No, it’s not the real life version of Montgomery Burns, this is the mug shot of once-upon-a time music mogul turned convicted murderer Phil Spector. Now that he is a ward of the California state prison system, wig-loving Spector has been forced to return to his au naturel state.
His classic skullet look, with bald top and straggly strands, is a far cry from the extravagant wigs he wore throughout his various court trials.
Until now, the Wall of Sound producer had never been seen bare-headed and it was evidently clear just how degrading the expose was for Spector. The not-so-flattering shot was taken last week when he checked into the North Kern State Prison in Delano, California, and he repeatedly asked to wear a hat but was turned down.
Spector was last month sentenced to a minimum 19 years in prison for the murder of 40 year-old actress and nightclub hostess Lana Clarkson. His wigs and hairpieces were confiscated by authorities because they weren’t deemed medically necessary.
“They took my husband’s freedom and dignity. So why not his hair?” Spector’s 28 year-old wife Rachelle said.
The 69-year-old’s hair loss might not be his most immediate problem but you’ve got to wonder, if it was such a tender issue for him, why he hadn’t thought of hair loss treatments, or at the very least transplant surgery. Biographer Dave Thompson, author of Wall of Pain: The Life of Phil Spector, suggested the songwriter’s obsession with outlandish wigs stemmed from head injuries he incurred from a car crash in 1974.
In an accident that almost killed him, Spector was thrown through a car window and suffered serious head injuries which necessitated several hours of surgery, more than 300 stitches to his face and more than 400 to the back of his head. I don’t know if that’s why he started wearing wigs – has Mr. Thompson never heard of male pattern baldness? It seems Spectors fondness for the hairpiece began as early as the mid 60s when he went from having receding temples in the time of the Ronnettes to a luxurious bowl cut for the Beatle period.
Spector revolutionised pop music in the 1960s. As a record producer and songwriter he clocked more than 25 Top 40 hits between 1960 and 1965 and worked with the likes of The Righteous Brothers, John Lennon, Ike and Tina Turner, The Beatles and the Ramones. He helped produce the Academy Award winning 1970 hit Let it Be and in 1986, Spector was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a non-performer.
In 2003, Spector was charged with the murder of Lana Clarkson, whose death he claimed was an accidental suicide. During the trials, Spector brandished a certain fondness for elaborate wigs. First there was the greying afro, then a blond adaption of the mop-top from his Beatle heydays, and finally the brunette mullet.
Now behind bars after his conviction, Spector’s image enhancing luxuries have been curtailed. He reportedly informed authorities he was an Orthodox Jew and needed to wear a yarmulke, or skullcap. Authorities granted his request but he was he was not allowed to wear it for the mug shot.
“They don’t allow for much accessorising while in prison,” wife Rachelle said.