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Behind the Glass - Top Record Producers Tell How They Craft the Hits (Softcover) Paperback – September 1, 2000

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Editorial Reviews


"Insightful overviews of the creative and technical process of sound recording." -- Steve Vai, guitarist

"The producers featured have made key professionals and fans alike should find their observations invaluable." --Billboard, November 11, 2000

About the Author

Howard Massey, a veteran journalist and record producer/engineer, has worked with Elvis Costello, Roy Buchanan, Kraftwerk, Thomas Dolby, and other major artists at such world-class studios as Electric Lady and Trident. Formerly technology editor of Musician, he has written for Billboard, Keyboard, Guitar World and Electronic Musician, plus ten books on music technology. He currently is a contributing editor for EQ and reviews editor of Surround Professional. He also serves as consultant and technical writer for Sony, Korg, and other leading audio manufacturers.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Backbeat Books (October 30, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879306149
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879306144
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #191,354 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Howard Massey is a music journalist, musician, and recording engineer/producer who was formerly an editor at Musician and Performing Songwriter magazines.

He is also the author of sixteen books, including the recently published "The Great British Recording Studios," a comprehensive survey of the iconic UK recording facilities of the '60s and '70s, and two collections of interviews with record producers entitled "Behind The Glass" and "Behind The Glass Volume II." In 2006 he co-authored legendary Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick's memoir "Here, There, and Everywhere."

In 2009 he co-authored "When I'm 64," a book about retirement planning (for more information, visit, and in 2013/2014, three of his short stories were accepted for publication in the Hudson Valley Writers Workshop anthologies entitled "Renderings" and "Ramblings." His first novel, "Roadie," is scheduled for publication in early 2016.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Ron Simpson on November 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
When I first saw BEHIND THE GLASS, by Howard Massey, I began turning its pages immediately. Publisher Miller-Freeman, it seems to me, has sort of seized the initiative in releasing great new music-industry titles that appeal to the targeted up-and-coming musician as well as veteran industry observers, teachers, and researchers. Author Howard Massey presents his material in interview format, sometimes with individual U.S. and British engineers and producers, and sometimes in a group setting (East coast panel, West coast panel, for example). He obviously has both great access to and an easygoing credibility with hit-making engineers and producers, because the questions are good, the answers are candid, complete, and casual. (If I sound vague about Massey, it's because I haven't bumped into him and the book contains no "about the author" blurb, a disappointing omission.) The book is being marketed briskly to college and trade-school recording programs, so--will this book teach you recording? No, you must still learn the basics from a good class setting, or a mentor, or in a self-directed experience with a different class of book than this (Runstein, Wadhams, and Woram are among the classic recording-text authors). But don't think I'm diminishing the value of this new book: it reads fast, and Massey brings all these legendary names into your living room, making them acquaintances, colleagues, friends--sharing shoptalk, suggesting both general methods and personal trade-mark techniques. Here's a bit of detail I gleaned from Behind the Glass: I bought James Taylor's Hourglass CD in Cape Town, South Africa a couple of years ago on a day when I needed to hear some mellow American music, and found myself entranced with the recording quality.Read more ›
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Scott Woods on January 5, 2001
Format: Paperback
The other really good reviews tell you what you want to know about the logistics of the book. I want to talk about whether or not an up-and-coming musician/producer/composer can use the book in their daily work and professional lives to any useful extent.
My quick answer is absolutely. It's chockful of great interviews with unquestionable legends in the field. We always hear about the artists and get these clunky, chopped up interviews in magazines with them about what it took to make the record ("I had a dream", "My contract was about up", "It's an homage to field mice", etc.), but we rarely get such an in-depth look at who REALLY makes these artists SOUND they way they do. There's a ton of stuff about the gear they use, how they use it and why they use it.
The slant of the book is a little high-end, which is understandable, considering the professional level of the producers we're talking about here, so the average joe in their bedroom or basement studio may find the discussions about $10,000 microphones a bit overwhelming and useless, but the theories about how they're used and what environments (an aspect of recording SADLY bypassed by big and small name studios alike) they're striving to create are invaluable, and can be applied everywhere.
If you're an aspiring artist, get it because it will tell you where the lines are in your working relationships with these people, and help you help yourself instead of looking at the studio clock with 6 more tracks you'd like to lay. If you're a session musician, you'll probably find it useful when the discussions turn to getting good sounds out of your instruments in various environments. And if you're an aspiring producer, you HAVE to get it. It's your guide through ego, business and the nature of what you wish to do.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 15, 2000
Format: Paperback
If you're a musician, an aspiring engineer/producer or are into any aspect of audio, you'll find this book absolutely fascinating. The author obviously knows his stuff (he's a producer and engineer himself, and a well-known writer in EQ magazine), and by asking probing and detailed questions, Massey has managed to get the world's top record producers to spill the beans about every aspect of how they make hit records, and he's also successfully captured the essence of their personalities. Each of the big names in the business -- George Martin, Brian Wilson, Alan Parsons, Phil Ramone, Arif Mardin, George Massenburg, even the usually reticent Geoff Emerick (who engineered Revolver, Sgt. Pepper and Abbey Road) get a full chapter, and there are two absolutely hilarious panel discussions as well. Equal time is given to top American and English producers, and I especially liked the section called "Young Guns," in which younger, up-and-coming producers (like Walter Afanasieff, Chuck Ainlay, Danny Saber and Sylvia Massy) get a chance to present their views. All in all, this is a truly exceptional, eminently readable book. If you've got a son, daughter, nephew or niece who's into music, this will make the perfect stocking stuffer.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By CARLOS RUIZ DE MENDOZA on March 18, 2001
Format: Paperback
Definitely this book will guide you through numerous interviews with some of the big names in production, from the producer/arranger to the producer/engineer to the producer/musician. You'll get an idea of how this monsters of the industry work and some of them will reveal some of their techniques. There is no secret formula in this book that will allow you hit success after been read, but it will definitely give you an average idea of how things can be achived."Behind the glass" will make you travel from the 60's to the 90's, with artists like The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Alanis Morisette, David Bowie and lots more. Some of the technical stuff could be a none-sense for beginners, on the other hand there is a lot of good tips for the home studio musician. This is a book to have on your bookshelves it will make worth your money.
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