Releases that are in their very essence intended as tributes

As mentioned in Part 3: It Says Here…, SYMON AND PI's 'Sha La La La Lee' (Parlophone [UK] R 5662) was 'Arranged and Produced by Mark P. Wirtz as a tribute to Phil Spector'. Its walls of sound within walls of sound and dizzying string lines easily place the disc among the most over-the-top of all attempts to copy Phil's magical methods. A slightly different version of the recording appears (as by Elmer Hockett) on the CD 'The Fantastic Story Of Mark Wirtz And The Teenage Opera' (RPM [UK] 503).

'Christmas Message '91' by SHONEN KNIFE (Rockville 6075) is a combination spoof/homage sending up both the Beatles' and Phil Spector's Christmas messages. (See also Part 5: You Get the Picture? and Part 4: Free Samples)

'The Phil Spector Songbook' by MONDAY BLUES (Vault 133), released in 1970, holds the distinction of being the first 'tribute album' consisting entirely of Spector tunes.

1977's 'BIONIC GOLD' (Big Sound 001) is the second; this time, however, the songs are performed by various artists rather than by one group.

The 1998 CD 'Baby I Love You' by THE DELTA WALL OF SOUND (Delta Music [UK] 6127) consists of faithful renditions of Spector hits by (individually) uncredited studio artists. A CD identical in content and running order was issued in 2002 as 'Then He Kissed Me: A Tribute To Phil Spector - 20 Teenage Love Songs' (Platinum [UK] 797). This time, no one bothered to fabricate any artist credit at all.

The great CD 'WALLPAPER OF SOUND: THE SONGS OF PHIL SPECTOR AND THE BRILL BUILDING' (Castle-Sanctuary [UK] 615) comes close to being a Spector 'tribute album' in the modern sense, although it contains some non-Spector-related songs and consists of 'from the vaults' covers, not new, specially recorded versions. Click HERE to read my full review.

Unfortunately comprising only four tracks, MOE TUCKER's CD EP 'Grl Grup' (Lakeshore Drive 2001) is made up exclusively of Spector covers.

Released at least six times, each variation with new cover art and nomenclature - as well as an anomalous assortment of artist credit (or lack thereof) - is a 16-track soundalike collection including all 13 of the Philles Christmas album's songs. The original running order is interrupted in three places by additional selections ('Jingle Bell Rock', 'Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!' and 'Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree'), also recorded in a Wall Of Sound style. The first release, 1997's 'Christmas Wall Of Sound: A Tribute To Phil Spector' (no artist credited), Hallmark [UK] 308242, is identical in content to all subsequent iterations, including 'Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree' from 1998 (Laserlight [UK] 21 306), which names THE DELTA WALL OF SOUND as the responsible party.

Because their packaging emulates that of the original Philles Christmas LP, the 2000 and 2002 reissues of the CD are depicted in Part 5: You Get The Picture? The other two known variations are shown at left. Above is 'A Girl Group Christmas' as by THE JINGLE BELLES, released in 1999 on Castle Pie [UK] 102. The 2003 repackaging sees the artists return to anonymity once again with 'Christmas The Phil Spector Way', K-Tel [UK] 3854.

In a similar vein is 'Spectacular Christmas Party: 32 Songs Produced In The Classic Phil Spector Style', by JIVE BUNNY AND THE MASTERMIXERS (Music Factory [UK] 009). Since its 1998 release, the CD has been reissued on a number of labels, with various permutations on the original title and with different cover art, but the original release is the only one that mentions the Spector connection in its packaging.

If 'Hang On' (Big Bird 127/Tower 363) was merely a fantastic Righteous Brothers/Phil Spector soundalike, it would not qualify for inclusion in this article, but since the artist credit goes to THE WALL OF SOUND, it does.

2003 finally saw the release of the first legal compilation of recordings copping the Spector sound. Titled 'PHIL'S SPECTRE: A WALL OF SOUNDALIKES', the CD was released on [UK] Ace 978. Click HERE to read my Spectropop review.

The Broadway musical 'LEADER OF THE PACK', based on Ellie Greenwich's life story, features a very, ahem, Phil Spector-like character named Gus Sharkey. On the original cast album (Elektra 9 60409), Gus (played by Dennis Bailey) says, 'I need a new tune for The Ronettes...something as hot as 'Be My Baby'. We then hear the thundering introduction to 'Baby I Love You', over which Gus shouts, 'I love it! I love it! That's it! More echo! Press it! Release it!'

Joel Millner, as portrayed by JOHN TURTURRO in the film 'Grace Of My Heart', is a record producer based transparently on Phil. Other characters in the movie are just as obviously adapted from Brian Wilson, Carole King, Little Eva, and Lesley Gore.

On a split single called 'BOOGIE MAN SMASH & THE REVELLERS Do the Ronettes', Inbred Recording Company 1004, the former band covers 'Be My Baby' and the latter 'Baby I Love You'. (See also Part 3, It Says Here)


[ Contents ]
[ Part 1 ]
[ Part 2 ]
[ Part 3 ]
[ Part 4 ]
[ Part 5 ]
[ Part 6 ]
[ Part 7 ]
[ Part 8 ]