WONDERFUL WORLD OF PERCUSSION: MY LIFE BEHIND BARS by Emil Richards with Tom Di Nardo - BearManor Manor
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ISBN 9781629330211

During a span of 55 years, Emil Richards has been a renowned presence in Hollywood soundstages, recording studios, jazz clubs and international touring venues. Considered a supreme artist on the vibraphone, marimba and xylophone, as well as a master of his world-famous collection of percussion instruments, Richards is renowned throughout the world for his versatility.

This book’s lifetime of insightful and hilarious experiences include years with Frank Sinatra and George Harrison, as well as many anecdotes involving Burt Bacharach, Elvis Presley and Ravi Shankar, as well as most major recording artists.

Richards’ chronology roughly categories the book’s chapters into decades, with the 1960s mainly involving album recording, television shows in the ‘70s and films in the ‘80s and ‘90s. A parallel career means stories emanating through playing with George Shearing, Paul Horn, Stan Kenton and Roger Kellaway, as well as Igor Stravinsky and Richards’ own group Calamari.

There are warm recollections of the great film composers, including Henry Mancini, Alex North, Jerry Goldsmith and John Williams, who all collaborated at finding a unique sound at Richards’ warehouse before composing. Salad bowls used in “Planet Of The Apes,” gongs lowered into fluid for space movies and many other unusual sonic effects will flash readers back to decades of favorite movies.

From an astonishing family history and grim days growing up in Hartford, Connecticut, through wild tours with Sinatra to Europe, Japan and Egypt, and visits to the Maharishi in India, Richards’ entertaining, direct style perfectly complements this wealth of inside experiences.


“Throughout the many years of his long and distinguished career, Emil Richards consistently brought adventure, joy and discovery to all of his music making.   His new book is a valuable addition to the documentation of a period of great creativity in American music.”
               – John Williams

“I have no doubt that if you have even the slightest interest in movies or music, you will find that Emil’s stories are as inspirational as they are funny, and most importantly, you will discover one of the greatest souls ever to grace the music industry.”
                – Michael Giacchino

“Emil has played on .... I have no idea, maybe 60 or 70 scores of mine. He never disappoints and continues to amaze me. When it comes to percussion, Emil has always and always will be an irreplaceable original. ...The Man! ....The One and Only.“
                – Danny Elfman