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Mick Brown: Tearing Down the Wall of Sound: The Rise and Fall of Phil Spector (Knopf)

Book Review

By Steven Rosen · October 17th, 2007 · Lit
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  MICK BROWN -- TEARING DOWN THE WALL OF SOUND: THE RISE AND FALL OF PHIL SPECTOR
MICK BROWN -- TEARING DOWN THE WALL OF SOUND: THE RISE AND FALL OF PHIL SPECTOR



In December 2002, the reclusive, deeply weird record producer Phil Spector allowed British journalist Mick Brown into his castle in Alhambra, Calif., for a remarkably candid, scary interview.

Spector was the creator of his Philles record company's densely symphonic "Wall of Sound," the foundation of such famous early-1960s Pop hits as "He's a Rebel," "Be My Baby" and "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'." But by the time of Brown's visit, Spector mostly was a faded memory to the public; he hadn't done anything important for decades. During an all-nighter, Spector confided, "I have devils inside that fight me. And I'm my own worst enemy." It took Brown until Feb. 1 to get his article published as the cover story in the Daily Telegraph magazine, under the headline: "Found: Pop's Lost Genius." Early on the morning of Feb. 3, 2003, actress Lana Clarkson was discovered shot to death in that same castle after accompanying Spector home. The producer, more lost than ever, was back in the news big-time. For all his knowledge about Spector, Brown can't go psychologically deep in figuring him out. But he certainly is good at imposing some chronological order and journalistic clarity on Spector's messy, once flamboyantly busy and then secretive life. And there are some interesting observations about why Spector turned out so troubled. Spector himself ponders the genetic impact of his parents' being first cousins. Alcoholism took its toll. There is also the fact his father committed suicide when Spector was 9 years old. But the cavalcade of lives that Spector touched, for better or worse, is just amazing. (Steven Rosen) Grade: B

 
 
 
 

 

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