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

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  608 Ratings  ·  63 Reviews
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 ...more
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Published June 5th 2007 by Vintage (first published 2007)
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Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally here.)

You would think that a person could do no wrong by penning a biography of infamous record producer and gun-brandishing recluse Phil Spector -- after all, the man either wrote or engineered a huge amount of what we now consider the "classic rock" hits of the 1950s and '60s; then near the end of his pra
Jill Hutchinson
I am a great fan of Phil Spector's music productions, especially the songs of the Ronettes and the Crystals. When the infamous murder trial became news I was reminded that he had pretty much dropped from sight for a number of years and was curious to find out more about his strange and troubled life. This book fills in most of the blanks.

This was written as the first trial, which ended in a hung jury, was in progress, although I have heard that the book was updated after the second trial resulte
Jan 01, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who want to know what the heck happened to Phil Spector
Here's a passage from the book--from 1977 when Phil Spector was in the studio producing a new album for Leonard Cohen--which pretty much sums it up:

"Cohen recognized what Spector himself, and a few around him, were not prepared to acknowledge or admit--that Spector was not merely eccentric but seriously disturbed."

I also found a Newsweek pictorial of his hairstyles over the years, "Hairdo Ron Ron":
Jan 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, scandal, music
I have a hard time thinking of anyone who makes my skin crawl more than Phil Spector: he was known for his megalomania, outrageous behavior, and for being one of the biggest jerks in an industry where they replicate inconsiderate, soul-sucking assholes in Petri dishes for fun and profit. Author Mick Brown took on a Herculean task, just trying to shovel his way through the Augean stables of Spector's life, where double-dealing in business, betrayed ex-wives and ex-girlfriends, studio machinations ...more
Craig Johnson
Dec 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliance, Guns and Harmony. Even before the whole accidental murder of Lana Clarkson there were a handful of stories about how Spector would brandish guns at people, but we mortals only got to hear about the more famous targets: John Lennon, Leonard Cohen, the Ramones. What is truly amazing is that there are a few dozen more stories out there from musicians, houseguests, girlfriends, and random passerbys who got to stare at the little freak aiming a gun at them. It would be easy for someone to ...more
Lee Anne
I need an update! This book was written after the death of Lana Clarkson, but before the two trials that would send Spector to prison. After watching David Mamet's made for HBO hagiography of Phil Spector (sadly, ironically, starring Al Pacino, whom Spector always longed to have portray him in a movie of his life), I felt the need to "read more about it." This biography provided a portrait of the sad, insecure man that is Phil Spector, and how he came to his downfall.

Aside from wishing it went
It was a fascinating read. I have heard whispered stories for years about Spector because I am a fan of John Lennon, The Ramones, Darlene Love and Leonard Cohen.Here are a lot of the stories pieced together in one place. Too bad the book doesn't make it as far as his actual murder trial-that would have been fascinating. Anyway, when it is all said and done, he is responsible for some of the most influential sounds of the 20th century.What a waste of talent. As a woman, I am saddened by his lack ...more
Chris Craddock
Instant Karma

I just finished reading Tearing Down the Wall of Sound by Mick Brown. It is a fascinating account of the life of legendary producer Phil Spector, and it ends with his conviction for the murder of Lana Clarkson, for which he was sentenced 19 years to life. Mick Brown interviewed Phil Spector soon before the murder occurred. It was the first interview of Phil Spector in 25 years. It is very possible that the interview played a factor, stirring up the demons that had been dormant for m
John Frazier
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just as Jon Berendt's classic "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" began as an assignment for Esquire magazine, Mick Brown's "Tearing Down the Wall of Sound" has as its genesis a similar assignment for the magazine Daily Telegraph. And, just as "Midnight" evolved into something exponentially larger and more fascinating when Jim Williams' boy toy ends up dead in the Savannah mansion of the protagonist shortly after the article ran, "Tearing Down the Wall" began its real deconstruction of Phi ...more
Brendan Miller
Jun 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A bit slow in the beginning when going over his family's history but picks up quickly and doesn't let up.

One of the slowest books I've ever read because several times a chapter I wound up looking up songs and people on youtube. Very detailed!
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Mick Brown (born 1950 in London) is a journalist who has written for several British newspapers, including The Guardian and The Sunday Times and for international publications. For many years he has contributed regularly to The Telegraph. He is also a broadcaster and the author of several books
More about Mick Brown...