About this title:
“ 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.
"[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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