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Mike Oldfield

He is a musical genius, a distinct and amazing musical autodidact, a multi-instrumental virtuoso, and an original and influential musician and composer. Here are some interesting facts about Mike Oldfield:

(Photo: Virgin Records)


1. He was born Michael Gordon Oldfield on May 15, 1953, in Reading, Berkshire, England.


2. He started playing the guitar at the age of 10. At the age of 12 he was already performing in clubs with an electric guitar.


3. At the age of 14 he formed a duo called Sally-Angie, with his older sister Sally. In 1968 they released an album called "Children Of The Sun", most of which were their original compositions.


4. In 1970 he joined the progressive rock band "Kevin Ayers and the Whole World". He played guitar, bass, and other instruments during his time with the band.


5. Mike Oldfield is known for his unique guitar-playing technique. He is one of the few that plays the electric guitar with his fingers and don't use a pick.


6. In 1973, Mike Oldfield released his groundbreaking debut solo album, "Tubular Bells." The album featured an array of instruments played solely by Oldfield, with mesmerizing and intricate compositions.

(Photo: Virgin Records)


7. Mike started composing "Tubular Bells" at the age of 17. He played all instruments on the album which includes more than 250 layers of sounds.


8. The album was the first to be released through the new "Virgin Records" company It topped the UK Albums Chart and achieved international success and became a defining album of the progressive rock genre.


9. But Oldfield didn't stop there. He brought this magnificent album to the stage. When he was only 20 years old, he arranged a live performance of the whole album. It took 21 musicians (including Mick Taylor) and 12 singers among others his sister Sally Oldfield to perform all of Oldfield's roles and instruments on the original album.


10. Following the success of "Tubular Bells," Oldfield continued to experiment and push musical boundaries. In 1974, he released "Hergest Ridge," a beautiful and pastoral album.


11. Then came another masterpiece album - "Ommadawn" released in 1975, which showcased Oldfield mastery of world music influences.


12. In 1977, Mike Oldfield recorded the overture of "Wilhelm Tell" by Rossini. He played all the instruments.


13. Oldfield's album "Incantations" (1978) further displayed his ability to create intricate and epic compositions, often spanning multiple movements.


14. In 1983, Oldfield released the album "Crises," which featured the hit single "Moonlight Shadow", with vocals by Maggie Reilly. The song became an international success and remains one of his most recognizable tracks.


15. Oldfield's albums "Five Miles Out" (1982), "Islands" (1987), and "Earth Moving" (1989) showcased his ability to adapt to evolving music trends while maintaining his distinct style.


16. Oldfield's diverse collaborations include working with artists such as Adrian Belew on the album "Earth Moving", Bonnie Tyler on "Islands," and more.


17. In 1992, Oldfield composed the score for the critically acclaimed film "The Killing Fields", directed by Roland Joffé.


18. Oldfield's album "Tubular Bells II" (1992) served as a highly anticipated sequel to his iconic debut album. It showcased his continued musical evolution while paying homage to the original work.


19. In 1998, Oldfield released "Tubular Bells III," another successful installment in the "Tubular Bells" series. The album featured new compositions and innovative arrangements.


20. Throughout his career, Oldfield has released several albums exploring new age and ambient music, including "Songs of Distant Earth" (1994), inspired by Arthur C. Clarke's novel, and "Voyager" (1996), which draws inspiration from NASA's Voyager space missions.

(Photo: Virgin Records)


21. Oldfield's later albums include "Man on the Rocks" (2014), which marked a return to a more rock-oriented sound, and "Return to Ommadawn" (2017), a sequel to his classic album "Ommadawn."


22. Over the course of his career, Mike Oldfield has received numerous awards and accolades. He has been nominated for several Grammy Awards, including Best Instrumental Composition for "Tubular Bells – Theme from The Exorcist" and "Best New Age Album" for "Voyager".


23. Oldfield's contributions to music and his enduring influence have earned him a dedicated fan base worldwide. His ability to create diverse and innovative compositions spanning various genres has solidified his status as a pioneering and respected musician.


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