Saturday, March 31, 2007

My pal Mick Brown's book on Phil Spector is out this week and I urge anyone interested in music, the man, and in particular the fascinating human being that is Phil Spector to get a copy. I will post a more fulsome review later because I'm still reading it, but it is already proving to be not just the definitive work on the man, but one of the best books on music I've ever read. Mick is a brilliant writer at the best of times and he's surpassed even his own high standards.

Mick interviewed Spector in December 2002, the legendary recluse's first in 25 years. Six weeks or so later Spector was arrested on suspicion of murdering a small time actress named Lana Clarkson and that trial is about to commence in Los Angeles. Ironically twenty-four hours before the alleged murder Mick's article appeared in the Daily Telegraph Magazine. As the book's publicity states, '"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 mercurial life and career, including the unfolding of the Clarkson case and its aftermath, this is one of the most bizarre and compelling stories in the annals of pop music.'

You can get it HERE


r morris said...

Sounds like a fascinating book, Richard. I'll have to check it out.
I always kind of liked Spector's Wall of Sound. And as much as Paul McCartney complained about the producing on 'Let It Be', he never really went back to the lean approach on songs such as 'Long and Winding Road' and 'Across the Universe'.
On a lighter note, until Phil got his hair cut, I think he may have been right up there with Donald Trump for wierdest hair on the planet. I guess we'd need to throw Muhammad Ali's old manager, Don King, in there, but I'm pretty sure he has passed on to the big boxing ring in the sky.
Question for you--Which album do you think has the most musical integrity---LET IT BE or LET IT BE, NAKED?
Also, John Lennon once commented on how the Stones always copied the Beatles' new innovations (he may have had a point). However, didn't 'You Can't Always Get What You Want' come before 'Long and Winding Road' and 'Universe'? And who came up with the brilliant idea of using a boys' choir for that song? I know they were planning on using a gospel choir, but ended up with this boys' choir. Do you think the Beatles/Spector copied the Stones on this one?
Good post!
Back at you--

Richard Havers said...


It wasn't a boy’s choir as such. It was a mix of men and woman. Bill Wyman has the only known picture of that recording.

Overall I think it was as often as not, neither the Beatles or the Stones that necessarily were first. Often things were in the 'ether' and who recorded them 'first' was often a mote point.

Bill Wyman has always said that the Beatles were the best in the studio whereas the Stones were best on stage. I think that in its own way agrees with Lennon.

I've never even bothered to listen to Let It Be Naked. To me the album was the album that came out. I'm not one for revisionism in anything!

r morris said...

That seems a fair statement--Beatles better studio group, Stones better performers. I never saw the Beatles in concert, but I have seen the Stones, just last year, and they continue to put on an electifying, highly-personal show.
The Beatles, after about 1965, simply could not duplicate their studio sound on the road. The Stones continue to play their stuff incredibly true in live shows.
Thanks for the interesting info.
I don't think I've ever seen a pic of the choir. Maybe in the next book. :)

Richard Havers said...

Just had this from Mick.....

And there's no doubt that the Spectorised Let It Be is the only version worth bothering with.