Wasn't sure if I should drop this in the Spector thread or over here with the book lovers, but I just finished the Phil Spector bio Tearing Down the Wall of Sound
Has anyone else checked this book out?
It's not the best written stuff - the author got an interview with Spector just weeks before the shooting at Spector's house and you can tell from the writing that this was a bit of a rush job. That aside, the anecdotes and the strange connections make it a really compelling read. For me, there was a "wow" or at least a "hmm" on nearly every page. A few choice bits:
Spector was so worried that radio wouldn't play the Righteous Brothers' "Unchained Melody" because it was nearly four minutes long, so he had record lables printed for the single that listed a play time of just 3:05
Sonny Bono was Spector's first publicist/advance man.
A young David Geffen worked in Spector's studio and is shunned, mistreated and used as a gopher by Spector (Spector invites Geffen out to dinner, but makes him sit at a different table with the help).
Stand by Me was written in studio in about 20 minutes so that Ben E. King would have one more track on his debut album.
One of the first teenage writers Spector hired was a young Neil Sedaka. Sedaka wrote "Oh Carol" for his then high-school girlfriend Carol Klein. She would later change her name to Carol King...
And the songs - I don't mean to be a dumb-guy, but I really didn't know how many hits Spector wrote or produced.
Spector's first big single, written as a 17 year old, "To Know Him is To Love Him" was actually a b-side inspired by the epitaph on Spector's father's grave; he went on to write: "Da Doo Ron Ron", "Baby I love you", "Be My Baby", "River Deep, Mountain High", "Spanish Harlem", "Chapel of Love", "Then He Kissed Me"
And then there's all the bizzaro-world stuff with his kids, Ronnie Spector, Tina Turner, Lenny Bruce, the Beatles, John Lennon, the Ramones, Leonard Cohen and even Skysailor (and all of it tinged with lots and lots of booze and even more guns).
I don't know that it's worth plunking down any cash for, but it's well worth getting out of your local library...
Next up is a tell-all bio on Berry Gordy and Mowtown written by Gordy's ex-wife. If anyone else has any other recommendations, I'm all ears...