- Hardcover: 464 pages
- Publisher: Knopf; 1st edition (June 5, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1400042194
- ISBN-13: 978-1400042197
- Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.5 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,163,278 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Tearing Down the Wall of Sound: The Rise and Fall of Phil Spector Hardcover – June 5, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. This eminently readable and thoroughly researched biography from UK journalist and author Brown (The Dance of 17 Lives) chronicles the roller-coaster life of legendary (and legendarily bizarre) music producer Phil Spector, a man propelled by genius, insecurity, paranoia and rage. Spector's career was off and running before his 20th birthday, when he penned and produced the 1958 Teddy Bears' hit, "To Know Him is to Love Him." Soon enough, Spector was perched atop the industry, a dazzling figure in flashy suits and six-inch Cuban-heeled boots who produced dozens of hits for the Crystals, the Ronettes and the Righteous Brothers, worked with the Beatles and the Ramones, and defined the "Wall of Sound" technique that would change audio forever and bring the first strains of pop music into the world of serious art. And yet, Spector remained anxious, paranoid and vengeful ("the little guy rubbing the big guy's nose in it"), secluding himself for years at a time and prone to unpredictable, dangerous outbursts-in other words, a time bomb. Brown makes a chilling account of Spector's most recent brush with detonation-the 2003 shooting death of a woman in Spector's home-in a chapter titled, "I Think I Killed Somebody," featuring new interviews and grand jury testimony released in 2005. Stacked with incredible anecdotes, Brown's entertaining and nuanced portrait lifts the fog of myth and outright falsehood (including Spector's own) that have obscured the celebrity producer (like an enormous, gravity-defying wig) through the years.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Strange that a major biography of rock impresario Spector appears during, not after, his murder trial. Of course, with the prosecution proceeding at a supremely glacial pace, a verdict could be years away. Will anyone care by then? They should, because Spector's is the story of a guy who became a millionaire before he could vote, whose "wall of sound" recording techniques swamped the early 1960s pop charts with hits by the Ronettes, the Crystals, the Righteous Brothers, and others. The Ramones' End of the Century in 1980 was his last production until 2003, in which year actress Lana Clarkson died of a gunshot wound to the head at Spector's mansion. Did he shoot her, or was it, as he swears, suicide? Brown doesn't hazard a choice, but he does deliver an exciting biography, thanks to Spector's long history of recreational drug use, monumental temper tantrums, and gun-brandishing threats directed at an array of impressive people. Stay tuned to Court TV for the rest of the story. Tribby, Mike
Top Customer Reviews
Wolfe began the Spector profiling with a hyperkinetic magazine article (reprinted in the anthology "The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby") that read like a souped-up press release. Spector's troubled childhood, particularly his father's suicide, was omitted, and the whole psychological foundation of his behavior was left unexplained. Wolfe's portrait found Spector reaching the crest of fame that would sustain his legacy. Williams, writing in the early '70s, profiled Spector after he'd produced the grand failure of "River Deep, Mountain High," and resuscitated his legend with "Let it Be," and solo albums by George Harrison and John Lennon. Like Wolfe, Williams didn't expose the intimate detail of Spector's childhood, nor report on Spector's outrageous behaviors, resulting in more of a caricature than a portrait. The book became quite scarce (trading at $100 or more) until it was reprinted in 2003.
Williams' portrait stood until 1989, when Ribowsky wrote an explosively detailed biography. Ribowsky explored the details of Spector's childhood, including the family dynamics and the lifelong impact of Ben Spector's suicide.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not an easy read due to Spectors life sad, but definitely worth reading. Learned a lot of out the music I grew up with, the song writers and the man behind the music!Published 1 month ago by Kim Zimmerman
This is a book you won't be able to put down once you get started reading it!!! I didn't know anything at all about the personal life of Mr. Read morePublished 4 months ago by terry caldwell
Having read several books on Phil Spector as well as "Be My Baby" by Ronnie Spector and "My Name Is Love" by Darlene Love I figured I'd read another, newer Spector... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Stormsurger
Well written, good research. Just a sad story.
Spector pulled a gun on LOTS of people over decades. It's a shame none of them pressed charges. Read more
i really liked it ,but im 66 yrs old this was my era i found out stuff ididnot know wish there was more about the groups and recording sessionsPublished 16 months ago by Nels Johnson
This is a tremendous book! It gives a very detailed and complete look at not just Phil Spector, but of all the music and culture of his era. It is a fascinating, well written read. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Amazon User #1