OUT OF HIS HEAD: The Sound of Phil Spector by Richard Williams

OUT OF HIS HEAD: The Sound of Phil Spector

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The specter of Spector haunts the music industry, says Williams, an editor of Melody Maker and a knowledgeable observer of the Pop Scene from the simple days of Dion and the Belmonts to the complex undulating web of sound of George Harrison's All Things Must Pass. As presented by Williams, Spector is a runty dynamo behind the throne; the star-maker; the all-powerful financial wizard who can transform shlock into art and art into $ by adding a glockenspiel here and an echo chamber there to create those ""little symphonies for the kids"" which have made him, in the words of Tom Wolfe, ""The First Tycoon of Teen."" Williams supplies industry lore on how the Spector stable was born and how it was packaged and sold from the inauspicious beginning with The Teddy Bears crooning ""To Know Him Is To Love Him"" to his current role as musical mastermind behind Apple Productions. Sailing through ten years worth of pop charts, Spector is seen pulling the puppet strings behind The Crystals, The Righteous Brothers, Ike and Tina Turner and currently -- John and Yoko. Spector tells Lennon what to do with his music and you better believe he listens. No longer the middleman performing the modest function of uniting artist and engineer, Spector ""took control of everything,"" transforming and enlarging the role of The Producer to where he is ""almost as important as the singer himself."" Oddly, Williams never bothers to question whether this takeover of talent by professional merchandisers is a good thing. He's too impressed with how regularly the cash registers are ringing to consider how Spector's Midas touch might affect quality as against sales. Impressed too with the vast possibilities of gain in the fertile youth market and the Horatio Alger aspects of success. The audience here will probably be limited to adulators and emulators.

Pub Date: May 22nd, 1972
Publisher: Outerbridge & Lazard