Recording engineer Larry Levine passed away May 8, 2008, at his home in Southern California. Levine was a staff engineer at Hollywood’s Gold Star Recording Studios in 1962 when he was assigned to work with young producer Phil Spector. The session was girl group The Crystals, who were recording “He’s a Rebel.” The song went to Number One on the charts and catapulted the band to fame; a year later, with the group’s “Da Doo Ron Ron” and “Then He Kissed Me,” the Spector/Levine “wall of sound” was established. With Spector at the helm and Levine at the board, the hits kept coming, including The Ronettes’ “Be My Baby,” the Righteous Brothers’ “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin” and dozens more.
Levine also engineered for Eddie Cochran, and Sonny & Cher. He garnered a Best Engineered Recording Grammy in 1966 for Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass’ “A Taste of Honey,” which also won Song of the Year. In addition, Alpert asked Levine to build A&M’s first recording studio. Levine worked with Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys on Pet Sounds, Smiley Smile and Wild Honey. In the late ’70s, Levine reunited with Spector with projects for Leonard Cohen and The Ramones.