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"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

Friday, January 24, 2014

Echoes of the Spectorian Era, Vol. 1: Wrecking Crew Builds a Wall of Sound!












Phil Spector was the architect of the Wall of Sound,
a recording studio methodology that typically buried
the lead vocals deep in the mix beneath dense layers
of orchestration. Spectorian touches included double
tracked vocals, groups of musicians playing identical
instruments in unison, girl group backing singers,
clacking castanets and use of an echo chamber
 at Hollywood's Gold Star Studios.

Spector turned his Philles record label into a
hit making assembly line, using his ground-
breaking Wall of Sound studio techniques
to produce records for his roster of artists
which included the Righteous Brothers,
the Crystals, Darlene Love, Bob B. Soxx
 and the Blue Jeans and the Ronettes.


Please take a couple minutes and watch
this magnificent video which uses rare footage
from ten Ronettes performances of the mid 60s
as they sing "You, Baby," a song from their first
and only studio album released late in 1964.
If your grandchildren ever ask you what was
so great about the 60s, play this clip for them.
Maybe then they'll understand what we had.





 "You, Baby" - The Ronettes 
 (from November 1964 album Presenting 
 the Fabulous Ronettes Featuring Veronica



If I had to pick the grooviest record of the year,
this would be it. "Gonna Make Him My Baby"
 is a smashing girl group sound by April Young,
a little known singer who shoulda been a star.
The 45, produced by Jerry Ross, is a prime
example of the East Coast Wall-of-Sound
that imitated what Phil Spector was
doing in his studio on the West Coast.

"Gonna Make Him My Baby"

Released in the spring of 1965, April's super cool
record somehow missed the the national chart, but
it spread like wildfire up and down the East Coast.

#27 on WARM

#36 on WSBA

#53 on WMCA
New York City

#3 on Portugal's list of the
Top 10 Girlpop/Girlgroup
Songs of the 60's


"Gonna Make Him My Baby," went top 20 in
Philadelphia. In the words of Jerry Ross who,
incidentally, fell in love with and married the
lovely April Young, the record made April
the "Daughter of Wibbage-land"
on the AM radio giant WIBG.

Listen to one of the most exciting records ever -
girl pop, girl group or any other category -
the big, bold, husky voice of April Young
sounding a lot like Cher Bono at her soulful
best engulfed in a towering wave of sound!

 "Gonna Make Him My Baby" - April Young 
 (June 1965, uncharted nationally, 
 #36 on WSBA Lancaster/York/Harrisburg) 



I'd like you to hear a rare clip of the
Wall-of Sound being built (ironically) by
The Wrecking Crew, one of the most
successful groups of studio session
musicians in popular music history.
The following video takes you inside
Hollywood's Gold Star Studio as
Phil Spector and The Wrecking Crew
produce one of Spector's greatest hits.
The song was written by Barry Mann and
Cynthia Weil along with Spector and the
recording is listed by BMI as the most
played record on radio and television
during the 20th century!

Listen to the sound of history in the making
at a pivotal point in time, the birth of a new
type of soul music called "Spector Soul," a
term coined by music scholar Dan Hodges.
It's November 1964 and Phil Spector and
The Wrecking Crew are laying down the
rhythm track for the Righteous Brothers'
epic hit "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'."

Start at the 45 second mark of the video. 
If this doesn't give you chills and fever,
you weren't around in the Sixties.

So ubiquitous was Phil Spector's Wall of Sound
that other producers flocked to the studios,
cranked up the reverb and tried to imitate
the popular Spectorian style.  Like that
April Young platter, many of these
so-called Spector Soundalikes or
Wall of Soundalikes were great
records and I have collected
them for you in this series.


Two pairs of brothers met at the University of
Michigan-Ann Arbor and formed a pop vocal
group called The Arbors. The group is best
known for the minor hit "A Symphony For
Susan" and their biggest hit, a soft pop 
interpretation of the Box Tops #1 hit
"The Letter" which reached the top 20.

In early 1967 the Arbors Spectorized their sound 
and Bubbled Under the Hot 100 with the release
of the Chip Taylor - Trade Martin composition 
"Just Let It Happen."

