The Philles record label existed for barely more than a half-dozen years — from late 1961 to early 1967 — but for the most part, it reflected legendary producer Phil Spector’s “wall of sound.”
The label — named after Phil and his then-partner Lester Sill (Phil + Les) — was a singles-oriented company, as it produced 39 singles but only a dozen albums.
Spector’s unique “wall of sound” was refined and developed at Gold Star Studios in Los Angeles, and the cornerstone of his music featured extensive use of electric, acoustic and flamenco guitars, castinets, crashing pianos and numerous overdubbings.
This article takes a look at each of the only 10 recording artists that ever appeared on the Philles label, and to hear the songs, simply click on the title.
- “YOU’VE LOST THAT LOVIN’ FEELING” (Righteous Brothers, 1964): This is one of four Billboard Top 10 hits on Philles for the blue-eyed soul duo of Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield. The singers got together in 1962, and they first recorded as The Paramours. They split up from 1968 to 1974, and upon getting back together, they charted five more Billboard Top 40s, which gave them a total of a dozen such singles. BILLBOARD: No. 1 pop, No. 2 R&B.
- “HE’S A REBEL” (The Crystals, 1962): Performed by one of the best-known Spector-produced recording artists, the girl group from Brooklyn hit the top of the charts with this song, written by Gene Pitney. Although the record was credited to The Crystals, it was actually sung by Darlene Love & The Blossoms. BILLBOARD: No. 1 pop, No. 2 R&B.
- “WALKING IN THE RAIN” (The Ronettes, 1964): This famous Spector girl group was formed in New York City as The Darling Sisters in 1958, consisting of sisters Veronica and Estelle Bennett, and cousin Nedra Talley. Veronica was married to Spector from 1968 to 1974. This wasn’t one of the top Philles charters, but few songs epitomize the “wall of sound” as well as this masterpiece, which was written by Spector, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. BILLBOARD: No. 23 pop, No. 3 R&B.
- “WHY DO LOVERS BREAK EACH OTHER’S HEARTS” (Bob B. Soxx & The Blue Jeans, 1963): The group’s vocalists were Darlene Love, Bobby Sheen and Fanita James. The B-sides of each of their Billboard hits were instrumentals by studio musicians. This only went to No. 38 on Billboard, but it combined the best of both doo-wop and the “wall of sound.” The song was written by Spector, Ellie Greenwich and Tony Powers. BILLBOARD: No. 38.
- “(TODAY I MET) THE BOY I’M GONNA MARRY” (Darlene Love, 1963): Born Darlene Wright, the songstress was lead singer of The Blossoms and a member of Bob B. Soxx & The Blue Jeans. She also sang lead on two big hits by The Crystals (“He’s A Rebel” and “He’s Sure The Boy I Love”). The song was co-written by Spector, Greenwich and Powers. BILLBOARD: No. 39.
- “PUDDIN’ N’ TAIN” (The Alley Cats, 1963): This was a Los Angeles studio group fronted by Billy Storm, and they earlier recorded on the Whippet label and on the Madison label as The Untouchables. The group also included Bobby Sheen, who was a member of Bob B. Soxx & The Blue Jeans. The single was produced by Spector and arranged by Jack Nitzsche. BILLBOARD: No. 43 pop, No. 21 R&B.
- “RIVER DEEP – MOUNTAIN HIGH” (Ike & Tina Turner, 1966): The then-husband-wife duo charted Billboard Hot 100 items on five labels, but this was the only one on Philles. Spector couldn’t believe that what he considered a true masterpiece didn’t chart higher than No. 88 in the U.S., and his resulting disgust prompted him to lose interest in the Philles label, which was discontinued soon afterward. For a time, Spector virtually disappeared from the music scene, although he returned a few years later to produce such performers as Dion, John Lennon and The Ramones. BILLBOARD: No. 88 pop.
- “MALAGUENA” (Ali Hassan, 1962): The performer’s real name was Al Hazan, who also produced the record. Hazan also recorded under his real name as an instrumentalist and as Al Anthony as a singer. For a time, he was with B. Bumble & The Stingers, and he played lead piano on “Nut Rocker” (No. 23, 1962). He also wrote songs recorded by Ritchie Valens, Johnny Crawford and James Darren and produced groups such as The Beau Brummels. BILLBOARD: uncharted.
- “HERE I STAND” (Joel Scott, 1961): This was the second-ever recording on the Philles label, the first being “There’s No Other” by The Crystals (No. 20, 1961). George Motola wrote and co-produced it, and the vocalist was actually Joe Jones, the lead singer of The Pentagons. BILLBOARD: uncharted.
- “LT. COLONEL BOGEY’S PARADE” (Steve Douglas & His Merry Men, 1962): This was performed by a group headed by a prominent sax player who performed on many of Spector’s “wall of sound” recordings and on a number of Beach Boys sessions. The single was produced by Lester Sill, and this was a version of the Bridge On The River Kwai movie theme song. BILLBOARD: uncharted. [NOTE: No video link is available for this record.]
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