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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 30 December 2013
In a book that not only provides a detailed timeline of Oldfield's career to date; it also illustrates the changing relationship between Oldfield and his fan base - going from outright rejection in his early career to warm and approachable in his later years. Chris Dewey has used a wealth of research material from the early press releases to personal interviews spanning the whole Oldfield community. He also touches on the complex character of Oldfield himself using interviews with collaborators from various points of his career. I thoroughly recommend this book for both the casual reader or a dedicated fan.
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on 1 September 2013
Maybe it's to be expected, as the author is the editor of Mike Oldfield fan magazine, but this book is overly positive about the artist, only occasionally being critical of his work. There's a lot of quoting from revealing interviews from the fan magazines but a little too much of the author's own opinion for my liking - I'm not all that interested in what he thinks. To be fair, on a positive, I found out a lot about Mike Oldfield which I didn't know before reading the book, and it does flow well as a story so overall it was an easy and interesting read.

I would have given it four stars if it wasn't for the price.
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on 7 June 2013
The definitive biography of one of the UK's most talented musicians. This will be the "go to" resource for all Mike Oldfield fans. With loads of previously unpublished material, "Mike Oldfield - A Life Dedicated To Music" is a fascinating and enlightening read from beginning to end. Chris Dewey's knowledge and enthusiasm rings out from the pages. It gives a wonderful insight into what makes Mike Oldfield tick. I Highly recommend this fantastic book whether you are an Oldfield fan or not!
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on 5 June 2013
There have been very few great books written about Mike Oldfield, and absolutely no great documentaries made. Chris Dewey, editor of the official Mike Oldfield magazine and fanzine, Dark Star, has managed to accomplish both in his new book.

Drawing on a wealth of information gathered in his 27 years of producing fanzines, including interviews with the musicians and people that have been close to Oldfield throughout his career, Chris tells Mike Oldfield's amazing story like never before. From his early childhood to the release of his groundbreaking debut album Tubular Bells in 1973. Then on through the years until his stellar surprise performance at the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony. There are other sources of information too and are used to great advantage to add further interesting anecdotes.

I found the book read less like a regular biography and more like a documentary, but it still managed to give the reader a fantastic insight into Mike Oldfield's vast career. The book is also very well illustrated with many rare and wonderful photographs, from professional sources and devoted fans. There is also great artwork featured by various fans throughout.

Towards the end of the book is an extensive appendix section covering all kinds of extra information ranging from discographies, tourographies and rare collectables. Which also proves to be an essential reference guide in its own right.

All in all an essential book for any Mike Oldfield fan, and a splendid companion to Oldfield's back catalogue of work.
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I am struggling to reconcile the glowing reviews of this book on Amazon with the the book I have just read - having read the reviews, I was very much looking forward to receiving my copy, but I'm afraid it was an enormous let-down.

Imagine the level of fawning over an artist you get in a cheap fanzine, interspersed with huge numbers of personal reminiscences from the author which are of little to no interest to anyone else (example sentence - "Neither my cousin nor my friend Chris were great fans, but both loved the album...") - well, that's what you get here, but spread out over 200 pages. On top of that, it is illustrated with the sort of dreadful "pencil sketch of the artist I currently have a crush on" pictures that get sent in to fanzines by teenage girls. That anyone can have the sheer front to charge the price being asked for this book (vanity publishing, anyone?) for writing of such low quality beggars belief.

There are a few interesting insights into Oldfield, mainly quoted from interviews, that I hadn't read before - but not many. The pages at the back with a comprehensive list of rarities and unreleased tracks are really the only part of the book worth reading. Sean Moraghan's "Mike Oldfield - A Man And His Music" - a book which has been soundly criticised in the past by Oldfield fans - is orders of magnitude better than this effort, in terms of writing style, content and value for money - I strongly recommend buying that instead.

To be honest, I do feel somewhat unkind laying into what is clearly one man's labour of love, but on the other hand, I'm a customer who has paid an enormous sum of money for a book, and I expected something professional as a result.
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on 9 June 2013
This is an excellent book focusing on the music of Mike Oldfield and the experiences of the musicians that have worked with Mike over the years. It covers all recordings in chronological order from the early Sallyangie recordings up to Mike's involvement in the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics.

