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Posted at 10:43 AM ET, 05/ 1/2007

Celebritology 101: Phil Spector's Dreadful Locks

By Liz Kelly

Phil Spector is seen in court via closed circuit TV on April 26. Gallery: Spector's Hair Through the Years

Forget Sanjaya's fauxhawk or Britney's shaved pate. When it comes to harebrained hairstyles, Phil Spector lays the competition to waste. Whether supporting a globe-like 'fro or a demure pageboy, the legendary rock and roll producer has proven that a little dab will do you (if your aim is convincing the rest of the world that you are, indeed, "relatively insane.")

Which may be just the right cut if Spector's legal team decides to mount an insanity defense in his trial for the alleged murder of B-movie actress Lana Clarkson in 2003. The much-postponed court proceedings finally got underway last Wednesday in Los Angeles, though a sick lawyer has delayed the case for at least today.

Peruse this gallery of Spector's hair over the years, from '60's mod to new millennial oddball, then head over to Radar Online for a brief spin through 50 Years of Phil Spector, a comprehensive history of the record producer's eccentricities -- from a black-belt security detail to the glass coffin he was rumored to have kept in his basement.

Extra Credit: Why Do I Care About Phil Spector?
Despite his legal woes, Spector's musical influence touched artists from Curtis Lee to Ike and Tina Turner to the Beatles. Below, a few highlights. (Complete Discography)

"To Know Him Is to Love Him," Teddy Bears
"Pretty Little Angel Eyes," Curtis Lee
He's a Rebel," Crystals
"Puddin N' Tain (Ask Me Again, I'll Tell You the Same)," Alley Cats
"Spanish Harlem,"
"Da Doo Ron Ron," Crystals
"Then He Kissed Me," Crystals
"Be My Baby," Ronettes
"You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'," Righteous Brothers
"Unchained Melody" Righteous Brothers
The Long and Winding Road," Beatles
"My Sweet Lord," George Harrison
"Jealous Guy," John Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band

By Liz Kelly  | May 1, 2007; 10:43 AM ET
Categories:  Celebritology 101  
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relatively insane? is that like being relatively pregnant? i don't know if he was crazy when he shot ms. clarkson but i'd say a few screws were loose when he was allowed out of the house with some of those hairdos. what we have is a clear case of not enough people in his life saying, "that's a really bad idea."

Posted by: methinks | May 1, 2007 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Spector is a musical genius but he lacks in all other areas.

Wonder what Ronnie Spector is thinking now?

Posted by: Bored @ work | May 1, 2007 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Add, to your WHY DO I CARE list...

"Imagine" and "Instant Karma" --John Lennon (as well as PLASTIC ONO BAND, considered to be Lennon's solo masterpiece)

"Rock and Roll High School" --the Ramones

"I Love How You Love Me" - the Paris Sisters

Musically, the guy stayed active to a point... but stopped producing after those sessions with the Ramones (early 80s). Joey Ramone's stories about Phil listening to the opening chord of "Rock and Roll High School" ("Over and over again, for hours. I don't know what he heard in it, but he was listening for something") and his story of Spector firing a gun into a studio toilet during their sessions say about all you need to know about the guy. He had a great ear but was always a little whacked.

Posted by: Brian | May 1, 2007 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Liz. I am now totally creeped out! That man will give me nightmares.
No disrespect for the deceased, but for god's sake, who would go home with this nut?
I wonder how much of all that hair was really his? Or some weird implant/hair extension.

Posted by: POS | May 1, 2007 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone else notice his wicked resemblance to Dana Carvey?

Posted by: Kelli | May 1, 2007 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Actually, Paul McCartney hated what Specter did to The Long & Winding Road.

By 1970, The Beatles were breaking up and and Phil Specter was brought in to go through the tapes and produce the album. The version that appears on Let It Be... Naked is more what McCartney had in mind.

Posted by: cab91 | May 1, 2007 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Is his hair real? I thought I read somewhere (maybe the AP) where they described it was a wig. Anyone know?

