High in the Mid-'60s: How to Have a Fabulous Life
By: Rick Levy - Crossroad Press, $9.99
Description: Written by Rick Levy, High in the Mid-'60s: How to Have A Fabulous Life in Music Without being famous! is all of the following - a memoir, a life journey, a rock n roll “everyman” story, a spiritual discovery, a fathering experience, an absolute music business survival manual, and an anecdotal treasure chest of life on the road.
Verdict: For those not in the know, Rick Levy has created a unique position in the entertainment business.
A performer for more than 4 decades, Levy was bandleader for Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone from 2000-2002.
Currently, Rick is guitarist and tour manager for two legendary '60s artists, The Box Tops and Tommy Roe. He also spearheaded the reunion of his first Lehigh Valley, PA. band, The Limits and licensed their recordings worldwide.
As a nationally and internationally known manager and musician, Rick Levy understands the needs of both clients and artists.
In 2014 Rick Levy was awarded the Pennsylvania Governor's Lifetime Achievement Award in the Music Industry, as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Lehigh Valley Music Awards (affiliate of the Philadelphia Grammy Chapter).
In late 2018, Crossroad Press released Rick's memoir, the brilliantly entitled 'High in the Mid-'60s: How to Have A Fabulous Life in Music Without being famous!' and as someone who admittedly knew not all that much about Levy, I have to say that this book is so very hard to put down once you start reading it.
Divided into chronological sections, starting with childhood, and culminating in an ongoing epilogue, High in the Mid-'60s details Levy's life; including his time involved with various aforementioned groups such as, but not limited to, Herman's Hermits, Jay & the Techniques, and The Box Tops.
After a brief intro page that runs from 1965 ("I was 15.") to 1971 ("I'm 21"), to the Mid-'90s in Atlanta, to 2014 (Pennsylvania Governor's Lifetime Achievement Award in Music), to 2018 (The Box Tops are inducted into the Memphis Music Hall of Fame), a Heartfelt Dedication page to Levy's mother, Myra, his father Mort, his son Jonah, et al, an Acknowledgment page to his attorneys, An Invitation To Enjoy page by Lloyd Zane Remick Esq. (an entertainment lawyer and manager), and finally a Foreword, we are off and running.
From the very off, November 1949, we learn so much about Levy that you'll wish you had cottoned on to who he was much earlier in life. The book showcases a man that although he may not recall all his childhood memories, he side steps what could have been an issue for an autobiography, by making us aware it was because he was raised in a loving, tender, supportive family atmosphere.
He calls it his Before Music (BM) spell of unknown time and as he tells it, even his friend, the late Alex Chilton (lead singer of The Box Tops) suffered from the very same childhood BM loss.
Moving on though the book though and we quickly discover that BM memories are not necessary for Levy to spin his musical yarn for there's a rich, royal wealth of wisdom, honesty, fun, sharp observations, great stories, and good advice in these pages.
Levy explains, and with true low brow honesty, that his life didn't exactly change overnight, but that life simply got in his way (perfectly, so it seems now looking back).
Sure he knew from a very young age that he wanted to be a musician, but it was actually a phone call he received during his RockRoots years that changed things the most for him.
Kenny Rogers and other entertainers had put together a huge national charity campaign called Hands Across America and Jay & the Techniques were on the Allentown bill of the local touring entity.
That said, if his time in Jay & the Techniques marked the aforementioned turning point in his career, it was in 1987 when they first backed Peter Noone of Herman's Hermits (in Baton Rouge) that firmly set him on his new path.
The book grows in depth and storytelling as it progresses, his memories of his musical rise solid and very colorful. Seemingly enjoying all he went through as a struggling musician on through to his life now, reading between the lines you just know he not only wrote this memoir with a smile, but also lived it in much the same vein.
In closing and simply put, if you grew up in the '60s and love the music of that era - let alone the fact that it's also a story of perseverance and the willingness to chop and change, alter musical stylings and adapt accordingly with the times - then this is the book is most definitely for you.
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