddy Bear show.
Spector than approached independent record producers Lester Sill and Lee Hazlewood and persuaded them to teach him the business. Sill was a successful record promoter/producer/label owner who was currently working with Duane Eddy. Spector moved into Sill's home sharing a room with his son. Often he went with Sill to Phoenix where Eddy's sessions were produced at Hazlewood's Ramco Audio Studios. Now knowing how successful rock and roll records were made, Spector's job now was to come up with new talent. The first sessions produced a few usable songs by the Spector's Three, a studio group put together just for this session. They were released on Sill's Trey label and weren't successful.
His initial recordings followed the foundations set by the Teddy Bears: keep it simple, keep it catchy. His first session outside his own circle was with Greg Connors, of which virtually nothing is known today. Next was Kell Osborne who also remains obscure.
Lee Hazlewood, Duane Eddy, and Lester Sill
It was at this time in 1960, Sill and Hazlewood sent Spector to New York, where he worked with Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller at 40 West 57th Street. Within a week, he had been introduced around the offices of Hill & Range Publishers, who published Leiber-Stoller songs. After a summer of session work, Hill & Range took Spector on as a songwriter-producer-recording engineer in October. His first client was Ray Peterson. Peterson who had a huge hit with "Tell Laura I Love Her" had just left RCA Victor, and his manager immediately started Dune Records and was looking for a producer. He became a staff producer for Dune Records and produced and the end result was "Corrine, Corina" that was almost as big a hit as "Tell Laura I Love Her."
In October, he worked with Leiber he co-writing and producing "Spanish Harlem, " a massive hit for Ben E. King. In the next few months he worked with Johnny Nash. Next were the Paris Sister's with "Be My Boy" which spent five weeks in the upper Top 100.