Mike Oldfield | Artist

Mike Oldfield | Artist

Tags: Era_1970s, Gender_Male, Genre_Ambient, Genre_Prog, Origin_UK, Type_Artist

Michael Gordon Oldfield is an English multi-instrumentalist and composer born 1953 in Reading, UK. In 1973 he was catapulted to fame with his very first recording, the iconic Tubular Bells. He went on to create a series of works that established him as one of the UK's leading progressive rock musicians, blending progressive rock with world, folk, classical, electronic, ambient, and new-age music. Oldfield took up the guitar aged ten, first learning on a 6-string acoustic by copying parts from songs by folk guitarists Bert Jansch and John Renbourn. By the time he was 12, Oldfield played electric guitar and performed in local folk and youth clubs and dances. After leaving school Oldfield and his sister Sally formed a folk duo The Sallyangie. They toured England and Paris and recorded one album, Children of the Sun (1969). In 1970 Oldfield became the bass player for ex Soft Machine founder Kevin Ayers' group Whole Wide World. He played on Ayers's albums Shooting at the Moon (1970) and Whatevershebringswesing (1971). Both albums were recorded at Abbey Road Studios, where Oldfield familiarised himself with record production plus a variety of instruments, such as orchestral percussion, piano, Mellotron and harpsichord. By mid-1971, he had assembled a demo tape containing sections of a longform instrumental that became "Tubular Bells (Part One)", initially entitled "Opus One". While doing session work at The Manor Studio in Oxfordshire, owned by businessman Richard Branson, he met engineers Tom Newman and Simon Heyworth who played the tapes to Branson. Branson and Draper gave Oldfield one week of recording time at The Manor, during which he completed "Part One" of Tubular Bells. By the end of January 1973, Branson agreed to release Tubular Bells and secured Oldfield with a six-album deal. Tubular Bells was released on 25 May 1973 as the first album on the Virgin label. Oldfield played more than twenty different instruments in the multi-layered recording. Its 2.6 million UK sales puts it at No. 34 on the list of the best-selling albums in the country. The title track became a top 10 hit single in the US after the opening was used in The Exorcist film in 1973. It is today considered to be a forerunner of the new-age music movement. Oldfield has to-date released 32 studio albums including collaborations and film soundtracks. Standouts include Tubular Bells, Hergest Ridge, Ommadawn, Incantations, Amarok and the live album Exposed. The 1976 compilation Boxed is also recommended.

Artist Website: mikeoldfieldofficial.com

Featured Albums: Mike Oldfield

Related Artists: Sally Oldfield, Kevin Ayers, Robert Wyatt

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