Tearing Down The Wall of Sound

Tearing Down The Wall of Sound : The Rise and Fall of Phil Spector

3.93 (630 ratings by Goodreads)
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In December 2002 Phil Spector - legendary record producer, legendary control freak, legendary recluse - sat down on a sofa in his Los Angeles castle and gave his first major interview for twenty-five years. The journalist he talked to was Mick Brown. Shortly afterwards, Phil Spector was arrested for murder. Over the course of that day, Spector spoke with extraordinary candour about his life and career; his mercurial rise to become the most successful record producer of the sixties; the genius thathad been both a blessing and a curse; his creation of a sound never before heard in music; his trademark 'Wall of Sound'; his fragile mental state and his years on the brink of insanity. 'I've been a very tortured soul', said Spector. 'I have not been happy. I have devils inside that fight me'. The interview with Spector (described by MOJO as 'one of the most famous interviews in rock journalism') appeared as a cover story in the Telegraph magazine on 1 February 2003. Twenty-four hours later, a Hollywood actress named Lana Clarkson was shot dead in Spector's castle. Phil Spector was immediately arrested, and later released on $1m bail to await trial.
Tearing Down the Wall of Sound is Mick Brown's personal odyssey into the heart of the strange life and times of Phil Spector. Beginning with that fateful meeting in Spector's home, and recounting the story of his colourful life and career, including the unfolding of the Clarkson case, this is one of the most bizarre and compelling stories in the annals of pop music.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 512 pages
  • 152 x 234 x 44mm | 861.82g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • Revised ed.
  • 0747591547
  • 9780747591542

Review quote

"[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."
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About Mick Brown

Mick Brown is a freelance journalist, broadcaster who has written extensively on pop music and culture for a wide variety of British and American publications. He is currently senior writer on the Telegraph magazine. He is the author of several books, including: Richard Branson: The Authorised Biography, Heartbeat: Travels from Woodstock to San Jose by Song Title (shortlisted for the Thomas Cook Prize for best travel book in 1994), The Spiritual Tourist, the Bloomsbury Movie Guide to Performance, and The Dance of 17 Lives: The Incredible True Story of Tibet's 17th Karmapa.
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Rating details

630 ratings
3.93 out of 5 stars
5 26% (164)
4 46% (292)
3 23% (145)
2 4% (24)
1 1% (5)
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