 "Just Let It Happen" - The Arbors 
 (February 1967, highest chart position #113) 


Rockabilly, country and pop singing star Brenda Lee
waxed a Spectorian ballad in Nashville in 1965.
"If You Don't (Not Like You)" is the obscure
B side of her top 40 hit "Rusty Bells."

 "If You Don't (Not Like You)" - Brenda Lee 
 (October 1965, B Side of "Rusty Bells") 


Like Brenda Lee, pretty Jody Miller was a successful crossover recording artist. Phoenix born and Oklahoma raised, Jody recorded in a heavily country influenced pop style. Jody is best known for her signature hit "Queen of the House," an answer to Roger Miller's "King of the Road." Listen
to the sheer power of Jody's performance as she performs "Magic Town," a Barry Mann - Cynthia Weil song that Bubbled Under for Jody at Christmas 1965 and brushed the top 20 for the Vogues three months later.

 "Magic Town" - Jody Miller 
 (Dec. 1965, highest chart position #125) 

 I'll have more Spectorian splendor 

 coming up in Part 2 so stick around! 

Have a Shady day!


  1. Your country roots are showing! :) Now that Phil Spector was something in his heyday, wasn't he? How someone so incredibly talented could descend to the levels he did is mind boggling. Loved the Spectorian splendor today, my friend, and looking forward to Part 2. Stay warm!

    1. Thank you, Shelly! In this 17-volume series spanning two full years, I will avoid discussing Spector's personal issues and focus on his achievements as a record producer. Spector's success with the Wall of Sound had a ripple effect, influencing recording methods used by other producers and artists in the Sixties and beyond. There's a ton of great Spector and Spectoresque material and I'm excited about presenting it to you.

      It's cold and blustery today in Central Florida. I hope it's nicer in your part of Texas.

      Thank you very much for stopping by, dear friend Shelly. Have a wonderful Friday and a safe and happy weekend!

  2. Unfortunately I'm having internet issues on my end so I wasn't able to listen to the songs. However, your descriptions definitely have me wanting to do some independent research!

    1. Hi, Ashton! Sorry you're experiencing technical difficulties, dear friend. I hope you soon get them resolved and have a chance to experience Spectorian Splendor. In the meantime, the words and pictures alone will give you an idea of how cool it was the mid 60s when the Great Wall was built.

      Thank you very much for your visit and comment, dear Ashton, and have a super weekend!

  3. It's a shame that Phil is so creepy. I love The Righteous Brothers. Very interesting to hear the work on You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'.


    1. Hi, Janie! I have a background in producing and it gives me goose bumps to listen to Spector and The Wrecking Crew hammering out what was to become the #1 recording of the 20th century in terms of radio and TV exposure. If you love Bill & Bobby then stick with me for this 17 part series because I'll be featuring many of their great Philles and Verve recordings.

      Thank you very much for coming, dear friend Janie. Love & hugs and have a safe and happy weekend!

  4. Loved that music track to "That Lovin' Feeling!" I actually listened to it a few times, and finally just gave in and sang along with it. It was awesome.

    1. Hi, karen! Spector was a perfectionist. He worked tirelessly on his studio productions. He knew a hit when he heard it. I can only imagine how it felt to take the song written by Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil and Phil himself and lay down that music bed for it. Surely Spector could smell another hit in the making but how could he have known it would be the most played record of the century?

      Thank you very much for your visit and comment, dear friend karen. Have a great weekend!

  5. I'm brushing off my go-go boots and ratting up my hair to fit in with this cool post. Loved the tracks and I love the R brothers and hearing this mix was really interesting. Hearing and seeing these videos always takes me back in time and I love that! I wasn't familiar with Jody Miller and I think her voice is powerful and really doesn't fit that sweet little face! Have a great weekend..hopefully yours is warmer than mine! (and less snowy!)

