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Tearing Down The Wall of Sound: The Rise And Fall of Phil Spector by [Brown, Mick]
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Tearing Down The Wall of Sound: The Rise And Fall of Phil Spector Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Length: 560 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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"[A] riveting tale. An inquiry into music, ego and their interface, "Tearing Down the Wall of Sound" clears dust from rooms long shuttered, shedding light on a self-dramatizing, disturbed and disturbing man who fashioned a uniquely powerful rock cannon . . . . Brown has succeeded not only in tracing his subject's art but also in fleshing out what made Harvey Philip Spector singularly bizarre . . . In shedding light on those devils, [he] explains a unique, powerful body of work and the sinister genius behind it." --Carlo Wolff, "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution" "["Tearing Down the Wall of Sound"] is essential background reading as the Tycoon of Teen's trial goes into full swing." --"Time Out Chicago" "A fascinating, detailed look at the life and career of one of the biggest names in music. It's a study not just of Spector's mental problems but of how he was able to use his obsessions to create some of the most memorable and influential music in history . . . It's a great portrait of where genius and madness meet." --Mark Brown, "Rocky Mountain News" "An intimate portrait of the songwriter and producer . . . Brown's passionate analysis of Spector's body of work elevate what could have been a gossipy tell-all to a gripping anecdotal portrait of a musical genius crippled by lifelong emotional problems." --Sara Cardace, "The Washington Post Book World" "Be grateful you're not on the jury so you can read it now." --Chris Willman, "Entertainment Weekly "(Grade: A-) "Seeing Phil Spector on trial . . . you can't help but wonder how the knob-twiddling genius behind the biggest hits of the 1960s ended up here--and in a yellow wig to boot. "Tearing Down theWall of Sound" does a fine job of tracing that." --Brian Braiker, "Newsweek" "[It's the] combination of dogged reportage and music savvy that makes this one of the most compelling, memorable rock-'n'-roll biographies in recent memory . . . Brown, a keen analyst, rightfully makes a case that Spector's most important and influential work was "unbelievably" important and influential, [and this] passionate, uber-detailed study of pop's scariest visionary is just about as good as a music bio can get." --"Kirkus," starred review "A thorough and elegantly readable account of Spector's life." --Joe Boyd, "The Guardian" "A beautifully balanced account of Phil Spector's life . . . his charm, his repartee, his sometimes staggering generosity; as well as the insecurities, his serial duplicity in love and business and the attacks on those closest to him . . . [Brown] draws the reader into Spector's inner darkness, and evokes the rush of his famous Wall of Sound . . . Spector's story now awaits its conclusion. Everything points toward it being a tragic one. It is perhaps only humane to be reminded here of his spectacular gifts to the world through his music." --Andrew Perry, "The Telegraph" "[A] brilliant biography." --Paul Connolly, "The Evening Standard" "One of the reasons why Brown's book is a more satisfying read than Ribowski's lies in his unshakeable respect for his subject's work . . . His diagnosis of why 'River Deep Mountain High' is more impressive than lovable is a fascinating insight into The Wall's last hurrah. His appreciation of the way Spector adapted his monolithic approach when working with John Lennon and George Harrison on their early soloalbums corrects the received wisdom that he was a one-trick pony." --Robert Sandall, "The Sunday Times" ""Tearing Down the Wall of Sound" has a rare and wonderful mix of dogged research and vivid storytelling. Virtually every page carries a tale of farce or horror, or, more often than not, both." --Craig Brown, "Mail on Sunday" ""Tearing Down the Wall of Sound" is a remarkable book about, among other things, fame, obsession, genius, money and madness. It paints the fullest picture yet of a man who, whether creating some of the greatest pop music of all time, or destroying the lives of those closest to him, seems to have existed in a continuous state of mental agitation. The Phil Spector story still awaits its ending. In the meantime, this is the definitive study of the man, and the myth that engulfed him." -Sean O'Hagan, "The Observer" "From the Hardcover edition."

Telegraph, April 5th 2008

`Spector, his associates insist, has two distinct personalities. This exemplary biography, updated to cover the murder trial, gives both a careful hearing.'