Posted by: k8 | May 1, 2007 11:55 AM | Report abuse

I may be showing my age but, Spector w/that frizzed out 'do reminded me of one of the Hair Bear Bunch.

Posted by: Bored @ work | May 1, 2007 12:01 PM | Report abuse

From many interviews I read over the years, everyone who worked with Phil either hated him or thought he was a nut job, but everyone admitted that the man had a passion and ear for music.

Posted by: Lisa1 | May 1, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse

(sarcastic tone) wow, that is one sexy man right there.....

Posted by: Anonymous | May 1, 2007 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Thank God for that (sarcastic tone) disclaimer! Otherwise we might have thought you were relatively insane.

Posted by: methinks | May 1, 2007 12:27 PM | Report abuse

He starts out ok but by picture 5, he's clearly lost it. I've read that he's married. How did that happen?

Posted by: petal | May 1, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Wow, that hair gallery is something. In those early photos, he's begging for a Martin Short parody.

And as for the earlier post about Ronnie Spector, I can only imagine she's thinking "Whoa oa oa oa oaoa!" (Sorry couldn't resist.)

Posted by: TD | May 1, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

So the most salient thing you can add to the MURDER TRIAL dilemma of powerful people thinking thay can do as they please and get away with it in your column of the Washington Post is talk about HAIR?


Please stop wasting the air you breathe.

Posted by: JBE | May 1, 2007 1:01 PM | Report abuse

OK Liz, I know the standards for the WP are sinking lower by the day, but really:

"sick lawyer" is a redundancy that I just can't overlook.

Posted by: SoMD | May 1, 2007 1:20 PM | Report abuse

I'm going to have nightmares tonite!

Posted by: Sharon | May 1, 2007 1:22 PM | Report abuse

I just keep looking at the pictures and wondering about today's producers. In another 30 years, will we be reading the same things about Timbaland or Kanye West?

Posted by: Ken | May 1, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

For Ken:

Kanye West:Yes
Swizz Beats:Yes
Scott Storch:No
JR Rotem:No
will i am:Yes

Posted by: Lisa1 | May 1, 2007 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Memo to "JBE" (if that is your real name):

1. Your use of the word "dilemma" is inappropriate. A dilemma describes a situation in which a person must choose one of two similarly unpleasant alternatives.

2. Ms. Kelly's blog is called "Celebritology"; the name implies the study of celebrity. Perhaps you were looking for the "Crime and Punishment" blog.

3. "[C]olumn of the Washington Post" is grammatically incorrect; "column in the Washington Post" would have been a better choice.

4. Mr. Spector does possess some relatively insane hair.

Now, if I give you a virtual quarter, will you go away and whine at the "On Faith" blog?

Yours in Celebritology,

Posted by: byoolin | May 1, 2007 2:06 PM | Report abuse

You go, byoolin!

All I could come up with was that he spelled it "thay."

Posted by: Margo | May 1, 2007 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Byoolin for the win!!

Posted by: Bored @ work | May 1, 2007 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Phil's #5 picture, aka Wall Of Hair, makes him look like some sort of root vegetable - a freshly pulled carrot perhaps. Or a dandelion, although that's not a vegetable.

Posted by: Cubeland, MD | May 1, 2007 2:31 PM | Report abuse

I'm really surprised he doesn't have any scary facial hair. And why didn't he ever go for dreadlocks? He's had everything else.
Also, does anyone else think he is wearing makeup and lipstick?

Posted by: POS | May 1, 2007 2:43 PM | Report abuse

What "creeps me out" is the fact that, with a young woman dead and a man's fate in the hands of a California jury (heaven help us all), the Wahington Post finds it appropriate to publish a harebrained twit's natterings about the defendant's hair.

Posted by: Audentes | May 1, 2007 2:48 PM | Report abuse

I am much distressed that I completely missed "thay". The other stuff had me so engrossed that I didn't even notice it until Margo pointed it out.

Posted by: byoolin | May 1, 2007 2:55 PM | Report abuse

I am also much distressed that I completely missed the post from JBE's companion in unbrage, Audentes.

