QUOTE FROM DAME SHIRLEY BASSEY 6th July 2022
Mike and I shared many memorable moments together including a wonderful performance at Glastonbury. All of which you can read about in his book!
Dame Shirley Bassey 6/7/22
QUOTE FROM KEN BRUCE ON TWITTER 11th July 2022
My old friend Mike Dixon has written a book that anyone who loves music, musicians and theatre will also love!
Ken Bruce 11/7/22
QUOTE FROM PHILLIP SCHOFIELD 12th July 2022
Mike Dixon has been at the heart of the West End and worldwide musical theatre for as long as anyone can remember! This book is a wonderful insight into the multitude of musicals he's worked on and the stars he's worked with. If you are a fan of musical theatre, this book should be centre stage in your reading collection.
Phillip Schofield 12/7/22
QUOTE FROM JACK PEPPER 22nd July 2022
Mike has a treasure trove of behind-the-scenes memories and musical gems to share, and life wisdom along the way. The breadth of his work is huge. He's worked with the legends and is a LEGEND in his own right. He makes things happen without wanting recognition, and this book puts a much-welcome spotlight on his work.
Jack Pepper, Presenter & Composer 22/7/22
QUOTE FROM CHARLES NOVE 25th July 2022
From incurring the wrath of the headmaster by jazzing up the hymns at morning assembly, to conducting major West End shows and being the trusted MD for big star performers - quite a journey, and Mike tells it brilliantly in this engaging memoir.
Charles Nove, Scala Radio 25/7/22
Elaine Paige mentions the book in her BBC RADIO 2 show - ELAINE PAIGE ON SUNDAY - on 26th June at 54 mins into the programme.
SCALA Radio - Jack Pepper's Culture Bunker 25th June 2022
Jack mentions the book at 28 mins 10 secs into the programme.
I am appearing at BUDLEIGH SALTERTON LITERARY FESTIVAL on September 15th at 2pm
BEYOND THE TITLE with the amazing Josh Barry - http://www.beyondthetitle.co.uk/portfolio/turn-around-and-take-a-bow/
MUSICALTALK PODCAST with Nick Hutson - https://musicaltalk.libsyn.com/0761-turn-around-and-take-a-bow-with-mike-dixon?tdest_id=83777
BEHIND THE SCENES with Colin Edmonds - https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/behind-the-scenes-with-colin-edmonds/id1550444432?i=1000567679153
Mike is a master story teller - whether working in music or in word - and so it makes perfect sense that he tells his very own story with such consummate brilliance and ease. Every nuance of every moment is captured so perfectly, you can hear him tell it as if he's beside you. (You can have that too if you go for the audiobook - a real treat!)
As for the story - well its an epic and outrageously brilliant journey/career, recalled in a manner that puts us right in every moment. It struck me that if you know Mike professionally, you will be fascinated to dive into the personal side and humanity of the man and the converse is also true. So its win win in terms of audience.
If you have bumped into Mike through his or indeed your work, or simply admired from afar, or D) - all of the above(!) - then its simply jaw-dropping to follow his ascent and to be in the room where it happens, as it happens and to realise the enormity of the events that he recalls with such humility. And humour. He's a funny man at the best of times and can hold court in any company and thankfully, therefore, it is no surprise that there are amazing tales, anecdotes and episodes and some genuinely laugh out loud moments (including a spectacular one - in a hospital!!!)
A forensic and caring recall of so many lives, careers and situations that he has encountered - thus far, that is - because the story continues of course.
But this capture of the journey to date is an exceptional collection of hilarious, at times riotous, incredible, fun-filled, nerves of steel, exciting, caring, wow moments, heartbreak moments, deeply personal moments, mind blowing moments, "oh to be there" moments ... and a truly stellar CV of iconic studios, productions, orchestras, recordings, performances, gigs and good folk. And everything that led to it. Quite the road trip.
Ultimately - an absolutely joyous and brilliant read.
by David Hayes
This arrived today and I can not put it down. A life reflected in music and musicals full of names and shows I remember.
It’s like reading a diary from some gorgeous attic. It’s actually an historic journey into the hey day of the British mega musicals too and, in concert, some of the biggest names on the planet.
A view from many a bridge. Musical and otherwise. A tonic to the soul if music is your thing. It covers Dixon’s early life from childhood to the West End. Written with a wink but showing Dixon’s ability with music transposes to the word also . Simply gorgeous.
by Michael Strassen
Mike Dixon is hardly a household name, but there can barely be a household in the Western world that hasn’t been touched by his genius.
Andrew Lloyd Webber, Shirley Bassey and Brian May of Queen all have him on speed-dial, and his name is whispered in hushed tones by anyone who’s anyone in the worlds of musical theatre, live concerts or ceremonial extravaganzas.
For Mike is a cross between a musical midwife and John the Baptist, helping to bring embryonic musical productions and events into the world and paving the way for their stars to receive the adoration they deserve.
If he’d been suddenly taken ill at work, many of the Royal Command Performances, West End musicals and live performances we take for granted would have collapsed into cacophonous chaos and their stars would have suddenly lost their shine right in front of the cameras.
Elvis, despite being already dead, would have died again on stage - or at least on screen - right in front of Priscilla Presley, Tom Jones and a huge Hyde Park audience if it hadn’t been for the presence of mind of Mike Dixon, known in the business as the musical directors’ Musical Director.
And who knows how many of the celebrities who reinvented themselves as the leads of such musicals as Joseph would have had the confidence to do it, let alone the sheer technical nous, had it not been for Mike’s counselling, cajoling and collaboration behind the scenes?
