Dance the Screw

[photo of Phil Spector]Sometimes you do feel like there’s a rough karmic justice in the world, like when you consider the fates of the twin geniuses of 1960’s record production. The good twin, Brian Wilson, seems to have conquered most of his demons, is happily married, has a band that actually respects him, and finally finished Smile, which was far better than anyone dared hope.

And the evil twin, Phil Spector, is finally where he probably deserves, too; like Lex Luthor at the end of a Superman comic, he’s locked up to face justice.

Wilson, touchingly, swears there’s no way Spector is guilty; his logic seems to be how could the creator of the greatest album of all time be guilty of murder? Well, there were always signs.

[image of Dance the Screw record label]My favorite is this one. Spector drove his partner, Lester Sill, out of the label they had formed for a pittance — Sill was entitled to far more money but he took Spector’s lowball offer just so he wouldn’t have to deal with him ever again. But Spector wasn’t satisfied with just victory; he had to twist the knife for that extra thrill. He found a session piano player and dragged the Crystals into the studio on a Saturday to cut this minimalist gem; “Ha ha, fuck you” set to music. Maybe it’s just me, but there’s something rather creepy and haunting about this, even aside from the context; like a nightmare about sounds coming from a cave.

I haven’t been able to find “Part II”, but you probably will get the idea from this.