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MIKE OLDFIELD

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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Mike Oldfield biography
Michael Gordon Oldfield - Born 15 May 1953 in Reading, Berkshire, England

Mike OLDFIELD took up the guitar at seven and was composing instrumental pieces by age 10. With his sister Sally, he secured a record deal under the name SALLYANGIE and released the folkish album "Children of the Sun" in 1968. He then landed a position playing first bass and later guitar with WHOLE WORLD, led by ex-SOFT MACHINE co-founder Kevin Ayers. During the next few years he also served as a studio musician at Abbey Road, where he experimented with a wide range of instruments. He gradually built up a home studio and began working on a large-scale project, playing all of the parts himself. This was the prototype for "Tubular Bells", but OLDFIELD had no success generating label interest until he met with future Virgin Records founders Simon Draper and Richard Branson. They loved his ideas and gave him plenty of freedom to record in their state-of-the-art The Manor studio, and ended up releasing "Tubular Bells" on their brand new label when no other record company showed interest. The record shot to first place in the UK and elsewhere, attracting the attention of director William Friedkin, whose use of the intro segment in "The Exorcist" generated widespread recognition (OLDFIELD was not pleased by the association, however).

Retreating from his newfound celebrity, OLDFIELD recorded several more critically acclaimed albums, similar in scope and approach but constantly developing new instrumental and compositional skills. In 1979 his single "Guilty" showed that shorter vocal-based pieces and more recent music styles were beginning to creep into his work; he also returned to touring in 1979 after undergoing therapy to combat his reclusive, solitary tendencies. His work in the 80s included such far-ranging releases as "Crises" (including vocals by Jon ANDERSON), the soundtrack to the film "The Killing Fields", and a song called "Family Man" which became a hit for HALL & OATES. Known for consistently offering a visual spectacular in his live performances, he also developed an interest in video artistry, including a video album called "Wind Chimes". The 90s saw a return to longer symphonic-style works, including "Amarok" and "Tubular Bells II", for which he departed the increasingly commercial Virgin Records for the smaller WEA label. His "Songs of Distant Earth" album was the first CD ever to include CD-ROM content, as well as album notes by legendary sci-fi author Arthur...
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Return to OmmadawnReturn to Ommadawn
Import
Imports 2017
Audio CD$6.63
$5.55 (used)
Tubular BellsTubular Bells
Remastered · Extra tracks · Import
Mercury UK 2009
Audio CD$4.91
$3.57 (used)
IslandsIslands
Remastered · Import
EMI Europe Generic 2000
Audio CD$18.74
$6.99 (used)
AmarokAmarok
Import · Remastered
EMI Europe Generic 2000
Audio CD$5.03
$4.53 (used)
Songs of Distant EarthSongs of Distant Earth
Import
Warner Spec. Mkt. UK 2008
Audio CD$3.21
$1.48 (used)
Tubular BellsTubular Bells
Deluxe Edition · Extra tracks · Import
Mercury UK 2009
Audio CD$15.44
$11.99 (used)
Discovery: DeluxeDiscovery: Deluxe
Import
Imports 2016
Audio CD$12.40
$120.15 (used)
Killing FieldsKilling Fields
Import
Imports 2016
Audio CD$4.92
$5.69 (used)
Tubular Bells 3Tubular Bells 3
