The Phil Spector Appreciation Society

If you’ve read the ’about’ section on here you know I started my blog because of a lack of an online reference point with different angles and news on the Wall of Sound. So I decided to create such a site myself. I assume there are others like me out there and if you come across this blog, I’d love to hear from you. You can comment on the posts or contact me via my blog profile. No matter what, I hope you’ll check in from time to time and read the future posts.

Obviously, the internet has completely changed the game of how not only fans of Phil Spector’s music but music fans in general come together and stay up to date about releases, rarities, concerts etc. Online forums, specialist music websites, blogs, mailing lists and Facebook pages all provide fans with direct access to news and discussion with likeminded folks like never before.

Then imagine the ‘wilderness’ years before the internet. The dark ages where fans had to rely on chance encounters with other fans at record stores or record fairs, pen pal-type ads in music magazines or, if you were really lucky, privately pressed fanzines provided of course that your favorite music had a strong enough following to merit such a labour-of-love. Luckily for Spector fans, they’ve had several fanzines to consult through the years.

I’m too young to have been a part of the fan community back then so what I know about these fanzines I’ve learned second-hand, mainly because, the geek that I am, I’ve hunted down some of the few remaining copies or have kindly received photocopied ones from other collectors.

I find these fanzines very fascinating. They are great for researching the cultural history of Spector fandom as each issue somewhat represents a time capsule of the interests, mentality, hopes and dreams of the fan community at the time of publication. You can sense that much care and love has been put into them and as fanzines go, they’re pervaded by a sense of comforting, tight-knit camaraderie.

Members of the Phil Spector Appreciation Society (PSAS) sent in their personal top 10 in 1976. Here are the results.
Members of the Phil Spector Appreciation Society (PSAS) sent in their personal top 10 in 1976. “Here are the results of the Spectorian jury.”

The people behind these fanzines knew that they weren’t writing for masses but providing valuable information for a few diehard fans who cared and where willing to subscribe even when, in the case of Phil Spector, news were at best very infrequent and unsubstantial. In all honesty, once Spector seemingly closed the door on his producer career with his involvement in the Ramones album ‘End of the Century’ in 1980, there wasn’t much to report.

In the lack of any real news the fanzines were often then padded out with discographies, artists bios, discussions on soundalike records etc. In other words, all the info we take for granted today with Discogs, Wikipedia or Allmusic. But back then Spector fans had to get such info piece by piece as if they were slowly and collectively solving a major puzzle as the years went on.

The PSAS predict a bright future for Spector at the end of 1976.
The PSAS predict a bright future for Spector at the end of 1976.

So, what’s the basic timeline of the fanzines? Not much info can be found online which is strange actually. You’d think that some of the passionate people behind these fanzines would have picked up from where they left off once they got online? The legendary Spectropop message board probably took its fair share of former subscribers and that forum has had a few posts about the fanzines but nothing really informative.

My research shows the following timeline:

Phil Spector Appreciation Society Newsletters – 1968-1969/1970

According to an interview with British Spector historian, collector and producer Phil Chapman in 1984 (Philately # 4) this newsletter was started by him around 1968. As a young Spector fan he had gotten into contact with numerous other fans using the pen pal sections of music magazines. Instead of continuing writing each other back and forth with the same news he decided to start a society that eventually grew to about 100 or so active members. Only six newsletters were issued during the course of a year so the final one must have come out in 1969 or 1970. [Phil Chapman’s six newsletters were for sale as reprints in 1984 as advertised in Philately along with the interview. If anyone out there has these and would be willing to send me photocopies I’d be very grateful. I’ve yet to read them.]

Image of the six 60s PSAS newsletters as shown in Philately # 4.
Image of the six 60s PSAS newsletters as shown in Philately 4.

Phil Spector Appreciation Society Newsletters – ca. 1975-1983

The name Phil Chapman used for ‘his’ fanclub was dusted off by a new group of people throughout the 70s. Like Chapman’s club, this society was also based in the UK but it also had subscribers in the US. I have photocopies of all newsletters from November 1976 until Christmas 1981. Some I’ve bought off Ebay, others I have kindly been able to borrow for copying from a fellow fan.

I don’t know exactly when this new version of the PSAS started but according to the last newsletter I have, the one from the end of 1981, it had been active for nearly 7 years. This would suggest a start sometime in 1975. That seems very likely since this was the year Phil Spector issued a batch of new compilations of his old hits on a newly formed label, ‘Phil Spector International.’ I imagine the flurry of activity got fans together again. The founding member was Paul R. Dunford but for most issues dynamic duo Mick Patrick and Carole Gardiner was in charge. The newsletters are very informative but very simple in their layout. Basically, they are nothing more than typewritten pages in the a5 format with the occasional image. The newsletters came out roughly 4 times a year. [I lack PSAS newsletters from 1982 and onwards until Philately took over. If you have some that you’d like to copy for me, please get in touch.]

PSAS newsletters from the 70s.
PSAS newsletters from the 70s.

The 70s edition of the PSAS even held a convention in september 1976 at Alton, Hampshire in the UK. According to the subsequent newsletter “a disco played Spector records all night.” The surprise of the evening was a telexed message from Phil Spector who expressed his gratitude to his fans. I have color photocopies of photos taken that evening and show four here. Look at those wall displays! I guess they had quite a few Phil Spector International sleeves to spare, huh? The DJ can even be seen putting on a record. Considering the time, I’m guessing it’s Jerri Bo Keno’s ‘Here It Comes (And Here I Go)’!

PSAS members part at their convention, September 1976.
PSAS members party at their convention, September 1976.

