LaLa Brooks with Phil Spector in the 1960's
LaLa Brooks last night at the Film Forum
When the documentary, "The Agony And The Ecstasy of Phil Spector" now playing at the Film Forum, ended and the lights in the theater came up, in she walked - the other Great Voice fronting the Spector Wall of Sound - Delores LaLa Brooks. She was just 15 when she sang lead vocals with The Crystals on "Da Doo Ron Ron" and "Then He Kissed Me". Answering questions at the Film Forum last night she looked positively radiant. Born in Brooklyn and living in NY's East Village now, she talked openly about Phil and the Crystals sessions. About being on the road with The Crystals when they heard the Darlene Love vocal on "He's A Rebel". How little room there was inside the Wall of Sound studio. About leaving The Crystals and singing "Aquarius" in the original Broadway production of Hair. About trying to get money from Phil. Like Darlene Love and Ronnie Spector, she saw little payment and no royalties, and had to eat from the studio vending machine while recording. With any luck, Film Forum was taping and will upload as one of their podcasts.
The documentary itself is a must see - strange, in that it mixes in-depth interviews with the ultra-reclusive producer, beside Court TV footage of his murder trial. J.Hoberman's review in the Village Voice is right on the mark: "Round-faced and wide-eyed, snugly fitted with a bowl-cut blond wig and ever eager to vent, Spector has the look of the imp off a Rice Krispies box."
Find out why he holds a grudge against Tony Bennet. Hear him imitate John Lennon. See the Teddy Bears performing "To Know Him Is to Love Him". Find out why he held Martin Scorsese's career in the palm of his hand. How he named the song Da Doo Ron Ron. And decide for yourself whether he shot Lana Clarkson. Teenage Tycoon Megalomania unleashed + Incredible music. Weird indeed. Go see it now!
In the meantime, watch LaLa Brooks and The Crystals knock one out of the park.