Baseball, Apple Pie and Phil Spector
By Geary Kaczorowski
I know the baseball season has begun and I’d really like to be watching a game tonight, but BBC America is showing a program about Phil Spector. How can you pass that up? He’s a musical genius, a bizarre troll who’s undoubtedly one of the greatest rock and roll producers ever, and a convicted killer. Come on, that’s as American as apple pie and baseball.
I’m ready for the 2013 Major League season and excited about both the Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox. I’m primed for a season filled with drama and suspense, a season of surprises and disappointment. Not necessarily just from my two favorite teams, but from the whole AL and NL.
But right now baseball is taking a back seat to Phil Spector. There’s only one problem with “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Phil Spector,” besides its title, and that is the tiny text they display across the bottom of the screen. They’ll be showing courtroom footage from his murder trial while playing one of his great records and they’ll be flashing critiques of his work in a font size too small to read. And they don’t leave the words on the screen long enough to read them through.
The various vignettes of footage the filmmakers have interspersed though are great. It’s old footage of the artists Phil worked with over the years as he helped craft hit songs for them, as well as footage of Phil himself over the years. And there’s an interview with Phil too that I think was filmed probably years before his conviction.
It’s all fascinating and if you’re any kind of music fan well worth watching. The best part of the documentary for me was when Phil was talking about Tony Bennett being a cokehead in the ‘60s. This was news to me, even though if I’d read Tony Bennett’s Wiki-pedia entry I would have known that Tony overdosed on coke in 1979. But I love it when people dish the dirt. It seems like Phil’s got a real hard-on for Tony Bennett though as he rags on him later on in the broadcast.
This documentary about Phil Spector is one of the few things that can take me away from baseball. That and the fact that both the Red Sox and Tigers weren’t playing tonight and I can’t afford the baseball package with my satellite service so there aren’t any games on TV that I can watch.
What’s all this got to do with baseball you may ask? Indeed what does it have to do with baseball? It’s only the second or third day of the season so it’s just getting going. I’m still on basketball and hockey, though I’m glad the baseball season has begun. We need baseball, like we need apple pie and maniacs like Phil Spector.