Tearing Down the Wall of Sound

  • by Mick Brown
  • Narrated by Ray Porter
  • 17 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Phil Spector, born in the Bronx in 1940, grew up an outsider despised by his peers. Yet after his family moved to California, he learned everything he could about music, formed a band, and had a number-one hit with "To Know Him Is to Love Him". He quickly became the top producer of early rock and roll and the originator of such girl groups as the Ronettes. He was a millionaire by age 21 and owned his own record label by 22. Hit followed hit, and for all of them he used a new recording style and technique called the "wall of sound". But the reign of the boy-man who owned pop music seemed doomed by the "British Invasion", and Spector spiraled into paranoid isolation and peculiar behavior. Though he seemed to improve for a time, and even returned to the recording studio to work, his renascence didn't last, and in 2003, the actress Lana Clarkson was found at his home, dead from a gunshot wound.


What the Critics Say

Nominee, 2008 Audie Award, Biography/Memoir
"Bloodcurdling....This book would feel like a crime story even if its subject were not currently on trial for Ms. Clarkson's murder." (The New York Times)
"[This] uber-detailed study of pop's scariest visionary is just about as good as a music bio can get." (Kirkus Reviews)
"[A] remarkable book about, among other things, fame, obsession, genius, money and madness....This is the definitive study of the man and the myth that engulfed him." (Observer)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Descent Into Madness

This book is fascinating and I could not stop listening to this.
This is an incredible well researched book, that tries to portray a history of very complex man. Phil Spector worked with some of the most seminal musicians of the 20th century.
I have to echo the thoughts of a previous members review, it would have been great to have snippets of the music mentioned in the book playing in the background. I would look up the songs on the Internet to become familiar with the music. A complex man who finally succumbed to his demons, as talented as he was it is no excuse for his actions.
A cautionary tale for those who live in Ivory towers and have no real friends to point out that they need help. This is not a book about Lara Clarkson, and this is only mentioned in the afterword. This is a book about confronting the dark side of genius and the madness of a wounded soul.

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- Chris


Clearly bonkers, but his life sadly echoes one of his favourite films, Citizen Kane.
The only thing that could have improved this reading would be to have the songs playing in the background as they are being described, so get yourself a copy of Back to Mono as you listen to this.
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- Adrian

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-01-2007
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.