Phil Spector was a monster.
There is no disputing that.
Yes, Spector had mental health issues.
But Spector was aware of those issues.
And they do not excuse the fact that he was a murderer and an abuser.
Did he revolutionize music?
But it does not change the fact that he was a monster.
Many great artists are or were.
You don’t have to look far for examples.
They are legion.
Some people can separate the art from the artist.
I do that for a few.
But generally, it is for artists who have long since passed away.
Not for artists who are living, which Spector was until this past weekend.
Much of what Spector did, the stories of him holding a gun to the neck of Leonard Cohen for example, seems to have been looked at as eccentricity.
The kind of weirdness that embellishes a rock and roll legend.
But such acts are the acts of a monster.
As was his abuse of Ronnie Spector.
As was the murder of Lana Clarkson.
There were signs all along that he was not an eccentric, but a monster.
Should you engage with his art?
That’s up to you.
There is an argument that has been made that cancelling all the work he was involved with essentially sidelines women such as Ronnie Spector and Darlene Love, and that we choose to listen to his compsitions or recordings, it should to celebrate their talents, not his.
I get that.
Apart from one song on his Christmas album, I haven’t engaged with any of his art for a very long time.
And I have little inclination or interest in changing that.
My hope is that we look at his life and use that as encouragement to look critically at our artists and their actions, and maybe not separate the art from the artist, or at least think about why we do that.
And at the very least we stop looking at the monstrous acts of people like Spector as eccentricities that add to their mystique.
That needs to end.