Phil Spector “Baby I love you” and “Mountain High”
Every producer has a unique style that when the listener hears the song, they can often tell who produced it based off of the producer’s previous work. For example, one of the greatest producers ever, Dr. Dre has a very distinctive style in his songs. Often with Dre’s work, the song’s beat will start about fifteen seconds before the actual artist starts performing their verse, just to highlight the instrumental, also the beat will have very catchy rhythms that’ll stick in your head, which you can hum along to because the instrumental is so simple. When it comes to the producer Phil Spector this is no exception. Spector was an outstanding producer who took over the 1960’s. His music style and technique were totally innovative for its time. While listening to the music he produced, I Instantly noticed how much effort seemed to be going into the instrumentals, there was certainly a lot going on when it came to the instruments in both “baby I love you”, by the Ronettes and “mountain high”, by Ike and Tina Turner. Not only were there many different instruments, but their sounds were blended together, this technique was actually invented by Phil Spector himself, and it’s called the “wall of sound”. Spector would also double his instruments, which means that he would have two instruments play the same sound at the same time to thicken the overall sound of the particular instrument. Although he used a plethora of instruments, the sound would often come out smooth and relaxing. In my opinion the sound of the instruments, although being smooth sounding, seemed to borderline mask the voice of the artist and would almost overshadow them. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, in fact the artist’s voice and the sound of the instruments actually sounded like they were one due to the equal pitch of the instruments and the artist’s voice and the fact that their rhythms lined up evenly.
It was said that Phil Spector frequently referred to his work as “teenage symphonies”, this was a spot-on description of his work and its feel. Spector’s work was very unusual for it’s time, but I believe that was the most attractive to his audience. Two songs that I believe truly highlight the technique of his work are “baby I love you”, by the Ronettes and “mountain high”, by Ike and Tina Turner. The instruments go as the artists go in both songs. In “Baby I love you” as they go “Whoa-oh, whoa-oh oh oh” the instruments halt and match the rhythm of the singers. This confirms what I mentioned earlier about the artists and the instruments being one. You could hear a class of instruments in “Baby I love you” including the drums, and I believe the tambourine playing at the same melody, this is typical Spector fashion.
J.d. The Pop History Dig, 18 Jan. 2010, www.pophistorydig.com/topics/tag/baby-i-love-you-song/.
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