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Leo Fender: The Quiet Giant Heard Around the World Hardcover – December 12, 2017
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― KEITH RICHARDS, THE ROLLING STONES
The Leo Fender legacy has continued for decades here at the G&L factory on Fender Avenue in Fullerton, California, where Leo’s office and laboratory remind us of his genius and passion for creating tools for musical expression. Though much has been written about his instruments, amplifiers and the musical revolution they fostered, precious little has been shared about this complex man who was brilliant yet humble, competitive yet compassionate, pragmatic yet spiritual. This book is an absolute must read for any music fan, a unique vantage point from which we can more richly understand and appreciate the father of modern music.
― DAVE MCLAREN, CEO, G&L MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS
Leo once told Phyllis that all artists are angels and his job was to give them wings to fly. Leo’s vision has guided Fender for nearly 70 years. I think about what Leo said every morning on my way to the office and it makes me smile.
― ANDY MOONEY, CEO, FENDER MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS
With unwavering support from Randall Bell, Phyllis Fender’s book is a love letter to Leo Fender and to a bygone era. Through funny and intimate stories, she takes us to the man behind the Telecaster, the Stratocaster and the myriad of inventions that shaped music in the last half of the 20th century. Other books cover the inventions - this one dwells on their creator.
― VALERIE MILANO, EDITOR, THE HOLLYWOOD TIMES
For every young boy like myself or young girl that was influenced by Rock 'n Roll, and maybe were even fortunate to own a Fender Guitar, the story and history of Leo Fender becomes personal. Leo's wife, Phyllis and Dr. Randall Bell reveal his subtle, humble and productive renown. Leo's gift and passion are the perfect story and example of when need meets invention. Rock 'n Roll was born and it needed a parent that would give it a signature sound and instrument. Iconic Fender guitars were born for Rock 'n Roll as much as Rock 'n Roll was born for Fender. As Phyllis Fender says, this is a love story of Leo and his kids and will cause you to fall in love with your Fender guitar again.
― BILL MARTINEZ, RADIO HOST, BILL MARTINEZ LIVE
As a longtime guitar player and the owner of many vintage Fender instruments and amplifiers, I was delighted to learn more about the man behind the legendary company. One of the “friendliest” signatures in the world, comes to life in this amazing behind-the-scenes glimpse into the life of Leo Fender.
― ROB SCHILLING, HOST OF WINA’S THE SCHILLING SHOW
The embodiment of the American exceptionalism that won the Cold War and defined the 20th century, Leo Fender's life is essential knowledge for anyone who wishes to understand freedom in the United States, and in the world.
― JOHN LAFAYETTE RAMEY, MUSICIAN, JOURNALIST
Many books have been written about Leo Fender and his marvelous musical inventions, but none have given us a glimpse into Fender's personal life. Phyllis Fender and Randall Bell have done an incredible job of humanizing the genius that was Leo Fender as his legacy continues!
― ERIC DAHL, FOX 17 ROCK & REVIEW
A must read for any person who has ever plugged into an amplifier or dreamed of becoming an entrepreneur. We get a unique view under the hood of the selfless utilitarian genius who worked tirelessly around the clock up until his final days to perfect the craft. Phyllis Fender takes us behind the scenes of the man who worked famously behind the scenes for 1 reason alone―to serve the musician. A true underdog story.
― MATT GIBNEY, THE STRATOSPHERE
This short yet captivating book is required reading for any true Fender aficionado. While much has been written about the work of Clarence Leonidas “Leo” Fender, precious little has been written about Leo Fender the man. This book is a game changer.
― VAUGHN SKOW, VINTAGE GUITAR MAGAZINE
You’ve heard of the Wizard of Waukesha? How about Leo the Lion from Fullerton? In the movie 'It's A Wonderful Life', George Bailey was shown by Clarence the Angel what things would have looked like had George never been born. I would hate to see what the world would look like without Leo Fender. A one-eyed radio repairman―born in a barn― transformed the world with one guitar. This is his story captured in an uncommon and absorbing way.
― BRYAN LOCKE, BOWLING GREEN'S CLASSIC ROCK D93 DAILY NEWS BROADCASTING CO., INC.
Phyllis Fender provides a beautifully candid portrait of the humble genius we all know as the inventor of the electric guitar in Leo Fender: The Quiet Giant Heard Around the World. From losing an eye in a childhood accident, to achieving fame and fortune through his infamous inventions, Fender’s life had plenty of ups and downs. But the one thing that remained the same through all of it was Leo; unfaltering, stoic, and supremely dedicated to his craft.