Import
Warner Bros UK 1999
Audio CD$4.69
$3.23 (used)
QE2QE2
Extra tracks
Hip-O 2012
Audio CD$22.10
$17.98 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
MIKE OLDFIELD - TUBULAR BEATS CD POP INTERNATIONAL NEW+ USD $14.96 Buy It Now 27m 24s
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28m 55s
Mike Oldfield Q.E.2 Deluxe Edition Mini/LP LTD Japan 2SHM-CD UICY-94827 w/OBI USD $39.59 Buy It Now 49m 53s
MIKE OLDFIELD TOUR OF EUROPE 1979 LARGE VINTAGE METAL PIN BADGE INCANTATIONS USD $14.60 Buy It Now 1h 5m
MIKE OLDFIELD TOUR OF EUROPE 1979 LARGE VINTAGE METAL PIN BADGE INCANTATIONS USD $14.60 Buy It Now 1h 6m
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MIKE OLDFIELD / MOONLIGHT SHADOW 7 ''VS586 1983 VINYL LOOKS MINT USD $2.64 Buy It Now 1h 21m
Mike Oldfield - Guilty 7" vinyl single USD $1.33 Buy It Now 1h 36m
Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells - 1973 England - Virgin - V 2001 - Vinyl LP USD $13.22 Buy It Now 1h 36m
Mike Oldfield - Man on the Rocks [New CD] USD $17.63 Buy It Now 1h 49m
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2h
THE KILLING FIELDS Mike Oldfield ORIGINAL FILM SOUNDTRACK USD $11.94 Buy It Now 2h 6m
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Mike Oldfield - Man on the Rocks [New CD] USD $15.44 Buy It Now 2h 12m
Mike Oldfield Tubular Bells UK vinyl LP NEW sealed USD $49.30 Buy It Now 2h 27m
Mike Oldfield ?- Discovery LP - V 2308 - VG USD $10.29 Buy It Now 2h 31m
MIKE OLDFIELD Tubular Bells 45 theme from the movie THE EXORCIST USD $5.99 Buy It Now 2h 37m
MIKE OLDFIELD / INCANTATIONS - DOUBLE LP USD $2.64 [1 bids]
2h 41m
MIKE OLDFIELD ISLANDS LP V2466 USD $22.99 Buy It Now 2h 43m
MIKE OLDFIELD QE2 VJD-23007 CD JAPAN 1989 USD $560.90 Buy It Now 2h 44m
Sally Oldfield - Mirrors - 2xCD - (Mike Oldfield) USD $11.94 Buy It Now 2h 44m
Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells - CD - Remastered HDCD - USD $3.97 Buy It Now 2h 44m
The Orchestral Tubular Bells Mike Oldfield With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestr USD $19.86 Buy It Now 2h 45m
Mike Oldfield Incantations Excellent 2 x Vinyl Record LP VDT 101 USD $10.63 Buy It Now 2h 55m
MIKE OLDFIELD Ommadawn 1975 UK SQ Quadraphonic vinyl LP EXCELLENT CONDITION USD $66.40 Buy It Now 2h 57m
MIKE OLDFIELD HERGEST RIDGE virgin 74 USA orig LP EX USD $13.27 Buy It Now 2h 59m
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Mike Oldfield Picture Disc Collection Collectors' Edition 3 cd RARE USD $86.99 Buy It Now 4h 8m
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4h 11m
MIKE OLDFIELD UK 1985 ORIGINAL FAT CASE double CD The Complete USD $13.27 Buy It Now 4h 18m
Killing Fields - Original Soundtrack - Mike Oldfield - Virgin 1984 - NM USD $5.00 Buy It Now 4h 27m
Mike Oldfield - Guitars (1999) CD - NEW USD $7.58 Buy It Now 4h 39m
Mike Oldfield - Elements (The Best Of , 1993) USD $4.54 Buy It Now 4h 44m
Mike Oldfield - Earth Moving - 7" Single USD $6.63 Buy It Now 4h 46m
Mike Oldfield - Take Four - 7" Single USD $6.63 Buy It Now 4h 46m
Mike Oldfield Featuring Jon Anderson - In High Places - 7" Single USD $6.63 Buy It Now 4h 46m
MIKE OLDFIELD - Five Miles Out - Excellent Condition 7" Single Virgin VS 464 USD $5.25 Buy It Now 4h 51m
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5h 50m
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Mike Oldfield Tubular Bells Vinyl LP Quadrophonic  USD $1.32 [1 bids]
6h 11m
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MIKE OLDFIELD " IN DULCI JUBILO " EX+ COND. USD $2.51 Buy It Now 7h 10m
