Good Vibrations, by Mark Cunningham, is a fun and frustrating ramble through the history of record production. It offers insight into the production of some of the most significant pop records in history, including Pet Sounds, Telstar, Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Dark Side of the Moon, Bohemian Rhapsody and many more.
The book gets off to a great start with two forwards, by Alan Parsons and Brian Eno. It’s capped with a glossary of music production terms.
The bulk of the book, though, is made up of interviews with some of the most important producers of all time, including Les Paul, Sir George Martin, Trevor Horn, Tony Visconti, Hugh Pagham and many more. Most of the interviews are very interesting, and offer first-person insight into the making of some great records.
The book is also frustrating, though, because it could have benefited from a good editor. Cunningham frequently jumps from band to band or producer to producer without providing any transition to help you understand why the two are linked. As a result, the book is a nice collection of stories about record production, but doesn’t provide a comprehensive or clear history of record production.
Mark Cunningham’s Good Vibrations is a pleasant wander through the history of record production. While it’s not a comprehensive history of music poduction, it offers a unique behind-the-scenes view of the production of some of the classics of pop.