Phil Spector: BBC apologises for calling murderer ‘talented but flawed’

Chiara Giordano
·2-min read
The BBC has apologised after describing convicted murder Phil Spector as “talented but flawed” (AP)
The BBC has apologised after describing convicted murder Phil Spector as “talented but flawed” (AP)

The BBC has apologised over a headline describing Phil Spector, who died in prison while serving a murder sentence, as "talented but flawed".

The broadcaster admitted the headline on a breaking news story reporting the former music producer’s death “did not meet our editorial standards”.

It confirmed it had received complaints about the headline following the death of the 81-year-old from natural causes on 16 January.

At the time of his death, Spector was serving a minimum 19-year prison term for the murder of actress Lana Clarkson.

The 40-year-old, known for starring in films including Barbarian Queen, died of a gunshot fired into her mouth while she was in Spector's mansion on the outskirts of Los Angeles in 2003.

In a magazine interview, Spector claimed she had "kissed the gun" before pulling the trigger herself, however a jury unanimously agreed he had murdered the actress.

A statement from the BBC said: "The breaking news story on Phil Spector's death was published with a headline that did not meet our editorial standards.

"This was changed within minutes and we also deleted a tweet that had gone out automatically with the original headline. We apologise for this error.

"Our coverage of the story across BBC News has been clear that Phil Spector was convicted of the murder of Lana Clarkson and had a long history of violence and abuse."

Phil Spector appears during his trial at the Los Angeles Superior Court in May 2005AP
Phil Spector appears during his trial at the Los Angeles Superior Court in May 2005AP

His former wife Ronnie Spector, whose music he produced when she was in The Ronettes, claimed in a memoir that he would keep her prisoner in his mansion and threatened to kill her.

Writing on Instagram after his death, she said he was "a brilliant producer, but a lousy husband".

She added: "Unfortunately Phil was not able to live and function outside of the recording studio. Darkness set in, many lives were damaged."

Spector, who was born in The Bronx, New York, made his name as a record producer for what became known as the "wall of sound" recording technique, with its dense, layered effect.

When he was just 17 years old and performing with the Teddy Bears, Spector had a top 10 hit in the US with “To Know Him Is To Love Him”.

However, he was best known for his role as a producer, working with some of the biggest stars in music, including John Lennon, whose 1971 hit “Imagine” he produced.

Ike and Tina Turner, The Ronettes, The Righteous Brothers, Cher, Bruce Springsteen and The Beatles all also worked with the producer.

Spector produced Let It Be, The Beatles' final album, which was released in 1970.

Additional reporting by PA

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