MIKE OLDFIELD: Tubular Bells / Mono 45 (dj, co) Rock & Pop USD $10.00 Buy It Now 7h 21m
LP RECORD - MIKE OLDFIELD - TUBULAR BELLS - VIRGIN MUSIC - 1973 USD $13.28 [0 bids]
7h 22m
LP RECORD - MIKE OLDFIELD - HERGEST RIDGE - VIRGIN MUSIC - 1974 USD $9.96 [0 bids]
7h 22m
Mike Oldfield Hergest Ridge 1974 Guitar Music Virgin Label Australia 12" ELP1438 USD $14.99 Buy It Now 7h 24m
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MIKE OLDFIELD The Songs of Distant Earth 1995 Enhanced CD Hibernaculum USD $2.49 [0 bids]
USD $3.99 Buy It Now
7h 36m
Mike Oldfield Guilty 7" Virgin VS245 EX 1979 Guilty/Excerpt From Incantations USD $8.62 Buy It Now 8h 26m
Mike Oldfield - Hergest Ridge Deluxe Edition C.D. / D.V.D. SET New USD $17.20 Buy It Now 8h 38m
Mike Oldfield - Return To Ommadawn New CD USD $8.54 Buy It Now 8h 38m
Mike Oldfield - Music Of The Spheres New CD USD $8.46 Buy It Now 8h 38m
Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells New CD USD $8.46 Buy It Now 8h 38m
Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells 2003 Bonus DVD USD $7.96 Buy It Now 8h 42m
Mike Oldfield, Tubular Bells, (Vinyl) USD $16.60 [0 bids]
8h 48m
Mike Oldfield Tubular Bells 8 Track Tape TESTED USD $8.00 Buy It Now 9h 16m
MIKE OLDFIELD Exposed 2LP N/M UK 1979 Gatefold w/ Inner Sleeves Virgin Records USD $19.93 Buy It Now 9h 16m
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MIKE OLDFIELD UK 7 inch Single FIVE MILES OUT VS 464 USD $4.65 Buy It Now 10h 2m
MIKE OLDFIELD " THE BEST OF MIKE OLDFIELD " CASSETTE USD $3.99 Buy It Now 10h 6m
Platinum [Deluxe Edition] [Digipak] by Mike Oldfield (CD, Jul-2012, 2 Discs, ... USD $23.00 Buy It Now 10h 14m
MIKE OLDFIELD - TUBULAR BELLS - ORIGINAL 1973 VIRGIN RECORDS AUDIO CASSETTE USD $33.21 [0 bids]
10h 16m
MIKE OLDFIELD - FIVE MILES OUT - ORIGINAL 1982 VIRGIN RECORDS AUDIO CASSETTE USD $6.64 [0 bids]
10h 16m
Mike Oldfield ?- Translucent Pressing Family Man White Label Promo 7" Vinyl Rare USD $39.84 [0 bids]
10h 16m
Mike Oldfield - The Best Of Mike Oldfield 19922003 [CD] USD $9.90 Buy It Now 10h 23m
MIKE OLDFIELD - PORTSMOUTH - 7" Vinyl single 45RPM USD $1.32 Buy It Now 10h 34m
Mike Oldfield ?- Nurofen Advert - Etude - 7'' Vinyl - Rare USD $19.91 [0 bids]
10h 40m
Mike Oldfield Blue Peter 7" P/S Single Virgin 1979 VG+ Condition.. USD $1.33 [0 bids]
10h 55m
Mike Oldfield Earth Moving 7" P/S Single Virgin 1989 Ex Condition.. USD $1.33 [0 bids]
10h 55m
Mike Oldfield - Return To Ommadawn [CD] USD $19.61 Buy It Now 10h 56m
Mike Oldfield Moonlight Shadow 7" P/S Single Virgin 1983 VG+ Condition.. USD $1.33 [0 bids]
10h 56m
Mike Oldfield 'Platinum' UK Release Vinyl Lp Virgin V2141 VG+/VG Play Tested USD $1.33 [0 bids]
11h
Mike Oldfield: Tubular Bells II & III Live DVD Region 3 USD $17.78 Buy It Now 11h 9m
Mike Oldfield - Elements (The Best Of , 1993) - CD - VG USD $2.64 Buy It Now 11h 18m
MIKE OLDFIELD ?Ommadawn LP UK 1st Press 1975 A4/B4 Virgin V2043 USD $11.96 [0 bids]
11h 25m
Mike Oldfield "Ommadawn" 1975 Rock LP, Nice VG USD $8.95 Buy It Now 11h 30m
MIKE OLDFIELD "Hergest Ridge" LP Record Vinyl 1974 VR 13-109 Very Good + USD $6.07 Buy It Now 12h 13m
LP MIKE OLDFIELD OMMADAWN 1975 VIRGIN QUAD VG++ / NM QUADRAPHONIC PROG ROCK USD $34.98 Buy It Now 12h 35m
MIKE OLDFIELD TAKE 4 7" VINYL USD $2.64 [0 bids]
12h 56m
MIKE OLDFIELD + Tubular Bells + LP + 1973 + USD $6.27 Buy It Now 13h 19m
Tubular Vibes: Mike Oldfield Tribute by Various Artists (CD, Feb-2001, Purple Py USD $4.99 [1 bids]
13h 40m