I think I heard Che calling for both of you...

Posted by: byoolin | May 1, 2007 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Um R Kelly wrote a song for the VT students? Can we talk about how this makes me feel icky?

Posted by: diffnote | May 1, 2007 3:05 PM | Report abuse

I miss che! That was my daily dose of insane person.

And amen, byoolin. I read the whole W. Post, dead tree version, and listen to NPR (my husband says "obessesively") thus get my 'serious' news, and am deeply aware that horrible things happen every day and nothing is improving. In order not to OD/sink into a spiral of utter lack of hope and faith in humanity, I do not ONLY read and listen to the 'serious' news. It can get to be too much, very quickly.

So I fail to see how singing the praises of Mr. Spector's creative coiffures somehow diminishes the bad things in this world. Comedy has been written as long as tragedy has. People tell funny stories at wakes. Humanity cannot be 100& grim all the time (well, some can, but then they turn into Ralph Nader). We can weep and we can laugh.

oh and JBE, why the hell are you reading this blog? Unless you just come over here and post to shame all us shallow losers who read it regularly. Yes, I bet that is it. Or if you are somehow trying to kill this blog, write to the editors, not the dedicated readers. Are you expecting to kill it off by convincing the readers of the error of our ways, so we abandon Liz en masse? Well, sorry, no shame here. I wallow in my ability to gleefully read US AND The New Yorker. So there.

Posted by: Lily | May 1, 2007 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Does this guy not own a mirror? Or not have any real friends to tell him before he walks out of the house that he looks like a freak?

Posted by: Gr8ful | May 1, 2007 3:19 PM | Report abuse

and excuse me, calling Liz a "harebrained twit" is not only incredibly rude (you wouldn't do it to her face, would you? coward) but objectively wrong.

Posted by: Lily | May 1, 2007 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Whenever I see a picture of Specter, my first reaction is always: What does that little old lady have to do with this murder case?

Posted by: Barbara B. | May 1, 2007 3:28 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe how "actually" insane he looks in all those pictures. not good in terms of impressing the jury with your innocence. but I guess good in terms of impressing the jury with your craziness.

Can we please revise the Post's rules to read: "User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Also removed will be any comments that criticize posters to Celebritology, or Liz, for their inability to comprehend just how serious life is and how we must never be distracted from politics and war and death and must never, ever, ever smile or laugh or tell a joke."

Posted by: OD | May 1, 2007 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Phil, sadly, has been moving toward Howard Hughes territory for quite some time. Unlike Howard, though, Phil always has had something of a malicious streak.

Keep in mind that this is the producer who made a record, in 1963, called "He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss)."

Posted by: Brian | May 1, 2007 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Yes, yes, he's a genius. He also shocked NO ONE in the Industry when he got arrested. I was listening to some record producers and engineers talk a little while ago, and they told me all kinds of stories about Specter, including that he habitually carried a gun that he used to deal with problems like turning off a light that was bothering him.

Posted by: Kat | May 1, 2007 4:09 PM | Report abuse

R. Kelly??!! How'd HE get in here, lol

Posted by: Margo | May 1, 2007 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Lawyer jokes! So original! So funny!

Posted by: To SoMD | May 1, 2007 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Specter is and was a wack-job, no doubt about it, and the Ramones accused him of ruining every one of their songs that he touched - with the exception of "High School" - and I would say that little he did really ever meant anything to me...

Except there is that song "Death of a Ladies' Man" by Leonard Cohen - the haunting, strange stand-out of an otherwise forgettable albumn (which it was, when I first heard it in Sweden - on vinyl). Simply beautiful.

Posted by: Bogota | May 1, 2007 4:42 PM | Report abuse

I disagree. He was one of the greats. The records he made in the sixties were way ahead of their time in their instrumentation and the way he got that big sound. He did more with the tools at his disposal than any other record producer of his time, and the records ("Be My Baby," "You've Lost That Loving Feeling," "Walking In The Rain," the CHRISTMAS ALBUM etc) still sound great (still sound MODERN) over 40 years later.

