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Phil Spector: Back to Mono Box set

78 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Box set, November 12, 1991
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$88.90 $35.00

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Comes with 3 discs of Phil Spector : Back to Mono, as well as 1 disc " A Christmas Gift For You". Also comes with a "Back to Mono" pin. And a manual book with lyrics.

Among producers, his name remains the simile of choice. If some hotshot studio whiz emerges in, say, hip-hop, he's inevitably labeled "the Phil Spector of rap." That's quite a statement given that decades have passed since this boy from the Bronx remodeled rock & roll to suit his own visions of grandeur. The story of the girl-group auteur is a fascinating one. Spector composed a No. 1 hit at 17 (the Teddy Bears' "To Know Him Is to Love Him," its title inspired by the inscription on his father's tombstone). By 19 he was head of A&R for Atlantic Records. By the time he was 22, he'd founded his own label (Philles) and was churning out Wall of Sound hits at an unprecedented clip, beginning with the Crystals' "He's a Rebel." The four-disc Back to Mono befits its singular subject in both presentation (the richly annotated booklet includes a piece by Tom Wolfe) and content (60 songs cut between 1958 and 1969, plus the entire classic Yuletide LP A Christmas Gift for You). --Steven Stolder

Disc: 1
1. To Know His Is To Love Him - The Teddy Bears
2. Corrine, Corrina - Ray Peterson
3. Spanish Harlem - Ben E. King
4. Pretty Little Angel Eyes - Curtis Lee
5. Every Breath I Take - Gene Pitney
See all 23 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Be My Baby - The Ronettes
2. Then He Kissed Me - The Crystals
3. A Fine, Fine Boy - Darlene Love
4. Baby, I Love You - The Ronettes
5. I Wonder - The Ronettes
See all 19 tracks on this disc
Disc: 3
1. You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' - The Righteous Brothers
2. Born To Be Together - The Ronettes
3. Just Once In My Life - The Righteous Brothers
4. Unchained Melody - The Righteous Brothers
5. Is This What I Get For Loving You? - The Ronettes
See all 18 tracks on this disc
Disc: 4
1. White Christmas - Darlene Love
2. Frosty The Snowman - The Ronettes
3. The Bells of St. Mary - Bob B. Soxx and The Blue Jeans
4. Santa Claus is Coming to Town - The Crystals
5. Sleigh Ride - The Ronettes
See all 13 tracks on this disc

Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 12, 1991)
  • Number of Discs: 4
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Abkco
  • ASIN: B000003BDM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,101 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Paul Frandano on May 14, 2007
Format: Audio CD
When I saw the "Back to Mono" box for 20 bucks, I first thought of the barrage of criticism that greeted this set when first released more than 15 years ago and, in particular, the near universal condemnation of the absolutely horrendous digital remastering that marred what should have been an unbeatable compilation. Then I thought, "So what? I LOVED this music 45 years - AUGH! - ago! This is the background music of my life! And a great collection! And I don't have much of it, vinyl or otherwise." So I bought it.

And yes, the remastering is indeed horrible, particularly when listened to through earphones. But if you can pump this music through a tinny 5-inch speaker, perhaps boosted from a '57 Chevy, it all sounds pretty damn fine. So: don't play it on your audiophile equipment: my vintage boom box does the music all the honor it requires.

And what music. A lot of this stuff didn't chart in the New York metropolitan area, so I'd never heard several tracks, but it's all vintage, no filler, hits and non-hits, lots of Ronnie Spector and the Ronnettes, the Crystals, and fewer, but important, sides from Curtis Lee), Ben E. King, Bob B. Soxx, the Righteous Brothers, the majestic Tina Turner and that sidekick of hers, and, of course, the patented Spector Wall of Sound, complete with timpani, maracas, glockenspiels, strings, horns, full brass section, yackety sax, everything INCLUDING the kitchen sink. On the tree of rock, Phil Spector is a taproot (and Bruce Springsteen the most celebrated emulator/branch).

But let's be serious: these are very basic sentiments, harking back to a very different, much simpler time, before Vietnam, Watergate, and universal irony really invaded our consciousness (the first 29 tracks before the Kennedy assassination).
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Peter Durward Harris HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on October 31, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Phil Spector led a troubled life but in his peak years produced some of the finest pop music. This collection is in chronological order for the first three CD's. The fourth CD is his famous Christmas album, which is available separately for those who don't want the other music.

Phil's first success was with To know him is to love him (Teddy bears). Otther early classics include Spanish Harlem (Ben E King) and I love how you love me (Paris sisters) but Phil is remembered (apart from the Christmas album) for producing the Crystals, Ronettes and Righteous brothers.

The Crystals are represented here by classics such as Da doo ron ron, Then he kissed me and He's a rebel. I was surprised to find that there are more tracks by the Ronettes than the Crystals. Both were brilliant but the Crystals were more successful overall. Still, I can't fault any of the Ronettes tracks, the most famous of which is Be my baby. Darlene Love, who was sometimes a member of the Crystals (lead singer on He's a rebel), is represented by several solo tracks. The Righteous brothers recorded their two most famous tracks with Phil Spector, these being You've lost that loving feeling and Unchained melody. During this period, there was one other noteworthy group recording for Phil - Bob B Soxx and the Blue jeans, who had success in America with Zip-a-dee-doo-dah and Why do lovers break each other's hearts?

Among all the success, there was failure. Ike and Tina Turner recorded one album with Phil Spector, featuring the classic song, River deep mountain high. At least, it is regarded as a classic in Britain, where it was a top three hit. In America, it was only a very minor hit. Phil couldn't understand it and lost interest.
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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Eric V. Moye on November 30, 2002
Format: Audio CD
This set is a compendium of many of the most popular recordings produced by the young genius. Most of the songs included were hits, and there is litle on this set not to remember and like.
Say what you will about Phil Spector: He was arrogant, demanding, pedantic and every other derogatory adjective you can think of. Even given all this, however, one cannot seriously dispute the fact that he knew how to produce both popular and very memorable music.
What a concept the Phil Spector "Wall of Sound" was! He would start with a whole boatload of instruments; from violins to castanets. To these he would then add some of the most beautifully haunting voices ever heard (those of Darlene Love, Phil's own wife Ronnie, a young singer known then only as Cher and even Tina Turner to name a few). Blended together, these would create a tsunami of sonic power. It creates a force bigger than any song, or any band, and truly become greater than the sum of the parts. Tack on a set of headphones, and you can just relax and let it just wash all over you!
Baseball great Rickey Henderson once said of another great Nolan Ryan: "If he hasn't struck you out, then you ain't nobody." A musical corollary can be said for Phil Spector: If he didn't produce your music, you didn't put your very best work down on the vinyl (remember, this was thirty years ago, when '45's were as compact as discs could get). From the Beatles to Sonny Charles and the Checkmates Ltd., everyone who was anyone is here.
Go back and marvel at what is here. The index of his songs in this set is nothing less that an anthology of some of the greatest music of the early pop era. You might disagree with Cousin Brucie for calling "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" the greatest song of the decade.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews


Topic From this Discussion
why the price reduction?
Hello! I bought this about three weeks ago and can confirm that this is, in fact, the entire box set: the three CDs, the Christmas CD, the ridiculously unwieldy but fantastic book, and the "Back to Mono" button. It's all in there.

And the music is simply terrific. I can see why Brian... Read More
Oct 19, 2006 by J. Martinez |  See all 6 posts
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