For that’s where most of Mike’s magic has been performed - behind the scenes - even if, on occasions, he’s hiding in plain sight in front of millions of viewers as he faces an orchestra with his back to the cameras.
He suffers, perhaps, from Fifth-Beatle Syndrome - as instrumental to the performers’ success as George Martin was to the Fab Four’s, but in a world that’s more interested in the stars than the star-makers.
But that’s never bothered him, judging by his star-studded autobiography Turn Around And Take A Bow!
There’s not a hint of pretentiousness in the entire book, despite the string of dazzling associations and achievements that might have tempted lesser mortals to assert their full bragging rights.
That’s clearly not his style.
Perhaps because he spends his working life bringing performers together by waving his baton or whispering through headphones, Mike is a natural and inclusive collaborator who brings out the best in others without his own ego getting in the way.
Jonathan Ross once had the Friends star David Schwimmer on his chat show but was so full of himself that viewers learned hardly anything about his celebrity guest.
Mike Dixon’s instincts are the opposite, letting others enjoy the limelight while he ensures there’s just the right amount of light and shade in their performance.
That inclusivity is in evidence throughout the book where Mike is careful not to leave anyone out in his lists of who did what in various productions.
His natural modesty means there must be scope for another book about him - this time a biography - in which the performers, professionals and impresarios he’s helped in his four-decade career give him anecdotal credit for the immeasurable difference he’s made to so many of them.
Only then would we hear quite how highly prized he is by his peers, for Mike lets his achievements trip off the tongue as if it were commonplace to be helping Andrew Lloyd Webber up his game or convincing Philip Schofield that he couldn’t just sing but could take the highly-demanding lead role in Joseph.
Mike is candid about his private life, from his relatively ordinary beginnings in provincial obscurity to his three marriages and his battle with cancer, and while some readers might be tempted to whizz on to the celebrity bits that make up most of the memoir, they’d be missing out on some gems that characterised his early days.
At the age of only 15, he rocked his grammar school’s morning assembly - literally - by doing things to the hymn Morning Has Broken that had never been done before.
You’ll have to read the book to find out what he did, but it was groundbreaking, outrageous, and typical of the adventurous spirit that led Mike Dixon to become the legend he is in the world of music.
A protege of that school’s inspiring music master Trefor Farrow, even those who treated Mike like a human jukebox, able to play any song from the charts by ear, without music, and on demand, could never have imagined he’d one day be collaborating with Brian May and Roger Taylor of Queen on the stage musical We Will Rock You, or arranging all the music for the Miss World pageants long after mainstream TV in the UK lost interest in it.
One of Mike’s finest moments must surely be when he was Musical Director for a 50th anniversary tribute to The Beatles’ debut album, Please, Please Me, recorded in the same Abbey Road studio where the historic record was first made.
Each track of the album was covered by a contemporary artist, and the finale - Twist And Shout - was performed by Beverley Knight.
It was, arguably, the performance of a lifetime and even John Lennon, had he been around, would have acknowledged that she, with Mike’s support, had knocked The Beatles’ own version into a cocked hat.
The iconic studio was crammed with celebrity onlookers, backing singers, the finest musicians and there, at the front, Mike Dixon sitting at the piano and the centre of everyone’s attention.
Not only was he playing but conducting, too, the sheer chemistry between him and Beverley Knight almost visible on screen, and if ever there were a testimonial for the difference a musical director can make, there it was for all to see.
For Mike, perhaps, it was another day at the office. But for the millions who saw it on the day and have watched it since, it was perhaps the pinnacle of a career that has brought untold pleasure to a world that knows his work better than his name.
Like most behind-the-scenes geniuses (and Mike Dixon is, beyond all question, a musical genius) we’d have most noticed him if he hadn’t been there.
A lot of West End musicals would be so much less appealing, a host of singers would have never had the confidence and the encouragement to stretch themselves to new artistic heights, and some of the most magnificent pieces of music we all know might have remained in their less than sparkling original states had Mike not been there to wave his magic wand.
The musical world, and we, owe Mike Dixon a huge debt of gratitude -the size of which can only be appreciated by reading this extraordinary book.
by Jon McKnight
A very engaging, humorous and interesting review of the Big Musical Events of the last 4 decades, it's a journey that it's hard to believe one man has had so much influence and involvement in, and it's fascinating to read not only of his career, but also his personal story. It's a great book to educate you in Musical Theatre and all things re musical performance. My enjoyment of musicals & concerts has always been without giving much thought to all the work that goes into it. Now I know, I am indebted to all the true professionals involved, thank you!
by Maxine Goswell
Great insight into the life of the author and the world of music. Written with a humour and a nice easy read.
by Sarah Dellar
Mike is a graduate of Trinity College of Music, London. He is a leading musical director, musical supervisor, composer and arranger working across theatre, TV, radio and live events.
He has worked extensively in the West End with credits including Mrs Henderson Presents, The Bodyguard, We Will Rock You, Grease, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Jesus Christ Superstar.
TV credits include six Royal Variety Shows, Another Audience With Shirley Bassey, Pop Idol and The Queen's Golden Jubilee Rock Concert. Since 2001 he has been a regular Conductor on BBC Radio 2's Friday Night Is Music Night.
Mike has composed and been Musical Director for countless live events and concerts and has conducted and co-produced many cast recording albums.
He received the Helpmann Award for Best Musical Direction for We Will Rock You and the Sony Radio Award and New York Radio Award for the Minute by Minute series.