Spector Writes About Prison Life

Phil Spector, right, with wife Rachelle, left. CBS

Music legend Phil Spector, in prison for the murder of actress Lana Clarkson, has been writing letters about his life behind bars _ saying in a letter released Wednesday that he fears for his safety and would like to be moved to "a better prison."

Spector wrote to his friend Steve Escobar, a musician and music journalist, of his chagrin at being in the same prison as notorious murderers including Charles Manson and Sirhan Sirhan.

He said he is working with his attorneys "to get a better prison with people more like myself in it during the appeal process instead of all these lowlife scumbags, gangsters and Manson types....They'd kill you here for a 39-cent bag of soup!"

Spector, 69, said his spirits were up because his wife, Rachelle, has begun visiting him two days a week at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison at Corcoran. The prison is 400 miles from their Alhambra home, he said, and his wife has been driving back and forth each weekend.

"She's a real trouper," he said of his 29-year-old wife. "...All in all, it's like a dream come true having her by my side again."

Spector said his wife brings him packaged food so that he doesn't have to go the dining hall with other inmates.

"I know it is a chance to get out of my cell going to the dining room but the less I see of the inmates, the better and safer I feel," he said. "Even though 24/7 lockdown in a 3' by 7' cell is very tough."

Spector, the difficult genius whose "Wall of Sound" production technique turned pop songs into mini-symphonies in the 1960s, was sentenced to a term of 19 years to life.

Clarkson, 40, was found shot through the mouth at Spector's Alhambra mansion in February, 2003.

Spector's lawyers spent two trials arguing that Clarkson killed herself while battling depression. Prosecutors called witnesses to show that Clarkson was the last in a long line of women whom Spector threatened with guns.

In his heyday in the early and mid-1960s, Spector produced dozens of hits, including The Ronette's "Be My Baby," The Crystals' "Da Doo Ron Ron" and The Righteous Brothers' classic, "You've Lost that Lovin' Feelin.'" Spector also worked on the Beatles album "Let It Be" and John Lennon's album, "Imagine."

Spector's letters were released by Hal Lifson, a publicist working for Spector and his wife. Escobar, who lives in Northern California, said he has also received several phone calls from Spector since he went to prison.

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