Chris's writing style makes it very interesting and easy to read; I'm not a big reader of books (I much prefer writing and recording my own music, inspired by Mike's approach of course) and very easily lose interest in sticking with a book, but I actually read this within 24 hours...the ultimate compliment to its style in my view! There are lots of great insights into the music and the inspiration behind it - the bit that sticks in my mind is Rick Fenn's recollections of the 80s tours and the point where they nearly lost their lives (the inspiration behind 'Five Miles Out').

This hardback book is quite pricey but that's due to the independent costs of producing it. Chris Dewey is the editor of Dark Star, the official Mike Oldfield magazine and internet site and has unrivalled experience of meeting and dealing with the musical maestro over the years. I've subscribed to the magazine since its early days and this is his best work yet. He writes from a fan's perspective but at no time is her sycophantic. Mike has also read the book and approved its content and publication.

An absolute must purchase for the Oldfield fan...even better as a present for them for a special occasion!
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on 5 June 2013
Mike Oldfield's autobiography 'Changeling' was an essential read for those interested in the genesis of Mike's early career, personal life challenges and the driving forces behind his music. It left fans satisfied, but many felt it didn't emphasise his later works nearly enough. Chris Dewey's excellent book redresses the balance in favour of a chronological look at the music from the very early days of 'The Sallyangie', right up to date with the triumpant 2012 Olympics performance. If you're looking for in-depth, insider and unheard stories on the making of Mike Oldfield's albums - here's the book you've been waiting for. All his album's are catered for, with a wealth of photographs of memorabilia to complement the prose. Chris' inside take on Oldfield's career as editor of the official Dark Star website affords him a unique view of the man and his music.

Highly recommended.
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on 8 August 2013
Although not a huge fan (I only have a few albums), I found this book to be both informative and entertaining. There was so much I didn't know!Chris's style of writing is never dry or dull, and his enthusiasm for the subject is obvious. I found myself reading out excerpts to my partner, and in fact finished the book in two days. Particularly useful were the appendices, covering discs, tours, videos and all sorts of rare tracks; my collection is now rapidly expanding.

If you have even a passing interest in the man or his music, this book is a must.
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on 17 November 2013
Chris Dewey's book has introduced me to some great music - thank you! I was a newcomer to Mike Oldfield's work when I started to read this, and adding the soundtrack alongside the text gave the details in the story a relevance and coherence that could have been lost in the detail otherwise. Maybe Mike should make a CD box set based around this book? ;)

The books greatest weakness is by intention, and stated by the author in the blurb: this is not a book about Mike Oldfield's motivations or how he came to be where he is, but instead a chronology of Oldfield's achievements. The book describes the major musical milestones with well cited quotes and anecdotes from the supporting family, friends, producers, musicians, engineers and fans who were there at the time. In places the presentation felt a little piece-meal, and in other places risked straying a little from the man himself to the life events and desires of the authors and contributors. However, the closing perspective and opinions on what were considered the best albums gave me a head start in building my Mike Oldfield playlist.

Grab a copy, and even if you don't learn here why Mike Oldfield has made the choices that he has, at least learn why we should consider him one of Britain's creative heroes.
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on 4 September 2013
I decided to purchase this book after a friend of mine picked the book up and started reading and decided to go ahead and buy. The reason for my curiosity is that my friend hasn't purchased or read a book in 10 years so.............why not also have a go?
I have listened to Mike Oldfield's music on and off for many years, although I can't confess to being a dedicated fan, however after reading this biography my desire to listen to more Oldfield was re-kindled.
I enjoyed the book especially as it made very easy reading, biography's can be a difficult and dry subject and it is easy to fall into a "Wikipedia" type of format, which makes the reading sort of bumpy.
The author mixed in some nice little anecdotes about Mike's life with his own personal feeling and how Mike's music has had such an effect on his life. This style of writing I found refreshing and the author leaves you in no doubt that he is slightly biased to Mike's music, but this is why I love this book. It would have been easy to sit on the fence and have a neutral opinion, many readers may have preferred this style, however to write about your innermost feelings takes great courage and in a way the book is not just about Mike Oldfield, but about how his music has touched so many people and the lasting effect it has on them.

Again, great read.
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