― TREVOR ENGLISH, WAREHOUSE GUITAR SPEAKERS
Phyllis Fender lovingly refers to Leo Fender throughout the book as “my Leo.” The book is not all about the guitars. It’s about Leo Fender the man. It’s easy to read, full of history, and features black and white photos throughout. Reading this book, being involved in the music industry, and having lived in Southern California, I thoroughly enjoyed the photos and history of Fullerton. I recommend the book for anyone wanting to learn more about the man behind this iconic brand.
― TARA LOW, GUITAR GIRL MAGAZINE
As devotees of both music and technology, it was such a treat to dive into the world of Leo Fender with both Phyllis and Randall. Leo was a visionary who has changed the world of music―and technology―as we know it today. This book took us back in time, and really told stories in such a way that we felt that we were there. Thank you, Phyllis and Randall. We’re forever grateful for your storytelling and warm hearts!
― GEEKS & BEATS
Any guitar player who appreciates Fender guitars and amps will appreciate learning more about the unusual man behind them, Leo Fender. This book, by Leo’s second wife, offers an admittedly biased view of Leo the single-minded inventor. While short on details about specific instruments and amps, it’s long on personal anecdotes and details of his life as only a loving wife can offer.
― CHRIS BEYTES, BALL PUBLISHING AND PROUD OWNER OF A ’57 STRAT REISSUE)
About the Author
Randall Bell, PhD is a socio-economist and author from Laguna Beach, California.
- Item Weight : 1.1 pounds
- Hardcover : 189 pages
- ISBN-13 : 978-0996793148
- ISBN-10 : 0996793143
- Product Dimensions : 6.3 x 1 x 9 inches
- Publisher : Leadership Institute Press; Signed Edition (December 12, 2017)
- Reading level : 10 and up
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #968,584 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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An interesting read about the life and style of Leo Fender.
You will learn a little about the development of the electric guitar. Maybe not as much as you expect. Very little mention of amplifiers.
This book is mostly about a person, Leo. It is the perspective of his 2nd wife mixed with history.
Obviously she shared a relatively small part of his life. I believe they got married when he was 70. That said, she spent quite a few years with him. I believe that she did capture his personality in this book.
Leo was an unlikley guy to have started and run the Fender company. He did it.
When he sold the company for $300 million (todays dollars), he was living in a trailer for a home and continued to do so for a while. He liked eating at Sizzler. That is an example of how he was a different king of guy than who you would expect to have been the person behind the invention and development of Fender musical instruments.
The portrayal of Leo in the book may seem surprising. Life can be surprising for sure.
The fact that Leo wasn't flashy and apparently a workaholic may disappoint you. Surprise.
We have to remember that Leo lived in a different era. Southern California used to have orange groves. Bob Hope and Liberace were around.
I saw Simon and Garfunkel perform at a theatre in the round in West Covina. 200 people at the afternoon show. Now it is a parking lot.
Saw the Doors and Jethro Tull in Anaheim at a small venue. Jimi Hendrix at Swing Auditorium in San Bernardino. Life can be a surprise.
I have a Telecaster, Lentz Strat and a few Fender amps. Guilds, Gibsons, Martin guitars, lots of amps and pedals.
It is a people book. Not a technical history of electic guitars or amps. If you are curious about people, it is a good read.
The tone of the book is, let's say, conversational and I would usually suggest that a book like this could be improved with some editing but if you were to edit out all of the repetitious content in this book you would be left with a pamphlet. Still, it is amazing that a man responsible for at least four iconic instruments (Telecaster and Stratocaster guitars along with the Precision and Jazz basses) couldn't tune let alone play the things.
And he succeeded. He built instruments for working class people that needed a reliable and serviceable instrument. In the process, he created a new approach to the sound of the guitar. He also created a practical, portable alternative to the double bass, which probably did as much to change the music world as any invention of the last century.
This is the part of the review where someone might call him a walking contradiction, a very conservative man that was on the avant-garde of musical innovation, but that would be a superficial analysis. In reality, Leo Fender was as consistent as any person could be. He was single minded about all of his pursuits. His instruments and amps had to be both high quality and completely practical. He wasn’t trying to change music, he was striving to facilitate it.
From what I read in this book, and in keeping with anecdotal information I’ve gathered over the years, Leo Fender was there for the sake of the musician. He wanted the best for musicians just as he wanted the best for his workers and, truly, he wanted the best for everybody.
Thanks to Phyllis Fender for letting us learn about the character of this remarkable man.
Don't expect "nuts and bolts" about P-Bass vs Jazz, or Tele vs Strat, or which years' pickups were the hottest, etc. As the authors point out, there are other nice books for that.
I'm glad I read this. I've enjoyed the man's inventions; but knew nothing about the man. I was completely surprised to learn about his personality.