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on 1 April 2014
Well it soon became apparent, when reading this book, that Tony Visconti is much more than a producer. With his amazing ability to quickly arrange instruments, score strings, and recognise chords, (something maybe even Todd "the god" Rundgren might not have the aural skills for!), I'm seriously wondering if he could be "the best"?!?!

In fact, it raised a serious question about a particular interest of mine. For years we heard about David Bowie being a genius (and he is of course), knowing "so much about music". The we learned that it was in fact Mick Ronson who should take a lot of the credit. Now this book had made me pause again, wondering how much Tony Visconti is responsible for the incomparable sound and atmosphere of Bowie's classic albums? Will we ever know?!

Whichever way you look at it, Visconti is VERY intelligent, and a genius in his own right. Whilst I don't care for many of the other artists he's worked with over the years, his contribution to Bowie's and Bolan's careers is immeasurable.

The book pitches the "technical side" absolutely perfectly. It lets you know a producer does more than tiwiddle a few knobs, and gives you an idea as to the kind of problems faced, but without blinding you with science.

He is very candid about his own drug participation, although I did wonder at times is he was playing it down a little. Either way, I'm not going to judge him on that, because (as he says) it was a recreational thing which he refused to let impinge on his work duties. (Unlike the majority of the artists he was producing!)

He does not "slag" anyone off for the sake of it. Any criticisms are well-founded and explained. True, Marc Bolan is no longer here to defend himself, but I have heard so many reports from other sources over the years, that it's all credible. In any event, I don't think anbody could ever deny Bolan was more into "being a star" than being a musical trailblazer!

The book is littered with odd, almost trivial facts about all kinds of facts and incidents (musical and non-musical), but they are just downright interesting! He has an excellent grasp of what the reader, music fan or not, might not know but appreciate knowing. Likewise, it was great to hear his take on things he found strange about the UK, things which we take for granted. In fact, as his "adopted home" he actually thanks Britain at the end of the book, which I thought was a nice touch.

The only thing that marred the book, for me, was reading about his forays into some New Age Group Awareness codswallop (similar to E.S.T.), and how he tried to involve others in it. I think he's come to his senses a little since that escapade, but it was enough to make me think he (maybe) wasn't as intelligent as I'd thought. Whatever, he' s still streets ahead of Joe Public though!
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on 7 April 2017
I've been a full on David Bowie fan for years, so it was no surprise to read Tony's autobiography,the man responsible for producing some of David's best work. Years ago I was an avid T. rex fan so it was great to read how they all met. This is a very interesting book and Tony writes it in a frank and honest way.
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on 27 March 2017
Expected more really. It felt like he didnt really remember that well and so made stuff up to fill in the blanks. The exchanges he discussed didnt feel like they were conversations between real people. Some of the Bowie stuff contradicted information i already knew,
all a bit unsatisfying, A shame because there are so many Bowei biogs out there that are clearly inaccurate and someone who was with him so much could have shed real light.
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on 4 March 2017
INTERESTING AND VERY 60 TO 80'S TIME
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on 10 October 2016
What a great read, enthralling stuff from start to finish by an original producer who helped shape glam rock and pop of the 70s to present day.
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on 26 May 2017
Great book... speedy delivery.
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on 11 April 2017
This is a really excellent read. A 'warts and all' account from one of the top record producers of his generation, who has worked with some illustrious artists. Worth reading just for the David Bowie stories, although there was so much more to Tony Visconti's career. Written in 2007, it could well do with some extra chapters to bring it up to date.
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on 25 June 2007
I enjoyed reading this, however, it does tail off after the first couple of hundred pages. As a previous reviewer notes, the 80s until now is almost presented in list form.

I would have liked to have read Visconti's views on some of the technical aspects of the records he produced, and some of the details of the recordings of the Bowie and Bolan material is limited to material which has been covered before. Indeed he has disclosed more information in interviews for publicising the book than sometimes appears in it! (And material such as Bowie's displeasure with Visconti due to an 80s interview is not mentioned at all.)

It is an enjoyable and easy read, but it seems like an overview. I gained little insight into his production techniques and what he brings to records he produces. It is no fluke that he has worked on some seminal works, so what are his philosophies and techniques?

There are occasional insights which are interesting and it is nice to hear some of his views, and he comes across as a flawed but likeable character, it is a shame that not all of the many stories he must have make it onto the page.
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on 25 August 2007
Being such a fan of the major records produced by Tony Viconti, I was really looking forward to this book, to get an insight into his production and hear his many interesting tales of the artists he has worked with. Unfortunately, what I got from this book was a rather dull rant about how brilliant Bowie was, how awful Bolan was, and how he was the angel caught in amongst all of this.

I am quite sure Bolan could be a pain in the backside, especially when drugs were added to the equation, but the whole thing smacked of 'he's not here to defend himself so let's let rip'.If he was that bad, why was tony such a friend to him? It bugged me. And David Bowie was a saint in comparison according to tony- funny that, because the two fell out massively in the 80s which is not mentioned at all here, and his glowing praise for David seemed to be mr. visconti sucking up.

Tony visconti unfortunately, to me, came across as, although very talented, rather 'bitchy' and boring. The story of his life has intereseting moments, but it is not written in a fluent or easily followed style. I would reccommend listening to the amazing work he has produced, and not read his biased, rather dull, and frankly egotistical autobiography.
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on 22 February 2016
Upon starting to read this book, I had some reservations about just how interesting it might be. Would a producer’s autobiography focus too much on the mechanics of recording? Or would the fact that Visconti has worked on so many different albums (many of which I have never heard) mean that there would be long stretches of the book that I would fail to connect with?

I’m happy to say that my concerns were completely unfounded. Visconti writes in such an open and frank way that he manages to keep the reader’s attention throughout and this book will appeal to music fans and serious musicians in equal measure. Also, he very sensibly realizes which aspects of his career will be of most interest to the public and considerably more space is devoted to the likes of David Bowie and T-Rex than it is to long forgotten acts.

Perhaps the biggest complement I can pay to this book though is that, as well as finding it thoroughly entertaining in its own right, it also encouraged me to discover (or rediscover) a lot of the music that it discusses. This applies not only to the classic Bowie albums, but also to work from such varied artists as U2, Sparks, Morrissey and Paul McCartney among others.

This book is a must-read for anyone interested in the history of rock music.
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