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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars lovely, 10 Sept. 2005
By 
Chris Dardis - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Back To Mono 1958 - 1969 (Audio CD)
Respect due here to one of the most innovative producers in history. I'm no expert, but comparing some of the charting pop that was being released 5 years prior to this and see if he didn't bring something fantastically new into studio technique. Not usually a huge fan of music from the era but there are some songs on this that still give me shivers up my spine. The lyrics regarding love (that'll be most of them) may give you shivers for another reason - surely people couldn't have been that innocent? The blind joyousness and unbridled positivity give the music a strangely menacing air of ompending violence - well chosen for gangster films.
And there's a sassysharp essay by Tom Wolfe in the booklet.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Wall of Sound at it's Best, 28 May 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Back To Mono 1958 - 1969 (Audio CD)
A real treat for fans of the Spector"Wall of Sound" covering the years 1958-1969,this boxed set just scratches the surface of the tremendous output of this leagedry producer,who did so much to shape the sound of popular music in the sixty's, and who's influence, can still be heard in todays music.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb compilation of Spector's best loved hits., 25 April 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Back To Mono 1958 - 1969 (Audio CD)
Contains all the most popular Spector singles and is broad enough in its selection not to disappoint (though some might point to the absence of the Righteous Brothers 'Hung on You'). The inclusion of the Christmas Album is an added bonus which makes the set even more enjoyable.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully packaged pop perfection from a criminally under-represented genius, 31 July 2008
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This review is from: Back To Mono 1958 - 1969 (Audio CD)
The other reviews here pretty much sum up what I wanted to say: this is perfect pop music from one of the most important and influential figures of all time. In my opinion, Phil Spector is just as crucial to the development of pop music as the Beatles, Stones, Beach Boys etc etc- if not more. The packaging of this box set is wonderful with a lovely book featuring complete lyrics, a couple of fantastic essays on Spector and his music, and lots of gorgeous pictures of both the man himself the artists he produced. The whole package is really lovingly assembled and it's great to see Spector and the artists finally getting the respect they deserve. If like me you're in love with this music and this era, this box set is a real treat. Some people have complained about the remastering but personally I think the sound quality is excellent; it sounds far more authentic in mono, and plus I'm not sure these songs would have the same charm if they were cleaned up and made to sound like they were recorded yesterday. I like the fact that they sound old!

Having said all of that, I think it's absolutley criminal - especially if you're only a casual fan - that the only way to enjoy this fantastic, era-defining music is either by buying the 'Definitive Collection' compilation (okay, but nowhere near enough tracks!), or by shelling out ludicrous amounts of money for this out-of-print box set- I have seen copies on offer at nearly £90! I was lucky to get my copy of this fairly cheap on Marketplace (an absolute bargain at £30!), but with so many modern artists (hello Amy Winehouse) so obviously influenced by the 60s girl-group sound associated with Spector, there really ought to be a readily available, decently priced anthology of this wonderful, wonderful music. Even with bands like the Ronettes who are really quite famous, there's no comprehensive, properly compiled, widely available albums anywhere that I can see. It's a real shame, especially for younger fans like myself who weren't around to enjoy this amazing sound at the time.

Anyway, rant over. If you like music, you need Spector's stuff in some shape or form- and for the time being, this set is your best bet.Perhaps a bit too much for a casual fan but if you love this - or in fact, any - music, you're in for a real treat. It's expensive but boy is it worth it. Grab it while you can.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mind blowing stuff, 4 Jan. 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Back To Mono 1958 - 1969 (Audio CD)
Got this set for Christmas and was transported back to a time when music stopped you in your tracks with its true originality and verve.
Anyone who thinks they know Phil's hits should get this set of CDs to hear all the best known ones and some that are rarely heard but are wonderful for their innocence, power and emotion.
The bonus Christmas album reminds you what Christmas pop "hits" should sound like.
Brilliant, brilliant stuff - get it you won't be disappointed.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars better than vinyl, 22 Jan. 2006
By 
mark tatton (biddulph, staffs United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Back To Mono 1958 - 1969 (Audio CD)
I once owned a very similar, if not identical vinyl album that bought me many hours of enjoyment. Trying to replace this became a nightmare until I discovered this gem. No remakes with ageing artists and cheap production, these tracks are the real mcoy and a must for any spectre fan. The christmas album is an added bonus, the book and the overall packaging the icing on the cake.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Standing the test of time, 18 Dec. 2000
By A Customer
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This review is from: Back To Mono 1958 - 1969 (Audio CD)
Absolutely brilliant!!!! The tunes on the four albums included in this collection will never go out of fashion. Phil Spector knew how to write a haunting lyric, and the artists involved certainly knew how to sing them. This album contained all my favourites from 'The Wall of Sound', especially those by the Ronettes and the Crystals. The Christmas album is a welcome addition to this collection at this time of year!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic producer of the early sixties, 8 Nov. 2004
By 
Peter Durward Harris "Pete the music fan" (Leicester England) - See all my reviews
(No. 1 Hall OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Back to Mono (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. He occasionally returned to production (notably on Let it be) but things were never the same again. It didn't help that the Supremes and Four Tops eventually had a big hit with a cover of River deep mountain high.

The Christmas album was something of a revolution in its time, at least where Christmas music was concerned, although all that Phil Spector actually did was apply his normal production style to Christmas music. The Crystals sing brilliant, energetic versions of Santa Claus is coming to town, Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer and Parade of the wooden soldiers. The Ronettes are equally brilliant on Frosty the snowman, Sleigh ride and I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus. Bob B Soxx and the Blue Jeans also excel on Bells of St Mary's and Here comes Santa Claus. Darlene Love sings four songs here. Christmas (Baby please come home) is the only original song here. White Christmas includes the rarely heard verse about being in Beverley Hills. The other two, Marshmallow world and Winter wonderland, are also outstanding. The closing Silent night is just a series of spoken acknowledgements set to a backing track. Don't worry about that - the twelve songs that go before set the standard for Christmas rock albums when it was first recorded and still do, because nobody has bettered it in the forty years since.

This is a brilliant boxed set and a fitting tribute to one of the most important producers in pop music history.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pop music really was more fun before the Beatles!, 29 Dec. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Back To Mono 1958 - 1969 (Audio CD)
Phil Spector's terrifyingly complex, never-bettered production techniques produced pop-records that sounded like a thousand drunken angels singing in a subway tunnel. This wonderful box set is a must for any fan of quality pop music and a timely reminder that 'manufactured' pop music does not have to be devoid of heart, wit, soul or invention.
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5.0 out of 5 stars You can't take away his acheivements!, 14 April 2009
By 
Ms. Felicia Davis-burden (Staines, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Back To Mono 1958 - 1969 (Audio CD)
It has always been common knowledge that Phil was a 'problematic' person. We know that.

Here is the proof that he was the greatest Pop Music producer ever. The hits are every bit as overwhelming, outrageous and ravishingly beautiful as they must have sounded when they were first unleashed way back! River Deep, Lovin' Feeling, De Doo Ron Ron, Walking in the rain etc.

Let's hope that Spector is not banned from radio. Can you imagine the airwaves without all these, Let It Be and Long & Winding Road, Imagine and Jealous Guy, My Sweet Lord, Unchained Melody?

Wear your 'Back to Mono' badge with pride and play the music loud. Because the music matters more than anything now that Spector is no longer working. Thanks for the memories, and bye bye Phil.
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Back To Mono 1958 - 1969 by Phil Spector (Audio CD - 2003)
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