Philately – seven issues, 1983-ca. 1989/1990

Mick Patrick and Carole Gardiner, as well as other contributors, expanded the simple newsletter into a very stylish-looking fanzine from 1983 onwards. Under the tongue-in-cheek title Philately, fans worldwide were kept updated with the same kind of info as had been the norm in the old PSAS newsletters. Philately though, had a much more professional style. More varied fonts, better reproduction of images and interviews with various people close to Spector such as Jerry Riopelle, Ronnie Spector, Nino Tempo and others.

The Philately fanzine was clearly the pinnacle of Spector fandom and make for great reading. I don’t know why it had run its course by the 7th issue but I have Mick Patrick’s word for it being the last issue when I asked him about it online. Mick would of course go on to work on all sorts of interesting projects for Ace Records, i.e. the fantastic three Phil’s Spectre compilations of Spector soundalikes, many of which had been raved about in the ‘Erect-a-Spector’ columns in the old PSAS newsletters or Philately. Whereas the PSAS newsletters had been a mixture of Spector stuff and more general info on 60s girl groups, Philately was mainly Spector stuff with girl group articles reserved for a sister publication by the PSAS called ‘That will never happen again.’ [The only issue of Philately I don’t have is # 5. A photocopy would be kindly welcomed.]

Issue 1, 4 and 6 of Philately. The design got more professional with each issue.
Issue 1, 4 and 6 of Philately. The design got more professional with each issue.

And thus concludes my ‘dissertation’ on the obscure and overlooked, but wonderful world of Spector fandom & fanzines.

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9 thoughts on “The Phil Spector Appreciation Society”

  1. HELLO
    I HAPPENED TO BE LOOKING AT THE BOOK TONIGHT ON THE INTERNET AND NOTICED YOUR HEARTFELT LOVE FOR IT.THANK YOU. I AM MOVED THAT OUR BOOK BROUGHT YOU JOY.
    I AM JACK FITZPATRICK (THE PRIMARY TEXT AUTHOR) AND AM
    SO HAPPY TO SHARE THE MAGIC OF THIS MUSIC WITH THE NEXT
    GENERATION. WE RELEASED OUR BOOK BEFORE WE WERE CERTAIN OF THE RHINO BOXED SET WHICH HAD BEEN DELAYED
    FOR YEARS. WE HAD A STORY TO TELL. I HOPE WE TOLD IT WELL. I AM PARTICULARLY PROUD OF MY CHAPTER ON THE
    “A CHRISTMAS GIFT FOR YOU” WHERE I ALMOST FELT OUT OF
    BODY WRITING ABOUT THE FEELINGS I GOT I THINK THE WORDS
    SHOW MY PASSION FOR THE PROJECT. AND I THINK THE RIGHT
    WORDS TO DESCRIBE THE EXPERIENCE CAME TO ME FROM GOD
    I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU.
    MY E-MAIL IS JACKFITZPATRICK@COMCAST.NET.
    THANK YOU FOR TOUTING OUR BOOK AND WE WILL TALK FURTHER I HOPE. BEST JACK JAMES FITZPATRICK

    Like

  2. HELLO ….THIS IS JACK FITZPATRICK AUTHOR OF PHIL SPECTOR
    THE MAN THE MUSIC THE LEGEND. I WAS ONLINE TONIGHT AND
    VERY MOVED BY A YOUNGER MAN IN HIS 20’S WHO GOT MY BOOK AT HIS LIBRARY AND EXTENDED HIS TAKE TO STUDY THE
    TEXT AND THE SOUNDALIKE SECTION. SOUNDS LIKE HE FINALLY
    FOUND HIS OWN COPY OF MY BOOK AND CHERISHES THE INFO,
    THE SOUNDALIKE DISCOGS AND THE PHOTOS. YEA IT IS GOOD.
    THERE WAS A PERIOD AFTER THE LANA CLARKSON MURDER WHERE I WAS EMBARRASSED ABOUT THE ASSOCIATION, BUT TODAY I AM PROUD TO INSPIRE A NEW GENERATION TO
    EXPLORE AND UNDERSTAND PHIL SPECTOR. I AM PROUD.
    JACK FITZPATRICK

    Like

  3. SPEAKING OF PHIL, HOW MANY OF YOU CAUGHT THE HBO MOVIE
    WITH AL PACINO. MAN…HE NAILED IT RIGHT DOWN TO THE ORNATE HEAVY DWELLING TO THE GREEN BATH-ROBE.’
    I THOUGHT HE SHOULD HAVE WON THE EMMY FOR BEST MALE
    PERFORMANCE BUT THEY GAVE IT TO MICHAEL DOUGLAS FOR
    THE LIBERACE THANG. PACINO DID A GREAT JOB. JACK FITZY

    Like

  4. I HAVE GOTTEN SEVERAL REQUESTS TO CONTACT ME.
    I AM NOT A FACEBOOK TYPE GUY.
    BUT I LOVE TO TALK SO WRITE ON E-MAIL TO ME
    JACK FITZPATRICK@COMCAST.NET.
    ALWAYS READY AND WILLING TO TALK SPECTOR, MOTOWN
    AND BRIAN WILSON. AND BELIEVE ME I KNOW THEM WELL. HA JF

    Like

  5. HELLO TO MICK AND CAROLE.
    WE FELL OUT OF TOUCH SOMEHOW, BUT I ALWAYS AND HAVE
    GIVEN YOU CREDIT FOR THE CONTACT AND KNOWLEDGE.
    I WAS THE ONE WHO TOLD YOU GUYS ABOUT THINGS ARE CHANGIN’ BY SUPREMES, BLOSSOMS, JAY AND AMERICANS
    YET NEVER SAW MY NAME ON ANY OF YOUR PROJECTS. JF

    Like

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