Spector to Produce Chapman Christmas Album

New York - Just one day after being denied parole for the sixth time, John Lennon’s murderer, Mark David Chapman, has announced that he will record a collection of Christmas songs to be produced by Phil Spector.   It is the first prison-to-prison project in music history.  Spector, who is serving 19 years to life in California’s Corcoran State Prison for the shooting death of actress Lana Clarkson, calls the project “a natural.” 

Christmas in the Rye is planned as a holiday 2011 release, and will include familiar standards as well as Chapman/Spector originals such as “I Shot Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,”  “Christmas Stalking,” “Slay Ride,” and “I’ll Show You What Happens (If I Don’t Get What I Want).”

Chapman shot Lennon to death outside the iconic singer's Manhattan apartment building on Central Park, and was sentenced in 1981 to life in Attica State Prison in New York  with the possibility of parole after 20 years.  The widow of the former Beatle, Yoko Ono, has said on repeated occasions that she is opposed to Chapman's release because she still considers him a threat to her family. His requests for parole have been rejected every two years since 2000.

It will be Spector’s second full-length recording project in 30 years, following the 2010 release of his wife Rachelle Spector’s bouncy Out of My Shelle, which he also produced from a 5’ x 10’ studio with somewhat less extravagant recording equipment than he is accustomed.  Christmas in the Rye will be available via digital download as well as through Attica’s online gift shop. 

Spector has promised a return to his famed Wall of Sound approach for Chapman, which he’s dubbed “Inside the Walls of Sound.”   He has also made overtures to Sirhan Sirhan,  “Night Stalker” Richard Ramirez, and Scott Peterson to record for him under his fledgling Big House label.

Chapman, always an enthusiastic music fan, is known to be an emotional follower of  “American Idol” and “America’s Got Talent,” loudly singing along from his isolation cell in a voice described by fellow prisoners as a cross between “a man being garroted and Taylor Hicks.”  

“He knew his parole wouldn’t fly,” said Attica guard Jerome Jessup.  “Hell, Sunday night the other inmates torched their mattresses when he broke into 'And I Am Telling You I Am Not Going,'” from Dreamgirls. 

“He (Chapman) has really got the chops to be a pop singer,” Spector’s spokesman Arnold Kemp said.  “And we can fix everything in post, which is the way the business is these days.  Neither of these pricks should ever see daylight again; that said, I think Phil and Mark are turning negatives into positives and continuing a tradition that began with the Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison album from the 1960’s.  It’s a match made in…heaven.  Sort of.”

Chapman, in a statement through his publicist, said that, “working with Phil was a dream—pure magic, even if the engineer was sweating bullets.”   A rough musical track was recorded in Los Angeles, and Chapman laid down vocals with a chorus of inmates that has taken on the stage name “Really Bad Company.”

“I hope to do for Mark what I was able to do for Rachelle,” Spector said.  “It’s a digital age.  Working in prison’s a lot like working from home, except there’s no driver to take you out clubbing.”  

Chapman is also said to be finishing a manuscript for a children's storybook.  The tentatively titled Now Who's the Freakin' Walrus? will be published by HarperCollins, a News Corp. company.


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