Saturate; The Wall of Sound

By Jo Phillips

The Wall of Sound, (or the Spector Sound as known to others) is a music production type developed by producer Phil Spector, with the intention of creating a sound that was rich and dense, transferring well on AM radio and jukeboxes. To create this Wall of Sound, Spector, had numerous musicians and instruments, often ones that do not go together (electric and acoustic guitars) and record the sound in a small echo chamber at the Gold Star Studios for a fuller sound.

Jeff Barry, an American pop music songwriter, singer, and record producer, who has worked on several records with Spector, describes the Wall of Sound as a ‘formula’. “you’re going to have four or five guitars line up, gut-string guitars, and they’re going to follow the chords… two basses in fifths, with the same type of line, and strings… six or seven horns, adding the little punches… formula percussion instruments – the little bells, the shakers, the tambourines. Phil used his own formula for echo, and some overtone arrangements with the strings. But by and large there was a formula arrangement.

1. The Ronettes – Be My Baby

2. The Beach Boys – God Only Knows

3. The Crystals – Da Doo Ron Ron

4. Darlene Love – A Fine Fine Boy

5. The Beatles – Get Back