He could STILL be one of the greats, but he was already kind of a fragile ego... and unlike one of his proteges (Brian Wilson) who turned his mental illness INWARD, Phil turned his OUTWARD. What happened with Lana Clarkson was "an accident that was waiting to happen" for a long, long time.

I'd say the Ramones' "Do You Remember Rock and Roll Radio" was the good new record I heard by him. I've never heard the Leonard Cohen disc and will have to hunt that down.

Posted by: Brian | May 1, 2007 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, Brian - misthought - wrote "High School" when I meant "Radio". And I would pretty much agree with what you've said - but not enthusiastically, I guess I mean. I think I meant that *would* dismiss him as irrelevant, and yet... there's always something I find that I like and ("ugh" almost) there's his name, attached to it.

Also I think it's in Mao-Maoing the Flack-Catchers, but Thos. Wolfe does a profile of (I'm fairly sure) Specter and the man's clearly insane - stopping the plane and getting off because the prop wash makes the water run "the wrong way" across the windows... Insane and yet others get off too because he just seems to *know* some things. Interesting guy - obsessively right about some things, and yet so obviously *off* on so many others.

Sad, really.

Posted by: Bogota | May 1, 2007 5:44 PM | Report abuse

And as I said, that Cohen album's a complete waste - except for that one song I can never quite get out of my head...

Posted by: Anonymous | May 1, 2007 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations for using your best efforts to turn a murder trial into a silly circus. It is not unusual for the media to be so irresponsible that it misreports matters or creates scandal where none exists. Whenever somebody is being tried it is imperative that the process is not harmed and that it is respected. It has to be a careful process which is respected by the community and the focus has to be on the evidence. I do not mind if you dispassionately report developments in the trial but I do ask that you do not by trivialise this matter and ridicule the defendant. If you were on trial I am sure that you would understand the ethics of good behaviour.

Posted by: Robert James | May 1, 2007 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations for using your best efforts to turn a murder trial into a silly circus. It is not unusual for the media to be so irresponsible that it misreports matters or creates scandal where none exists. Whenever somebody is being tried it is imperative that the process is not harmed and that it is respected. It has to be a careful process which is respected by the community and the focus has to be on the evidence. I do not mind if you dispassionately report developments in the trial but I do ask that you do not by trivialise this matter and ridicule the defendant. If you were on trial I am sure that you would understand the ethics of good behaviour.

Posted by: Robert James | May 1, 2007 7:59 PM | Report abuse

The people who come here solely to criticize the blog's lack of seriousness amaze me. What exactly is a column on celebrities supposed to write about in relation to a trial? Furthermore, unless this blog is your homepage (which considering your contempt for it is unlikely), it took some effort on your part to come here. You chose to find the column in the list of blogs, you chose to read the article, then you chose to comment. All that for something you despise?

As for me, I am the middle of law school finals. Reading about Phil Spector's hair is so much more interesting that trying to figure out if an agency action is entitled to Chevron or Skidmore deference or whether an exception to foreign sovereign immunity exists (two different courses).

Posted by: ep | May 1, 2007 8:29 PM | Report abuse

As a Spector juror who gets all of my information and forms all of her opinions from blogs and other material on the POST ONLINE, I applaud Robert James' comments above. One of the women in the jury pool kept saying "You know, it's all about that crazy HAIR" and another one kept rocking back and forth going "Beeee myyyyyy... beee myyyy--BE MAH LITTLE BEH-BEH!!!" and then walked away muttering "A rock and roll GENIUS could never commit such a heinous act." And the woman next to me said "Ha! Did you see that HAIR, honey?"

It is through diligent and vigilant citizenry like you and others who "keep the rest of us in line" that justice is served. Thank you. I mean that.

Posted by: Margo | May 2, 2007 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Those ridiculous anti-Liz comments are all from the same person. You don't have to be a forensic linguist to see the patterns.

Posted by: Kelli | May 2, 2007 9:34 AM | Report abuse

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