Da Doo Ron Ron: The Story of Phil Spector

Da Doo Ron Ron: The Story of Phil Spector

Da Doo Ron Ron: The Story of Phil Spector

directed by Binia Tymieniecka

starring Phil Spector, The Crystals, The Ronettes, Darleen Love, The Righteous Brothers, The Ramones

Channel Four Television and Charly Films

“Kick ’em when they’re down” is a long time Hollywood mantra, and it looks like Phil Spector gets his turn in the barrel this week. At age 69, he’s doing 19-to-life for second degree murder, and this rather unflattering 1982 documentary has been re-released by Charley Films. It’s an interesting time capsule, but it’s hard to separate fact from rancor in its collection of celebrity and has-been interviews.

Spector got into the music business working for Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, two songwriting geniuses with umpteen dozen hits to their names. While others wrote bigger hits, or more of them, or uncovered more talent, Spector was a master of publicity and it’s his name we remember when thinking of 1960s AM rock. While he could hear talent, it was his genius at recording and producing that made hits tuned to the tinny lo-fi AM radio sound popular in that decade. With upwards of 30 studio musicians backing his singers, he crammed them into little echo chambers and layered the resulting sounds to get a particularly rich effect. When his songs aired, they lept out of the speakers.

Archival footage of The Crystals, The Ronettes, The Righteous Brothers, and others highlight the film. The narration is tied together by Rodney Bingenheimer driving the filmmaker around LA, showing the sights from Gold Star Recording Studios to roller disco girls in the park. Interviews with the likes of Barbara Alston (lead singer of The Crystals), Al Goldsmith, and the Ramones paint Spector as a brutal but brilliant man, willing and able to exploit his discoveries. Leiber and Stoller seem impressed, the Ramones seem scared, and Al Goldsmith declares Spector’s music “the worst possible schlock ever recorded.” No one actually says anything nice about him personally, not even his ex-wife, Ronnie Spector.

This grainy yet fascinating look at Spector’s life is as positive a summing up of his life as you’ll see — the kinescopes of “Da Doo Ron Ron” are still thrilling, his discussing of whether “I met him on Sunday” or “I met him on a Monday” works better shows his obsessive attention to detail, and the only thing missing is a rebuttal from Spector. This is rock and roll history, juicy with gossip and sleaze. You couldn’t ask for more.

Phil Spector: www.philspector.comwww.TheConcertChannnel.euwww.CharleyFilms

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Southern Accents 55
    Southern Accents 55

    A woofin’ good time with cuts from Hank Williams, Muddy Waters, Delta Moon and more from KMRD 96.9, Madrid, New Mexico!

  • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

    Absurdism with a healthy dose of air conditioning.

  • Mixtape 172 :: My Old Bassist
    Mixtape 172 :: My Old Bassist

    Like pre-teens throwing every liquid into the kitchen blender and daring each other to drink the results, Woody and Jeremy fuse all manner of sounds legitimate and profane into some murky concoction that tastes surprisingly good.

  • Demons/Demons 2
    Demons/Demons 2

    Synapse Films reissues Lamberto Bava’s epic ’80s gore-filled movies Demons and Demons 2 in beautiful new editions.

  • Sylvie Courvoisier and Mary Halvorson
    Sylvie Courvoisier and Mary Halvorson

    Searching for the Disappearing Hour (Pyroclastic Records). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Payal Kapadia
    Payal Kapadia

    Earlier this year, director Payal Kapadia was awarded the Oeil d’or (Golden Eye) for best documentary at the 74th Cannes Film Festival for her debut feature, A Night of Knowing Nothing. Lily and Generoso interviewed Kapadia about her poignant film, which employs a hybrid-fiction technique to provide a personal view of the student protests that engulfed Indian colleges and universities during the previous decade.

  • Roger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella
    Roger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella

    A classic children’s tale re-imagined by America’s greatest composers.

  • Taraka

    Welcome to Paradise Lost (Rage Peace). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • AFI Fest 2021
    AFI Fest 2021

    The 2021 edition of the American Film Institute’s Festival, was a total success. After mounting a small virtual festival in 2020, AFI Fest came roaring back this year with a slate of 115 films representing over fifty countries. Lily and Generoso rank their favorite features from this year’s festival which include new offerings from Céline Sciamma, Miguel Gomes, and Jacques Audiard.

  • Comet Of Any Substance
    Comet Of Any Substance

    Full Of Seeds, Bursting With Its Own Corrections (COAS). Review by Carl F. Gauze.

From the Archives