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MIKE OLDFIELD discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

MIKE OLDFIELD top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.09 | 1039 ratings
Tubular Bells
1973
3.93 | 533 ratings
Hergest Ridge
1974
2.51 | 167 ratings
The Orchestral Tubular Bells
1975
4.32 | 1180 ratings
Ommadawn
1975
3.93 | 407 ratings
Incantations
1978
3.13 | 270 ratings
Platinum
1979
3.50 | 292 ratings
Q.E.2
1980
3.69 | 344 ratings
Five Miles Out
1982
3.45 | 386 ratings
Crises
1983
2.78 | 237 ratings
Discovery
1984
2.68 | 144 ratings
The Killing Fields
1984
2.63 | 191 ratings
Islands
1987
2.06 | 162 ratings
Earth Moving
1989
4.06 | 525 ratings
Amarok
1990
2.53 | 165 ratings
Heaven's Open
1991
3.56 | 283 ratings
Tubular Bells II
1992
3.73 | 277 ratings
The Songs Of Distant Earth
1994
3.10 | 202 ratings
Voyager
1996
3.38 | 205 ratings
Tubular Bells III
1998
2.95 | 171 ratings
Guitars
1999
2.31 | 135 ratings
The Millenium Bell
1999
2.45 | 136 ratings
Tr3s Lunas
2002
3.72 | 185 ratings
Tubular Bells 2003
2003
2.79 | 136 ratings
Light + Shade
2005
3.05 | 169 ratings
Music Of The Spheres
2008
3.20 | 165 ratings
Man On The Rocks
2014
4.08 | 246 ratings
Return To Ommadawn
2017

MIKE OLDFIELD Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.76 | 87 ratings
Exposed
1979

MIKE OLDFIELD Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.93 | 43 ratings
Tubular Bells II & III Live (DVD)
1999
2.58 | 39 ratings
The Art In Heaven Concert Live In Berlin (DVD)
2000
4.57 | 14 ratings
DVD Collection
2003
3.16 | 31 ratings
Elements - The Best Of (DVD)
2004
3.81 | 34 ratings
Exposed
2005
4.39 | 72 ratings
Live At Montreux 1981
2006

MIKE OLDFIELD Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.78 | 42 ratings
Mike Oldfield - Boxed
1976
3.58 | 14 ratings
Airborn
1980
3.00 | 4 ratings
Impressions
1980
2.98 | 9 ratings
Music Wonderland
1981
3.69 | 36 ratings
The Complete Mike Oldfield
1985
3.28 | 6 ratings
Collector's Edition Box I
1990
3.20 | 8 ratings
Collector's Edition Box II
1990
2.57 | 23 ratings
Elements: The Best of Mike Oldfield
1993
2.96 | 14 ratings
Elements: 1973-1991
1993
2.65 | 15 ratings
XXV - The Essential Mike Oldfield
1997
2.06 | 9 ratings
The Best Of Tubular Bells
2001
2.83 | 6 ratings
The Mike Oldfield Collection
2002
2.67 | 9 ratings
The Complete Tubular Bells
2003
2.53 | 14 ratings
The Platinum Collection
2006
4.13 | 8 ratings
Two Sides: The Very Best of Mike Oldfield
2012
2.47 | 11 ratings
Tubular Beats
2013
4.00 | 4 ratings
The Studio Albums: 1992-2003
2014
3.67 | 3 ratings
The Best Of: 1992-2003
2015
4.00 | 3 ratings
The Space Movie
2015
4.33 | 3 ratings
The 1984 Suite
2016

MIKE OLDFIELD Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.67 | 3 ratings
Tubular Bells
1974
4.00 | 5 ratings
In Dulci Jubilo
1975
3.50 | 4 ratings
Don Alfonso
1975
2.00 | 1 ratings
Don Alfonso (German Version)
1975
3.24 | 10 ratings
Portsmouth
1976
3.80 | 5 ratings
William Tell Overture
1976
3.75 | 4 ratings
Cuckoo Song
1977
2.00 | 1 ratings
Take 4
1978
4.00 | 6 ratings
Guilty
1979
3.60 | 5 ratings
Blue Peter
1979
3.00 | 3 ratings
Extract From Tubular Bells (live)
1979
3.50 | 4 ratings
Arrival
1980
4.00 | 4 ratings
Wonderful Land
1981
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Singles
1981
3.50 | 4 ratings
Five Miles Out
1982
3.60 | 5 ratings
Family Man
1982
2.25 | 9 ratings
Mistake
1982
3.20 | 6 ratings
Moonlight Shadow
1983
3.23 | 12 ratings
Shadow on the Wall
1983
4.00 | 9 ratings
To France
1984
3.93 | 14 ratings
Pictures in the Dark
1985
3.32 | 13 ratings
Shine
1986
2.22 | 9 ratings
Innocent
1989
3.00 | 9 ratings
Tattoo
1992
3.50 | 2 ratings
Man In The Rain
1998
5.00 | 2 ratings
Tubular Bells Limited Edition
1998
4.00 | 2 ratings
Far Above The Clouds CD 1
1999
3.00 | 1 ratings
Far Above The Clouds CD 2
1999

