Music Legend Phil Spector's Murder Trial Begins

Ribowsky alleges that when the music producer would go out with comedian and notorious heroin addict Lenny Bruce, Spector would pretend to be strung out on heroin like his friend, but frequently wasn't.

"You never knew when it was an act with Spector," Ribowsky said.

Music industry lore paints Spector as both a visionary and an insecure, vengeful creature for whom physical and verbal assaults were common. When he began palling around with Ike Turner, it was remarked that, of the two, Spector was the one to be feared.

He produced fewer hits in the 1970s and relatively none in the decades to follow. He slowly cut ties with friends and maintained a small network of yes men.

For Spector, the failure to stay relevant in the music world was devastating. No matter what he tried, he could not recreate the electrifying success of his early years.

"How could he keep topping himself?" Ribowsky said. "He couldn't."

Those that sympathize with him say the career shortcomings compounded existing emotional problems. His father committed suicide when Spector was only 9 years old. He was dominated by an overbearing mother and sister.

Much like Michael Jackson, the early stardom of his teens ensured Spector had nothing like a normal childhood. Already an eccentric recluse, Spector withdrew into alcohol and became even more isolated after his young son died of leukemia in the 1990s.

Shortly before Clarkson's death, Spector admitted to a British newspaper that he had bipolar disorder and took medicine for schizophrenia, saying "I'm my own worst enemy. I have devils that fight inside me."

But were those devils powerful enough to spark a homicidal rage in the superstar producer?

Some of his associates are shocked by the murder charges. Others say, with Spector's penchant for mixing alcohol and firearms, they are surprised there was not an incident sooner.

Now four other women have come forward to say that Spector threatened them with a gun on occasions when his sexual advances were rejected.

The jury may get to hear their testimony when arguments begin in April.

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