Spector, Abner B.
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November 9, 1917 - September 3, 2010
Abner Spector of Sunny Isles Beach, Florida, died on September 3, 2010 at age 92 in a hospital in Aventura, Florida following a long illness. He was a songwriter, promoter, A&R executive, and record producer during the early golden years of rock and roll.
Spector was born in Philadelphia and moved to Chicago when he was 7. In 1941, he joined the Army and became a staff sergeant stationed in Honolulu Hawaii. After the war, he returned to Chicago to his family's sport shirt business, while writing songs on the side. In the late 1940s, Lona Stevens performed one of his songs on NBC radio. Stevens later became Spector's first wife. The couple had four children.
During the 1950s, Spector promoted songs for Mellin Music, and co-wrote songs with NBC Radio executive Don Marcotte. Spector and Marcotte songs were recorded by, among others, Peggy Lee, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Billy Eckstein. Spector also occasionally collaborated with famed songwriter George David Weiss.
In the late 1950s, Spector worked closely with Leonard Chess of Chess Records in Chicago. In 1960, Spector moved to New York and formed Tuff Records. He wrote and recorded "Smoky Places," which rose to number 12 (Pop) and 10 (R&B) as sung by the Corsairs. "Sally, Go 'Round the Roses," also written by Spector, rose to number 2 in 1963 as sung by the Jaynetts. One of the year's most popular records, "Sally" became a rock and roll icon often recorded. Later, among other projects, he conceived and produced Willie Dixon's popular "I Am the Blues" album.
Spector is survived by his dear friend Eileen Sidlow of Sunny Isles Beach FL, beloved brother Sandor and Elaine Spector of Brentwood CA, daughter Lauralynn and Harrison Shaw in Northridge, L.A. CA, daughter Ida Lynn Spector of Chula Vista, CA, and son David Spector of AZ. In addition, there are three grandchildren, one great-grandson, and nieces and nephews. Internment will be in Mount Sinai Memorial Park in Los Angeles.
Published in the Los Angeles Times on Sept. 12, 2010