MIKE OLDFIELD Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 In Dulci Jubilo by OLDFIELD, MIKE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1975
4.00 | 5 ratings

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In Dulci Jubilo
Mike Oldfield Crossover Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars After the instant success of Tubular Bells Mike Oldfield moved to countryside, where he recorded the albums Hergest Ridge and Ommadawn. His fourth album Incantations would be released no sooner than in 1978. During this mid-70's period he recorded some (rather uncommercial) singles oriented to folk music. 'In Dulci Jubilo' originally appeared as a B-side of Don Alfonso, and Mike re-recorded this German traditional Christmas carol with the recorder player Leslie Penning.

It sounds joyous and fresh. It begins in a very modest way with recorders and simple percussion, but towards the end Mike lets his electric guitar take the lead role, making it instantly recognizable as his version. The B side features 'On Horseback' which ends the Ommadawn album. I have always liked it. A naiive and happy appraisal of riding a horse. The children of the local pub owner fit in very nicely.

 Crises by OLDFIELD, MIKE album cover Studio Album, 1983
3.45 | 386 ratings

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Crises
Mike Oldfield Crossover Prog

Review by martindavey87

4 stars Here's one I remember fondly, I must have been around 17 or 18 years-old at the time, and as I was helping my mum unpack her shopping bags, I came across Mike Oldfield's 'Crises', a CD she'd bought as it was only a couple of quid and she'd loved it since her days of owning it on vinyl. I'd encountered Oldfield's music many times throughout my childhood due to both of my parents being fans, but it was upon hearing this album that this fledgling young progressive rock fan really started to properly appreciate his music.

The next day I went to the same shop and bought my own copy of the album.

Featuring a bit of a mixed bag of styles and influences, 'Crises' is based around its 21-minute title track, a song with plenty of rocking riffs and some interesting keyboard melodies. There are times when the song does tend to lag, but the first half of it is genuinely exciting stuff, full of energetic performances and some thrilling guitar work.

After this, there are five shorter tracks, and this is where the album truly shines. For starters, there's acoustic rockers such as 'Shadow on the Wall' and 'Moonlight Shadow', which would go on to be a huge hit for Oldfield, showing that there was definitely still potential for mainstream success after Tubular Bells. 'In High Places' (featuring Jon Anderson of Yes) and 'Foreign Affair' are both more slower tempo, synth-based pop songs, but do well to highlight just how versatile Mike Oldfield can be with his music.

'Crises' is a fairly underrated album in Mike Oldfield's discography, though perhaps my opinion is swayed by the fact that it's essentially the album that made me a fan. Either way, while I doubt there's many people who'd consider this one of his best, it's still a solid release, and well worth looking into if you're into progressive rock or 80's pop.

 Five Miles Out by OLDFIELD, MIKE album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.69 | 344 ratings

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Five Miles Out
Mike Oldfield Crossover Prog

Review by martindavey87

3 stars 1982's 'Five Miles Out' sees Mike Oldfield continue to tread the line between pop and progressive rock music, essentially considered "progressive pop", it features an eclectic mixture of instruments, sounds, and ideas, and shows a man who clearly knows no bounds when it comes to songwriting.

Often considered pretentious, cheesy and boring, some of the music here is fairly demanding of the listener, and the production, which has 80's pop firmly stamped all over it, certainly makes the album feel somewhat dated. And yet, therein lies its charms. For this is indeed an 80's album, and it was a time when Mike Oldfield was steadily stepping away from his folk music roots and finding new inspirations for his music.

'Taurus II' is a great 25-minute instrumental, with some interesting musical passages and a nice combination of beautiful and haunting melodies. It took me quite a few listens to really get into, but it's totally worth the patience. There are themes in this song that reoccur in 'Orabidoo', though sadly those are the only notable parts of said piece, as, at 13 minutes in length, this track is fairly lackluster.

