Mike Vickers

This article is about the Manfred Mann guitarist, flautist and saxophonist. For the United States Assistant Secretary of Defense, see Michael G. Vickers. For Bishop of Colchester, see Michael Vickers.

Michael "Mike" Vickers (born 18 April 1940) is a British musician who came to prominence as guitarist, flautist and saxophonist with the 1960s band, Manfred Mann. He was born in Southampton, Hampshire, England. He originally played flute and saxophone but with the increasing popularity of guitars in bands it was decided that Manfred Mann should have a guitarist in its line-up. Vickers volunteered for this role but he was always happiest playing woodwind. His tough flute soloing on hard blues tracks such as "Without You" prefigured the work of Ian Anderson with Jethro Tull five years later. As the group were all multi-instrumentalists who delighted in instrumental solos, multi-tracking was used to allow Vickers to perform on guitar and woodwind on the same recordings, while drummer Mike Hugg similarly doubled on vibraphone.

He was jointly credited with the group's early hit singles and contributed a few tracks to albums, such as "The Abominable Snowmann" and "You're for Me". Band-mate Tom McGuinness described him as "the nicest one of the group...nice nearly all the time. But when he's nasty he just can't be nice about it" and added "He collects saxophones - which we buy for him".[1]

At this time, McGuinness wrote, Vickers was already "recording with his own orchestra and looks like becoming a definite threat to Semprini"[2] and shortly after, at the end of 1965, he quit the band, though the solo album, entitled I Wish I Were a Group Again, did not appear until 1968. At about the same time he conducted the orchestra for the live recording of the Beatles' "All You Need Is Love", which was shown on live TV across the world when communications satellite technology was celebrated by a worldwide link-up.

Vickers has persevered as a composer and arranger for records, TV shows and films. He composed "Pegasus", the theme from the cult ITV series The Adventures of Don Quick in 1970, and one of his most familiar TV compositions is "Jet Set," the theme music first for the NBC game show, Jackpot in 1974-75; and since 1977 as opening music for the sports series This Week in Baseball. Another familiar TV composition is "Gathering Crowds", composed under the pseudonym Patrick J. O'Hara Scott, which has been the closing theme for This Week in Baseball throughout its history. His film work includes the scores to The Sandwich Man (1966), Press for Time (1966), My Lover, My Son (1970), the film version of Please Sir! (1971), Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972), The Sex Thief (1973), and the fantasy films At the Earth's Core (1976) and Warlords of Atlantis (1978).

His instrumental piece called "Visitation", composed and recorded in 1971 was used in Polish television popular science series "Sonda" broadcast between 1977 and 1989.

From 1992 to 1999, he was a member of The Manfreds, an amalgamation of 1960s Manfred Mann members and associates that featured both Paul Jones and his successor Mike d'Abo on vocals, the latter also playing keyboards. Vickers played only woodwind instruments - alto saxophone, flute and occasionally recorder - in this ensemble. In some of the later hits, such as "Semi Detached Suburban Mr James", he reproduced woodwind parts that had been performed on the original studio versions by his own successor, Klaus Voormann.


  1. Sleeve note, Mann Made, HMV 1911, 1965
  2. Sleeve note, Mann Made, HMV 1911, 1965
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