Published May 14, 2008Phil Spectors right-hand man and the engineer responsible for creating the "Wall of Sound technique, Larry Levine, has died. According to relatives, Levine passed away at his home in Encino, CA, May 8, his birthday. He was 80.
Levine became Spectors longtime collaborator after the pair recorded the number one hit "Hes a Rebel by the Crystals in 1962. They later went on to work on such rocknroll classics as the Righteous Brothers' "Da Doo Ron Ron and Ike & Tinas "River Deep, Mountain High. In addition to his Spector work, Levine also worked with the Beach Boys on Pet Sounds, as well as Wings, the Carpenters and the Sonics.
Levine was born in New York in 1928 and grew up in L.A., where he eventually became the sound engineer at Gold Star Recording Studios. His cousin Stan Ross, who owns the studio, once told the Los Angeles Times that Levine had much to do with Spectors success.
"He made Phil Spector a genius by applying the simple logic of using echo chamber, Ross said. "Phil had a tendency of overbooking the room, and there were more musicians than there should have been in the studio. [The echo chamer] gave it dimension. It sounded like it was a football field."
Levine, who suffered from severe emphysema before his death, is survived by his wife Lyn, as well as by his sons, Rick, Rob and Michael, four grandchildren and a sister, Joyce Black.