A rock ‘n’ roll institution, the composer, arranger and producer was born on April 22, 1937 in Chicago, Illinois.
His career in the music industry started in the 1950’s when he fell in with aspiring Los Angeles musicians Lou Adler, Lee Hazelwood and Sonny Bono. Spector nurtured his new talent, and he became a key component in the “Wall of Sound” and wrote songs for The Ronettes, The Righteous Brothers and The Crystals.
He had a hit in 1963 under his own name with the single ‘The Lonely Surfer’. In 1964 he began working with the Stones as their arranger, and worked on hits including ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’, ‘The Last Time’, ‘Get Off Of My Cloud’. He contributed strings to Tim Buckley‘s debut LP and produced PJ Proby, Jackie De Shannon and Buffalo Springfield, through whom he hooked up with Neil Young.
Nitzsche was also an acclaimed movie soundtrack composer, working on ‘The Exorcist’, ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’ and ‘Performance’, ‘Starman’ and later ‘An Officer And A Gentleman’, whose theme ‘Up Where We Belong’ won him an Oscar, and ‘Stand By Me’.
He died of a heart attack at the Queen Of Angels hospital in Hollywood last Friday (25 August), not far from the recording studios where he helped to create musical legends.