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Tearing down the Wall of Sound: The Rise and Fall of Phil Spectorby Mick Brown
Synopses & Reviews
“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 (U.K.)
With a number-one hit at age eighteen, a millionaire with his own label by twenty-two, and proclaimed by Tom Wolfe “The First Tycoon of Teen,” Phil Spector owned pop culture, his roster as a producer including the Ronettes, the Righteous Brothers, Ike and Tina Turner, the Beatles, then John Lennon and George Harrison, as well as Leonard Cohen and the Ramones. But in the spring of 2007, he stands trial for murder.
A spectacularly troubled genius, Spector created with the “Wall of Sound” music never heard before, from “Be My Baby” and “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” to “Imagine” and “My Sweet Lord.” He suffered poorly the quantum shifts in rock and roll—not to mention the loss of his friends Lenny Bruce and John Lennon—growing ever more reclusive and abusive. By the turn of this century, however, he was not only sober but also attracted to new bands who knew his reputation, good and bad, all too well. Then, in February 2003, he leapt back into the headlines when Lana Clarkson, an actress, was found dead by gunshot in his Los Angeles mansion.
Only weeks before, Spector had granted Mick Brown the first major interview he’d given in twenty-five years—the seed for this definitive, mesmerizing biography of a man who first became a king, then something else altogether.
Drawing on the first major interview with the legendary record producer, control freak, and recluse, a journalist offers a unique portrait inside the world of troubled genius Phil Spector, from his integral involvement in the early years of such rock legends as Ike and Tina Turner, the Ronettes, and the Beatles to his 2007 trial for the murder of actress Lana Clarkson. 60,000 first printing.
He had a number one hit at eighteen. He was a millionaire with his own record label at twenty-two. He was, according to Tom Wolfe, the first tycoon of teen. Phil Spector owned pop music.From the Crystals, the Ronettes (whose lead singer, Ronnie, would become his second wife), and the Righteous Brothers to the Beatles (together and singly) and finally the seventies punk icons The Ramones, Spector producedhit after hit. But then he became pop music's most famous recluse. Until one day in the spring of 2007, when his name hit the tabloids, connected to a horrible crime. In Tearing Down the Wall of Sound, Mick Brown, who was the last journalist to interview Spector before his arrest, tells the full story of the troubled musical genius.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
About the Author
Born in London in 1950, Mick Brown is a journalist, broadcaster, and the author of four previous books. His article on Phil Spector was published in The Telegraph just two days before Lana Clarkson was found dead in the “castle” where he’d interviewed him only two months earlier.
Table of Contents
"Mr. Spector likes people to walk up" — "It was Philip who was moving fastest" — "To know him is to love him" — On Broadway — "A big hoot and howl" — "They all thought he was a genius" — Building the wall of sound — "He wanted to be thought of as interesting" — Little symphonies for the kids — Going to the chapel — "The wall of sound, it kinda sounds tired" — "The last word in tomorrow's sound today" — "A giant stands 5'7"" — River deep, mountain low — Marriage in purgatory — "Out there, but in a beautiful way" — The lonely bird in the gilded cage — With the Beatles — "These are pretty wild sessions, they get pretty out there" — "Let's take five" — "Leonard, I love you-- " — "Thank you, folks--have a good life" — "A case that no one can reach" — "Between grief and nothing, I will take grief" — "I honestly thought he was kidding" — "You don't tell Mozart what operas to write" — "Anybody have a calculator?" — "He wanted to prove he really was human" — "It's very difficult, very difficult to be reasonable" — "I think I killed somebody-- " — "A genius is not there all the time".
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