Power Pickers
of the '60's

Musicians of the Flower Generation


Me and Phil Spector? We Were Just Like This :-/ (-:

I knew Phil Spector. He was head cheerleader in the late ‘Fifties at my school, Fairfax High, in L.A., and rode on the bus with the jocks for away games and meets. I ran track ( See Junior Olympics photo with me in upper left corner.  It has nothing to do with this piece, but if you leave a comment you’ll get a free POWER-PICKERS  flatpick.)

Spector was considered a little weird even then, but reasonably so, whatever that means. I think it means he wasn’t a benny, the word we used for nerd, but he didn’t really fit into the stratified and judgemental social scene at the mostly Jewish school. He probably didn’t want to.

We knew he was doing something kind of important, especially after he wrote and recorded the hit single, “To Know Him is to Love Him,” with the Teddybears, a group comprised of him and three other Fairfax High student-performers.  But for some reason this didn’t translate into popularity for him. But, again, I don’t think that was the kind of recognition he craved.

When I looked back on his and my high school days a few years after I graduated, I realized he was ahead of us in so many ways we just couldn’t wrap ourselves around them all, let alone see ourselves doing them.

Come on: you’re into a sexy career and lifestyle before you graduate from high school? You’re hanging out with other creatively talented-and older-Industry types and making serious bucks while other guys your age are delivering groceries? A Jewish boy from Hollywood playing a Fender Telecaster, professionally!, in 1958,  a year before his graduation and at least five years before Eric Clapton and Jerry Garcia?  Was this the kind of life any of us saw ourselves leading, even in our zone-of-the-barely-possible daydreaming, let alone within our power to make happen? It certainly wasn’t in mine.

All of this said, I have to tell you that a lot of people found something about Spector a little disconcerting, not only for the reasons above, but also for a certain unwholesomeness he projected, and maybe wanted to project. He may have even started some of the rumors about himself, even though that’s what most of them probably were, i.e., rumors.

But one tale seemed to stand out from the rest. This was the one that had him cram two friends into a closet to watch and, reportedly, take pictures of him and his girlfriend, sweating naked and banging away in his bedroom while his parents were out.

Somehow, this rumor and putative photo got out, and, God knows why, swept up the Fairfax High gossip charts like #1With a Bullet! But not before the lovebirds broke up and D____ started going with S___, a club brother of mine.

When S___, a tackle on the varsity football team, heard about it and confronted one of the alleged watchers, the legitimately frightened kid threw Spector under the bus without missing a heartbeat. S___ went berserkers and threatened to beat Spector with one of his size 14 cleats.

At the end of day, though, it was still a rumor, the photographic evidence had mysteriously disappeared, and my friend had nothing tangible with which to drill Spector into the ground, and the matter was grudgingly dropped. But…

Spector never disputed the rumor. That should mean something, shouldn’t it? But what? Did he do it and was proud of it? If so, wouldn’t he have wanted to go into the witness protection program to avoid being hammered by S___? On the other hand, a correlate of the rumor had Spector tied to guys without necks who would have been happy to discourage even an All-City lineman from cleaning Spector’s musical clock.

Or did he not do it but wanted people to think he did, whether he had discouragers or not? Was the rumor credible? If it was a rumor, did he start it himslf? Was he presenting already with a behavioral Weltenschaum that has led him into the very big doghouse he’s in today?

How should I know? So if I once held his megaphone while he tied his shoes, does that make me some expert on the guy? You keep up with news, you decide. I’m just saying.

For a free POWER-PICKERS flatpick with certification number and Certificate of  Ethnicity, leave a comment. How hard is that?

Thanks from Country Al

  1. Bob Glogow Says:

    Al, you’re a little fuzzy on your facts. There were only two others in the Teddy Bears with Phil, M & A. Also, Phil took photos of D in the nude and showed them around. Since everyone was so straight-laced in those days, he was considered very sleazy for doing so. Getting such photos developed back then was a big deal. While D might have been embarrassed by the photos, she was immortalized for the tune Phil wrote and titled using her first name. The person who ultimately recorded it, and turned it into a hit, was not Phil.

    I don’t use straight picks, but send me one anyway.


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