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2851 KB
  • Print Length: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing; 1 edition (17 Oct. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004PYDB8K
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #286,584 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback
When I started writing this review, I intended to give the book only four stars. This was because I lost interest and stopped reading at the point when Spector virtually stopped producing, i.e. after the Ramones album. (All sympathy to the many who suffered Spector's excesses, especially Ronnie Spector and of course Lana Clarkson, but I could not maintain sufficient enthusiasm to read the long saga of the two decades of reclusion leading up to Lana Clarkson's murder.) To be fair to an excellent biography, I have to give it five stars.

I would highly recommend this book to music buffs, but particularly to fans of the Wall of Sound. Mick Brown is obviously a fan, and he devotes a lot of the book to the genesis of the technique. It would be very easy just to concentrate on the titanic sound, the Wall itself, but Brown takes time to show that the lyrics of many of the songs present just as idealised a picture of love (whether found or lost) as any other love songs of the 60s. He suggests that only in the songs could Spector find happiness; for example, the message of the love between him and Ronnie in Be My Baby and Baby I Love You lives forever in the recordings, whereas the relationship started to go pear-shaped as soon as they were married.

I thought I knew a fair amount about Spector, but Mick Brown filled in several gaps.
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Format: Paperback
'Tearing Down the Wall of Sound - The Rise and Fall of Phil Spector' is an up-to-date, even-handed and interesting biographical analysis of the man who brought us such 60s musical classics as 'Be My Baby,' 'You've Lost That Lovin Feeling' and 'River Deep, Mountain High' but who increasingly in his latter years become as much known for his eccentricities as for his musical legacy, culminating in his trial for the murder of model and actress Lana Clarkson in 2007.

The book starts in 2002 and Brown's interview with Spector for the Daily Telegraph, just weeks before the incident which eventuated in Miss Clarson's demise and ends with the trial which Brown frames as almost the logical conclusion to a life lead in an increasingly bizarre fashion. The middle section of the book, which takes up the larger part of the narrative, charts Spector's life up to that fateful encounter with Lana Clarkson.

A precocious Spector is shown emerging professionally in the late 1950s as a new era is dawning in popular music. Spector is the little nebbish Jewish kid and social outcast made good. The young man escaping from a unhappy childhood: living without a father, as a consequence of an unexplained suicide, and raised by a an over-protective mother. The picture which emerges in the book is that the well-spring of Spector's genius - the famous 'wall of sound' recordings which has influenced everyone from Brian Wilson to Bruce Springsteen to Jim Steinman to Glas Vegas - is the same source which has lead to Spector's demise.
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Format: Hardcover
This is one of the finest biographies of it's type. The music industry is easy to write about, but difficult to write well, and this is one of the very best. Full of relevant details without be over fussy, and without listing every incident in chronological order in an encyclopaedic way. Reads like a novel. Highly recommended, even if Phil Spector is not really your scene
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mick Brown is a sterling writer, both as an author and a journalist. He tackles his subject here with ferocious insight and intelligence. Phil Spector, whose ability as a music producer sits in the highest place, is also a dark personality riddled with self-doubt and a measure of self-loathing that descends to the lowest levels. Ego on his scale is disturbingly chaotic and tends to threaten a peaceful order that the overwhelming majority of us subscribe to. But this ego has given birth to some of the most uplifting sounds in the pop pantheon. Mick Brown tells this story on a measured way, taking the reader through the fascinating but loopy career of the man whose mantra was that he wanted to give the world "little symphonies for the kids."
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Format: Hardcover
Those familiar with Mick Brown's work for the Daily Telegraph or his earlier books (in particular The Spiritual Tourist) will have an idea of what to expect. Intelligent, thoughtful and stylish writing of the highest order. Mick manages to cram the book with myriad facts, while never seeming to make it information heavy, but he also never loses sight of his subject. Unlike many biographers, Mick places Spector within the broad sweep of his life and times while simultaneously showing him to be a three dimensional character. From the earliest pages Spector, a man who many of us think we know but in reality what we know is rumour and tittle-tattle, becomes more than just a name, a reputation and a myth - he becomes a real person. This book will standout for many years to come as one of the single best biographies about a musician, or for that matter a man or woman from whatever walk of life.
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