It was a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of 1961, when 21-year-old wünderkind Phil Spector joined forces with former promo man Lester Sill, 43, to form Philles Records (Phil + Les = Philles), the label that introduced the world to Spector's signature production technique the "Wall of Sound," which yielded a dense, layered sound that played well over the god-awful speakers found in transistor radios and jukeboxes of the day. Despite the label’s jaw-dropping success, within a year the partnership disintegrated, precipitating the creation of the most notorious contract-ending recording in pop music history...
 
Phil Spector’s fierce creative independence doomed any joint venture.  Inevitably, after Spector was fingered as the genius behind the sound, Lester Sill became expensive baggage.  Spector rightfully felt that it was his artistic vision that had made Philles a success, and he saw no need to share half his rewards with some record exec riding along on his coattails, especially after Sill had the impudence to interrupt Spector's string of hits by producing and releasing non-charting singles of his own on Philles.  Soon enough Spector began signing contracts and arranging business deals without consulting Sill, and the end of the partnership was upon them.
 
Lester Sill eventually sold out his share of Philles Records to Phil Spector for $60,000.  Spector, as you might imagine, withheld the money, claiming that Sill still owed him royalties for his work with the Paris Sisters the year before.  Sill had no choice but to sue Spector to recoup payment for his share of Philles, and as part of the settlement the court awarded Sill the royalties from the sales of next Philles single, which would have been the megahit "Da Doo Ron Ron" had Spector not stepped in and executed his admirably diabolical plan.
 
In January 1963, Phil Spector went into the studio with Philles' best-selling act the Crystals, along with pianist Michael Spencer and two other musicians, to record a Spector-penned tune titled "(Let's Dance) The Screw - Part I."  The "song" — supposedly a dance novelty tune cashing in on the craze du jour — featured the Crystals, backed by a catchy dance beat provided by piano, bass and drums, warbling a verse that went something like this:
 
 Let's do it.
 C'mon and do it.
 To the right,
 To the left.
 Now front,
 Now back.
 C'mon and do . . .
 Dance The Screw
 
The chorus consisted of nothing but the word dance chanted six times, preceded and followed by Spector's lawyer's monotonic intoning of "Dance the Screw."  Chorus and verse were repeated over and over for nearly six minutes — which would be unplayable on 1963 radio — and the results were pressed as a record labeled "Philles 111."  The B-side was, not surprisingly, "(Let's Dance) The Screw - Part II": a slowed-down eight minutes of the same.  Spector had a copy of his little love note hand delivered to Lester Sill, who must have realized at once that he was hosed. By deliberately creating an unreleasable product as the next Philles single, Spector had "screwed" his former partner out of any money the court intended for him, and he was singing about it!
 
To rub salt into the wound, the following Philles release, "Da Doo Ron Ron" by the Crystals, was a huge hit, of which Lester Sill got zilch.  The kicker is that it is generally believed that Spector already had "Da Doo Ron Ron" on wax and ready for release before he hastily recorded "(Let's Dance) The Screw," thus knowingly and illegally subverting a court order in order to screw Sill out of very substantial monies.  Spector is still collecting royalties from "Da Doo Ron Ron."  Lester Sill died in 1994.
 
This whole sordid tale of greed and witty spite might have lapsed into the misty realm of legend if it were not for one immutable fact: the record exists.
The Twisted Tale Behind Phil Spector’s Strangest Record
Although never enthusiastically released, “(Let’s Dance) The Screw - Part I” was recently available on the CD Phil Spector’s Flips and Rarities, meaning Phil continues to make money from the revenge record that told his former partner to fuck off.
GENIUS!
 Go ahead, contribute to Phil Spector’s Legal Fund.  Buy the CD.
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