Thursday, September 3, 2009

Rant #80: Phil Spector's Pleasant Valley Jail Day

I don't know if you heard about this, but when I did, I had to laugh.

Music legend and convicted murderer Phil Spector, who complained recently about his prison quarters but later said he wanted to stay where he was, is not getting his wish. He is being moved to make room for inmates requiring outpatient mental health treatment. Spector and other prisoners will be going to Pleasant Valley State Prison in Coalinga, Calif., where the other most notorious prisoner is Erik Menendez, convicted with his brother Lyle of murdering their millionaire parents in 1993.

No, I am not laughing about what Spector did, as he was recently convicted of murdering a woman he had a relationship with. That is certainly not a laughing matter.

What I am laughing about is the name of his new prison address: Pleasant Valley State Prison--is that a hoot or what? I didn't know the word "pleasant" and "prison" could be used in the same sentence.

Also, the name "Pleasant Valley Prison" brings to mind a hit song from Spector's era. In 1967, the Monkees had a huge hit with "Pleasant Valley Sunday," and although Spector had absolutely nothing to do with this tune — it was written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin--that tune could become a hit all over again if the lyrics were changed to reflect Spector's current situation.

So, aspiring singers take note--I want a cut of the profits you make off of this re-worded tune (and don't forget King and Goffin either):

Pleasant Valley Jail Day

The local chain gang down the street
Is trying hard to right their wrongs,
They serenade the prison guard
Who supervises them as they mow the lawn.

Another Pleasant Valley jail day,
Fires burning everywhere,
Rows of cells that are all the same,
And no one seems to care.

See Warden Gray, he's proud today
Because his prisoners are so doomed
And as for Phil, he's so serene,
He's got a toilet right in his room.

Another Pleasant Valley jail day,
Here in Status Symbol Land,
Prisoners complain about how hard life is,
And society just doesn't understand.

Creature comfort goals, they only numb their souls,
And make it hard for them to see.
Ahhh...thoughts all seem to stray
To places far away,
Phil says he needs a change of scenery.
Ta ta ta ta, ta ta ta ta... (etc.)

Another Pleasant Valley jail day,
Fires burning everywhere.
Another Pleasant Valley jail day,
Here in Status Symbol Land.
Another Pleasant Valley jail day,
(A Pleasant Valley jail day)
Another Pleasant Valley jail day,
(A Pleasant Valley jail day)
(fade out)


  1. Wish i had a band to record that. :)

  2. Me too. In today's world, too few artists record novelty records, but in year's past, a case like this would have received lots of novelty records--certainly a lot of take-offs on his Wall of Sound tunes. But today, nobody wants to do this.

    Ah, if I could only play guitar and sing ...

  3. I'm glad he's behind bars. The guy is crazy and if he would have gotten off I would forever doubt the justice system. Seems to me that lately there is a different justice system for the rich and powerful.He may be a musical genius but there again is a fine line that skirts one pubic hair toward the lunitic fringe.

  4. I agree, he got what he deserved. I think that we look at show business people differently in this country, as their eccentricities are almost something to be marveled at rather than pitied. Just look at how we, as a society, have deified Michael Jackson and justified his odd behavior.

    I feel this type of behavior has to stop on society's part. It is unhealthy. You can be a fan of someone, but putting that person on a pedestal that allows him or her to do things or act in a way that is truly bizarre is not something that I, personally, have any desire to do.

    Spector was talented, but he was a very flawed human being. He has had lesser run-ins with the law for many years. This was simply the last straw. They got him, as they finally got O.J. Simpson. Let them both live out their lives thinking about how they wasted their talents for bread and water and a jail cell.



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