    1. Hi, YaYa! I'm very happy to see you, dear friend. Thanks for coming over and helping me kick-off this two year series on the Spector Sound. It amazes me how pervasive the Wall-of-Sound production style was in the early and mid 60s. Spector and other producers were using it on the West Coast and producers like Jerry Ross and Madara & White were using it on the East Coast. Solo artists, vocal groups and bands adopted it for their recordings. Even country artists like Brenda Lee and Jody Miller experimented with it. I agree that Jody Miller's powerful pipes don't match her sweet petite face, but that's her alright. Copy and paste this link and watch Jody in color in her Scopitone film:

      Thank you very much for visiting, dear friend YaYa. Please bundle up when you take Eddy out for a potty break in the Creepy Woods. Talk to you soon, dear friend!

  6. Gosh Shadikins, ambitious or what?! A whole two year series being prepared for us. Let's hope we'll both be around to see it through. LOL!! I just love, love, love the Phil Spector sound. Really enjoyed listening to your Pick of the Pops today. My favourites were The Ronettes and The Righteous Brothers. What a series this is going to be! Sorry I'm late AGAIN! By the way, how is Margaret doing my friend. Smooches.

    1. Hallo, dear Thisisme, and thanks for being here at the start of my gigantic two year Spector Spectacular! It's a good thing you like the Spectorian sound or I'd be in trouble. This series started as one or two posts, but the more research I did the more great recordings I found. That Ronettes video brings me to tears with its nostalgic look at the way we were, and that music bed for "Lovin' Feelin'" has the same effect on me. I'm glad you like them, too.

      The last I heard about Margaret (yesterday) was that she is continuing to recover from her hip fracture and surgery, is still in rehab but hopes to return to her comfy home in a week or two. Thank you for your continued interest and prayers for our dear friend Margaret and daughter Kathleen.

      Thank you very much for coming, dear friend Thisisme. Hugs and smooches, good night and have a wonderful Sunday!

    2. Kathleen Mae SchneiderJanuary 25, 2014 at 5:41 PM

      Mother's face lights up whenever I tell her about all the people who love her that are sending their prayers for her recovery from this latest injury. Now I can tell her that "nice lady", as she refers to you, in England also is praying for her.

      Mother is amazing all her nurses, aides and therapists with her spirit and determination, and are charmed by her compliance as she works through her pain to get strong enough to come home. When her PT asked her the other day about walking 10 more feet after an already rigorous session of therapy, she replied, "What choice do I have?"

      Thanks again for remembering Mother and sending healing thoughts her way. It helps to keep hope strong.

    3. Leave it to Mother Margaret to have a snappy remark on the tip of her tongue. The Downton Dowager has nothing on her! :)

      We could all learn a great deal from your mother's courage and stoicism. Thank you for posting an update on her progress this evening, dear Kathleen. It is comforting to me and I know Thisisme will be happy to read it when she arises tomorrow morning.

      God bless!

    4. Dear Kathleen, yes I am continuing to pray for your mum and also yourself. Margaret really is so amazing and inspirational isn't she?? They don't make them like that any more , do they my friend. Please take care and tell her that the 'nice lady' often thinks about her, especially during this trial that she is going through.

  7. Yes, Shady, Phil was a musical genius, a weirdo, but a genius (I watched the HBO bio movie about him). I really love Ronnie's voice, the first time I ever heard her was on Eddie Money's hit , "Take Me Home Tonight". I'm sure I listened to WSBA in 1965, but I don't remember April Young's hit--of course I was only 5! I did love hearing the instrumental "Lovin feelin", that is one of my favorite songs! Love the words, too!

    I liked the Arbors, to me, they sounded a little like Climax (Precious & Few). I enjoyed Brenda Lee "If You Don't"--good words, too! As, for Jody Miller, as cute as she was, didn't like her voice as much.
    Looking forward to the next part/post of Spector.

    1. Hi, Toni! More often than not being a genius and a weirdo go hand in hand. Take me for instance... :)

      That Eddie Money video burned up the request lines at the music video station where I worked in the 80s and 90s. It was a great song and video and Ronnie still looked and sounded terrific in it. Thanks for bringing it up.

      Frankly, I don't remember ever hearing April Young on WSBA either and I was age 15. I discovered April's recordings for the first time this past year as I did my research. I think she sounds exactly like Cher and I wish Cher had also recorded this song. I could even imagine Sonny and Cher performing it as a rockin' duet.

      Glad you like the Arbors but I don't hear the similarity to Climax. My ear filters love the bold, husky voice of country crossover artist Jody Miller and I am really getting into her work. Sorry you didn't like her as much.

