Phil Spector death: Darlene Love remembers ‘controlling’ music producer and convicted murderer who harmed career

Jacob Stolworthy
·2-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Darlene Love has said working with “controlling” Phil Spector was like “a bad marriage” in the wake of his death.

The revolutionary music producer and convicted killer, who was serving a jail sentence for murdering actor Lana Clarkson, died on Saturday (16 January), aged 81.

Spector’s death, which was confirmed by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, has stirred up mixed feelings about his legacy.

Love, who sang a number of Spector’s beloved hits, waded into the matter having been vocal about her struggles working with the figure in the past.

Spector downplayed Love’s involvement on many of the songs on which she sang, including The Crystals’ hit “He’s a Rebel”. He also used his power over copyright to prevent her from performing them in public, a move which ultimately harmed Love’s career.

Reflecting upon their working relationship to Variety, she said: “You know, the whole thing was like a bad marriage. It’s a marriage that was abusive – not just physically, but mentally. That’s what Phil was trying to do with me."

“The problem I have with Phil is that he wanted to control Darlene Love’s talent,” she continued. “If he couldn’t do that, he was going to do everything in his power to keep my talent from shining.”

It was because of this Love says she “had to actually work harder to get my name out there” when starting out as a solo artist.

Darlene Love ‘had to work harder’ after collaborating with ‘controlling’ Phil Spector Getty Images
Darlene Love ‘had to work harder’ after collaborating with ‘controlling’ Phil Spector Getty Images

She said she felt “very sad” after learning he had died, adding: “I didn’t think of hate. I didn’t think, ‘He deserved it or this should have happened.’ I just felt this was a sad way for him to leave this earth.”

Love said there was no doubt that Spector “changed the sound of rock ‘n’ roll”, saying that this sentiment is also shared by musicians including Bruce Springsteen and Elton John.

In 1993, Love successfully sued Spector for unpaid royalties. She recently made a cameo appearance in Netflix film The Christmas Chronicles Part II.

Spector was arrested and charged with second-degree murder in 2003 after Clarkson was found shot dead in his California home. Four women testified against him in court, all of whom recalled being threatened with a gun by the producer after they rejected his advances.

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