06 June 2009

Phil Spector on murder in 1960 . . .

Posted by at 4:41 PM Read our previous post

I came across the text of the speech that Phil Spector delivered on the occasion of the induction of Doc Pomus into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In an attempt to illustrate the kind of Person that Pomus was, Spector tells an anecdote which I found strangely ironic in light of his recent conviction for the murder of his former would-be lover:

So you can better understand the Doc Pomus I knew, I'll tell you a short story about me and Doc that occurred soon after I met him in 1960. While I know this is not a serious way to start this, I know he would not mind if I shared it with you [...]. I lived in New York and Doc used to call me up on the telephone. He befriended me and took me in; he would invite me to dinner and he'd take me to Joe Marsh's Spindletop. Now, Joe Marsh was an alleged, you know, an alleged, an alleged, an alleged—but I don't know. Doc would say to me, "I'll buy you a steak. C'mon." So I would go down to this restaurant for the finest meal in the world and conversation and memories that were lovely. His wife at that time was working in Fiorella's; she was a big star on Broadway. One day, we're sitting there eating and I don't know, but out of the corner of my eye I saw something happen—I thought it took five hours, but it took like a second—a guy in a raincoat walks in with a hat, walks in and goes up to a guy and BOOM BOOM BOOM, three booms in the head and the guy slumps over dead, just like that. I mean I couldn't believe it. I'd never seen a murder, an execution in a restaurant. When Doc called me up the next time, I told him, "I can't go back in that place ever." And Doc says, "What's the matter, babe?" "There was a murder! In the Spindletop Restaurant." I came from Los Angeles and I was born In New York, but I'm telling you... and the scene was ten years before the Godfather! So Doc says, "You gotta understand something, babe. You see life is up and down, up and down." I said, "What does up and down have to do with it? A man got murdered." He said, "The place is incredible, right, the salads, I mean how about the service in that restaurant? You have to look at the up side." I said, "I don't get it, I don't get it at all, a man got murdered, man, his brains were splattered all over." He said, "you're looking through those funny glasses, babe, you gotta see things on the upside, up up up." I said, "I don't see anything up about about a man being murdered. I don't see anything up and I don't know what it has to do with the murder. How do you explain anything that has to do with the murder." "Well the murder—that's the down side of the restaurant, you understand, the down side."

As I said before, I met Doc in 1960. He befriended me at that time. While he was alive, he was the light of my life. Now that he's gone that light has gone out. His passing has made me realize much I don't understand. See, I know that love comes from the heart, but I have no idea where love goes when the heart dies. Nor do I know what it is within the heart that breaks so badly that it's impossible to repair.

Pomus was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1992 (Spector himself was inducted in 1989).




  1. That is a chilling and remarkable speech. That quote about "...ten years before The Godfather...", wow. Doc sounds straight out of a movie, fiction. Wonder how long 'till Spector's own Godfatheresque movie comes out...

  2. Spector did not "kill his former lover." Lana Clarkson and Phil Spector did not know each other before.

    I attended both of Spector's murder trials and reported the daily testimony.

    Lana Clarkson had never met Phil Spector before he showed up that fateful night at the Sunset Blvd., HOUSE OF BLUES, where she was working as security/hostess for the VIP room, and exclusive club within the restaurant.

    Several witnesses testified that when Spector arrived, Lana did not recognize him. Even after being introduced to him, she called him "Mrs. Spector" because he was wearing a ladies white wool jacket and the curly long haired wig.

  3. Please check your information before printing incorrect facts. Those of us that have followed the case for many years are put off by bad facts. Lana Clarkson had met Phil Spector only a few hours before he killed her. They were not lovers! This careless attitude only shows a lack of care for the victim.

  4. Sprocket and Fearless:

    I stand corrected. Thanks.

    The fact is that I don't really care about the case at all. I just thought it was a noteworthy irony to highlight in his speech.
    When heroes go down, they go down hard.

    Whoever Ms Clarkson was, may she rest in peace.



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