Book Review: Abbey Road to Ziggy Stardust – Changed the Way I Listen to Music

by Bruce Owens on September 8, 2012

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I picked up this book not knowing what to expect. My first impressions were that the book followed famed engineer and producer Ken Scott during his years at Abbey Road. Abbey Road to Ziggy Stardust offered so much more.

As the book’s title implies the author introduces us to the greatest musicians to come out of England in the 60′s and 70′s. Unexpectedly the book also  touches on some of the studio musicians available at the time, Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page and Yes’ Rick Wakeman to name a couple.

What impressed me most about Abbey Road to Ziggy Stardust is Ken Scott’s ability to talk to many audiences throughout the book.

There is not so much technical information that the non-musician will get lost in this text. Still for the engineers and producers of the world there is a great insight to the inner working of some of the greatest albums of all times. As a guitarist I was intrigued to read about the live and studio treatment the likes of Mick Ronson and  John McLaughlin.  Ken Scott not only touches on the genius of Mick Ronson but also questionable business practices that took place during the heyday of David Bowie’s band.

Abbey Road to Ziggy Stardust goes beyond the Bowie years and introduces us to greats like Elton John, Supertramp and Devo. Yes, Ken Scott was the man behind the boards for Duty Now For The Future. As the music evolves so does Ken’s story.

The Los Angles days for this legend in the 80′s were laced with rock star excess. The book talks about the raging exploits of bands like The Tubes and Missing Persons. Ken Scott not only produced Missing Persons but also had his first run at being a manager with the famed act.

This book is must read for any fan of the aforementioned bands but also anyone how is interested in music productions. No matter what side of the glass you find yourself in a recording studio  Abby Road to Ziggy Stardust is time saver. Ken Scott allows us to learn for his mistakes and duplicate his successes.

Abbey Road to Ziggy Stardust changed not only the way I listen to music but how I view the industry and the recording process.

My epiphany in reading Abbey Road to Ziggy Stardust is – maybe it is not just the artist I enjoy but also the engineers and producers.  Almost every recording Ken Scott touched is in my music collection. From the Beatles to Stanley Clarke to Devo. It makes me think maybe it is Robert John “Mutt” Lange,  Dr Dre, Rick Rubin and Bob Ezrin that I like just as much or even more than the actual artist they mold. Reading about Ken Scott’s contributions to my favorite recordings has opened my eyes to this enigma.

The dry English wit pours out of this book not only in the storytelling but also in the stories themselves. This is an insightful and educating read on the music industry.  Ken names names and puts it all out there for the reader.  Abbey Road to Ziggy Stardust is available in hardcover from Alfred Publishing,

 

 

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