Wednesday, December 20, 2023

A Week in the Life: A Book Review


Mike Vickers with George and Paul (and George Martin) showing the Moog

After I started to read this book, I had to stop and look up to make sure Mike Vickers really was involved with the Beatles and this book wasn't a work of fiction.   The way Vickers writes felt like fiction to me, but rest assured, Mike Vickers really was there and his book  A Week in the Life: Working with the Beatles on All You Need is Love is indeed nonfiction.  

When George Martin had a death in his family (his father), he asked Mike Vickers to write the arrangement for the orchestra for the Beatles new single, "All You Need is Love."   This book tells the tale of the exciting week in Mike's life from getting the news that he was asked to do this, to getting the acetate and working on the song, to going over to Cavendish and meeting with John and Paul in person to go over a few things.   Mike is then asked to conduct the orchestra live on the Our World telecast, a job that he was very nervous about doing.   It ended up that the take recorded during the rehearsals is what was heard and the musicians were playing but not heard during the live segment.   Mike was a very nervous guy who didn't think he was good enough for this task, but in the end, everything turned out nicely and Mike had a sweet little story to tell. 

There is a "B-plot" in this book that I think was unnecessary.   Mike tells the stories of the various boarders he had at his house during this time in 1967.   I have a feeling that if you heard Mike talk about these strange casts of characters, you'd be in stitches.  However, reading about them just felt unnecessary, especially when you get several detailed pages on how the couple that stayed in the attic were having loud sex.  While the plot twist at the end of the book with the boarders was humorous, it was not needed in a book about The Beatles. 

I wish he had written more about how he was one of the few folks with a Moog synthesizer and how he went into the studio during the recording of Abbey Road to show George how it worked.   He spent pages about the sex lives of his boarders, but just a paragraph about this amazing experience. 

When I was reading the book, I didn't know anything about Mike.  He made himself sound like he was George Martin's age.  He spoke about how The Beatles were wearing hip psychedelic clothing and he was wearing a new blue suit that looked out of date.  I pictured a man that was older than the Beatles.  However, when I started to look up information about him, I discovered that he was born in 1940!  The same year as Ringo and John.  I really pictured an older gentleman while reading the book. 

I can't really recommend this book, but if you are curious and need a quick read, then  you can give it a try.   It is only available on the Kindle and it is priced under $10.  

This link is an affiliate link to Amazon.  All purchases made through this link give a small percentage back to me (Sara).  The money is used to pay for the upkeep of this site from year to year.  I think last month I made $1.72 from the affiliate link, so honestly, I just use it for the annual renewal of the site.   

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