      Thank you very much for your comments this evening, dear friend Toni. Stay warm up there and I hope to see you back here on the blog soon. Have a happy Sunday!

  8. Great post Shady! I love the Phil Spector sound and I'm looking forward to part 2.

    1. Hi, Sarah! I remember you telling me you like the Spector sound. I'm so glad you caught my series launch and I hope you'll like the 16 remaining volumes. Thank you very much for your visit and comment, dear friend Sarah. Good night and have a wonderful week ahead!

  9. Shady,
    For an in-depth look at Phil Spector copy-cats as well as stories on the Wrecking Crew and The Man himself- Phil Spector - go to the most informative website in the world about these subjects and many more. I used to do a Phil Spector 6-hour Marathon on community radio KDHX 88.1.FM , St. Louis, Mo. and would give away six Phil Spector box sets his record company would send us each year. Keep up the good work.
    Beatle Bob

    1. Hi, Beatle Bob! I'm thrilled to have you over, my friend. It's an honor to meet a radio guy like you who appreciates what I'm trying to do with my blog.

      Yes indeed, I know about and have used it as a source for years. I agree that it's the #1 spot on the web for information about obscure artists and girl groups of the 60s, record moguls, producers and other industry insiders who contributed to the soundtrack of our youth. I remember with great fondness the golden years of AM top 40 radio and collected all the original Cruisin' albums when they were released circa 1970. If I'm not mistaken there is a movement afoot to bring back the authentic oldies radio format with live DJ's playing a much greater variety and tailoring playlists to their home cities like they did in the old days. I think the time is right to bring it back alive and I hope the movement catches on across the country.

      Hey, thank you very much for your visit and kind remarks, Beatle Bob. Your comments are always welcome and appreciated and I invite you to stick around and follow me. I think you'll enjoy yourself here and add tremendously to the dialogue. Have a nice day, my friend!

  10. Kathleen Mae SchneiderJanuary 28, 2014 at 7:02 AM

    Although I've never been involved in music production as you have, Tom, I can appreciate the creativity and unique sound that Phil Spector originated and perfected in songs like the ones in this post.

    It was sure different being able to isolate the rhythm track from "Lovin' Feeling". I of course found the song to be a perfect compliment to that final scene from "Top Gun" with Kelly McGillis anonymously dropping the coin into the juke box with a dejected Tom Cruise in the next room.

    I enjoyed hearing something different from Brenda Lee other than the hackneyed "Rockin' around the Christmas Tree". I wasn't familiar with Jody Miller or the Arbors, but found their songs took me back to a few prom nights and songs picked from the tabletop juke boxes in the Kutztown Diner.

    Thanks for this series you're starting. I have a feeling I'm going to learn a lot more about songs and an entire music genre I missed in the sixties.

    1. Hi, Kathleen! So nice of you to come, dear friend.

      Ha! You know how I love to play Six Degrees. As soon as you mentioned Kelly McGillis in Top Gun I immediately thought of Witness, the movie in which she co-starred with Harrison Ford a year earlier. As you know, filming locations for Witness included an Amish farm in Strasburg and other parts of Lancaster County including Intercourse.

      Yessum, I get tired of hearing the same top hits by Brenda Lee or any other artist. This series, indeed this blog, is dedicated to discovering great recordings, many of which are new to you and to me.

      I'm glad you appreciate the Spector Sound. There are 7 more volumes of the series this year and 9 next year, so please stick around.

      I hope this day finds you and mother Margaret both doing well. Our thoughts and prayers are with you both. Happy Tuesday and thank you very much for your visit and comments, dear friend Kathleen!

  11. I know I'm 4-5 days late, and that many dollars short too! I'm very sorry to have missed the session! And, what a session!

    So, what is Spector doing in prison? How does so much talent go awry later and just flub? He has been such an influence and what contributions he has made-he helped put pop/rock, soul and rock n roll on the map, didn't he?

    I just love Ronnie and the Ronnettes, and the video was great! I didn't know that song, but, who cares? The video is priceless! And, the session with the wrecking crew was fantastic! You can almost see them moving around, checking their instruments, turning pages of music, clearing their throats, and scratching their heads. Yes, would love to have been there. Of course we all swooned to the Righteous Bros.! I sure wish they were still giving us that great sound.

