Thursday, August 25, 2011

#276: Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) - Phil Spector's Greatest Hits - Number 5


Beginning on June 23, 1975, Devra Robitaille, a British pianist, worked for Phil Spector for about four to four-and-a-half years as the administrative director of his label, Warner-Spector Records.   Robitaille idolized Spector and thought he was a genius. About a year after Robitaille began working with Spector, they began a romantic relationship, which, for her, was an extramarital affair. During this relationship, Robitaille frequently organized parties for Spector at his home in Beverly Hills.

At one of these parties, after the other guests had gone home, Robitaille stood in the foyer, very tired and wanting to leave. The door was locked so she asked Spector if he would let her out. Spector left the foyer for a few minutes. While Robitaille was ready to leave, looking at the door and wearing her purse and jacket, she felt the cold barrel of a gun at her left temple. Robitaille turned and saw the gun; Spector held it with two hands at her left temple.

Spector had been drinking alcohol that night and was very drunk. Spector said, “If you try to leave, I’m going to blow your fucking head off.” Robitaille told Spector that she had to leave. Holding the gun at her head, Spector swore and shouted at Robitaille, with different permutations of “I’m going to blow your head off. I’ll blow your brains out. You can’t leave. I’m not unlocking the door.” Robitaille stood her ground and said, “Just stop it. This is ridiculous. I just want to go home.” After “a little moment of suspension,” Spector went from being maniacal to being “Phil again” with a diffused demeanor. Spector got the keys, unlocked the door, and let Robitaille go.

Robitaille felt disrespected and violated from this incident. Her affair with Spector stopped and their relationship became solely a business one. About a year after this incident, she quit working for Spector for the last time because their work relationship had deteriorated. Eventually, in June 1980, she returned to England and had a successful musical career there for five or six years.

In 1986, Robitaille returned to the United States because her musical career was beginning “to peter out.” In Los Angeles, she re-established contact with Spector and accepted a part-time job working for him in Los Angeles.

On one occasion in 1986, Robitaille went to a party at Spector’s house, a different house than she had been to in 1975. When Robitaille arrived, she was sequestered in another room as she typically was as his employee at Spector’s parties. After many hours, possibly at about dawn, when everyone else had gone, Robitaille was very tired and decided that it was time for her to leave. The door was locked.

Robitaille found Spector and said, “Please, I really need to go home. Let me out.” Spector was drunk. Robitaille stood in the foyer with her purse, wanting to leave. After a “sort of time of nothing,” Spector suddenly pointed a shotgun at her face, holding it with both hands.  The shotgun appeared to be similar to the one that Spector pointed at Robitaille’s temple in the 1975 incident.  Robitaille thought, “Oh, not again. I can’t believe it.” Spector was swearing, saying “f’ing” a lot, and making threats like “I’ll blow your head off. I’ll shoot you. I’ll kill you. I’ll blow your brains out. I could shoot you right now.” Robitaille told Spector to put down the gun and unlock the door and let her leave. This incident seemed like it went on for hours and was more protracted than the first incident. At one point, Spector went away. Robitaille stood there in the lobby, not knowing what to do, still unable to leave.

Spector returned to Robitaille. The situation “started to unwind, and the tension broke again like it had the first time . . . .” Again, Spector had a “switch” in mood. Spector unlocked the door and Robitaille hurried away.

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