    So, Shady, glad I did make it FINALLY for your first volume, and hopefully I won't be so late for Vol ll! Just count me 'ON MY WAY"! lol! Great to see you. Have a fab week! ♫

    1. Hi, Suzanne (formerly known as Same Day Sadie) ! :) Heck, you're right on time, dear friend. I can throw the leftover pizza in the microwave and I also saved a bottle of Mango Snapple for you. :) I figured maybe this latest snow and ice storm K-O'd your power again. I hope not. Whatever the case I'm glad you made it over.

      I'm pleased to know that you enjoyed my Spectoresque selections. That Ronettes video is actually bits and pieces of ten different live performances. It brings it all back, doesn't it - the thrill of being young when all that great music was coming out?

      I wish you and I had been flies on the wall of Gold Star Studio when Phil and the Crew were wrapping their Wall-Of-Sound around the Righteous Brothers. History in the making indeed!

      Yessum, there's plenty more in store - 16 more volumes of the series. I guarantee there will be many recordings you never heard before. I also firmly believe you'll enjoy them.

      Thank you very much for swinging by, dear friend Suzanne. Keep warm, stay safe and I'll talk to you again soon!

  12. Hi Shadyy!!!
    I write so much today cause today a blogger nominated me to the Liebster award and I nominated YOU hahahahaha
    Do you wanna ask my questions??

    I love your post so cute Brenda Lee when she was a child...she have an incredible voice!

    Have a wonderful week dear!


    1. Hi, Paula! Yes, I proudly accept the Liebster Award from you! I am honored and I thank you very much for thinking of me. I will put together a post about it a.s.a.p. and link back to you. Thank you very much, dear friend!

  13. This series is going to be wonderful! I thought April Young's voice was terrific and different. Loved listening to the music from "You've Lost..." I love the 'wall of sound' it just made the songs much more enjoyable.''
    The Arbors had wonderful harmony and I always love Brenda Lee.

    I was sorry to hear about dear Margaret and she will be in my prayers also. I haven't been well lately, but that's okay. Love to all.

    1. Hi, Belle! How wonderful of you to stop by even when you aren't feeling well. I hope it's nothing serious and that you will bounce back soon. I care about you and so do Thisisme, Kathleen and many others. The latest news about Margaret is very good. She is gaining weight, perking up, acting more like herself and, barring unforeseen circumstances, will be discharged from the rehab facility and return home this Friday!

      I'm thrilled to know you enjoyed volume one of this Spector series, Belle, and April Young in particular. Can't you just picture Cher Bono singing "Gonna Make Him My Baby"? There is a sad twist to April's story, however. Her name was Young and she died young, succumbing to illness while still in her 40s.

      Thank you very much for your visit and comment, dear friend Belle. Please get well soon!

  14. I am familiar with the Phil Spector sound and I enjoyed this post very much. I look forward to more . Hugs!

    1. Well hi, Katie! I am delighted to see you and to learn that you are a fan of the Spector Sound if not the man himself. I promise you lots of great music in this series and I deeply appreciate your visit and comment. Enjoy the rest of your week, dear friend Katie!

  15. Love your blog - I can see it's gonna keep me busy on these wet days. Lot's to read and listen to, thankyou! xx

    1. Hello, Deb, and welcome to Shady Dell Music & Memories! I am very happy to have you as a follower and I promise to do my best to keep you entertained. You can always count on a warm, personalized reply whenever you're kind enough to visit.

      Thanks for the compliment, Deb. Have a good day, try to keep dry down there on the coast of Queensland, hug your dogs and please come back and see me soon!

  16. It's great to see your mention of Jody Miller's stunning version of "Magic Town." Steve Douglas also produced (as I am sure you know) Jody's hit version of the Mann-Weil tune "Home of the Brave." I know Jody very well, as I help with her "Jody Miller--Entertainer" Facebook page. I believe she is one of the greatest yet underrated vocal interpreters of her era. What an artist. Thanks for mentioning Jody Miller in your fascinating blog.


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