The title track and 'Family Man' (which interestingly is a song I remember from my childhood a long, long time ago) are both decent pop rock songs. 'Five Miles Out' being a rather ambitious and experimental track, which employs some rather peculiar songwriting techniques and sounds, but it certainly works, leaving us with one of Oldfield's most interesting and catchiest songs.

Overall, 'Five Miles Out' will never be Mike Oldfield's finest work, but it has its merits and is certainly worth checking out.

 Hergest Ridge by OLDFIELD, MIKE album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.93 | 533 ratings

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Hergest Ridge
Mike Oldfield Crossover Prog

Review by martindavey87

1 stars After the massive success of 'Tubular Bells', an album that made Mike Oldfield and the Virgin brand household names, it's almost surreal to hear the follow-up, 'Hergest Ridge', disappoint on every level.

While the music itself isn't unlike what Oldfield did before, everything just seems so lifeless here. Which isn't too surprising, considering that he wrote it while uncomfortable with the fame that had come with its predecessor. A mixture of progressive rock, new age and folk music, if there was anything I could consider a highlight it would be the last five minutes, which features an odd kind of symphonic duel guitar harmony. It's nothing overly eventful though. I'll probably never listen to it again.

With all of that said, I am a huge Mike Oldfield fan, and I love how diverse his discography is. It just doesn't seem right that I struggle to find anything remarkable on this album, but sadly that's all it comes down to.

Sorry Mike. Can't win 'em all.

 Return To Ommadawn by OLDFIELD, MIKE album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.08 | 246 ratings

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Return To Ommadawn
Mike Oldfield Crossover Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock / Fusion / Canterbury Team

4 stars Though full of new music, as opposed to some of the re-hashing send-ups Oldfield has released over the years, this one is a beautiful little reminder of just how awesome those mid-1970s albums of Mike Oldfield's were.

1. Return To Ommadawn (Pt.1) (21:10) many old themes, riffs, and weaves rendered anew and with great recording clarity. (9/10) 2. Return To Ommadawn (Pt.2) (20:57) a couple nice melodic riffs overextended and underdeveloped. (8.5/10)

Total Time 42:07

Line-up: Mike Oldfield - acoustic, classical, 12-string & electric guitars, acoustic & electric basses, mandolin, harp, bouzouki, banjo, grand piano, spinet, Farfisa organ, ARP 2600 & Solina synths, bodhran, glockenspiel, accordion (6), assorted percussions (marimba, gong, tubular bells)

A solid 4 star album; a very good progressive rock album--a nice, fresh take on the Ommadawn style and themes with very clear recording and solid performances.

 Man On The Rocks by OLDFIELD, MIKE album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.20 | 165 ratings

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Man On The Rocks
Mike Oldfield Crossover Prog

Review by russellk
Prog Reviewer

2 stars No, Mike. Just no.

It's not that it's not prog. OLDFIELD's done plenty in his career that isn't prog rock. It's not that it's poor quality. In fact, every note is played with consummate professionalism. It's not even the composition of the songs: some of them are actually pretty good, and in one case (the title track), excellent. No, it's the arrangements. OLDFIELD manages to smother each track in MOR sauce, and the choice of vocalist (so clean, so British) doesn't help either. It's as though Mike took all those wonderful elements that make up the unique OLDFIELD experience and stuck them in a 1980s blender. Voila, MOR on the rocks. I'm not saying he wasn't trying, just that the recipe is a bit stale. I've not been able to listen to the thing right through, and I've tried half a dozen times. This time I drifted off somewhere between 'Minutes' and 'Dreaming In The Wind'.

There is so much good music in this world, and even plenty of interesting bad music. Go find something compelling to listen to.

 Tubular Beats by OLDFIELD, MIKE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2013
2.47 | 11 ratings

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Tubular Beats
Mike Oldfield Crossover Prog

Review by russellk
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Fascinating thing, this. I have to say at the start that you ought not to buy it, and don't waste any time listening to it - unless you're an OLDFIELD completionist or an electronica fan. It's basically a reinterpretation of OLDFIELD classics in an techno/house style. A collaboration between OLDFIELD himself and YORK, a German dance music composer. Yeah.

Is it any good? Surprisingly, it's better than I would have expected. The original tracks are recognisable, their melodies not entirely subsumed by the beat. YORK actually adds some decent variation to the music. It's certainly not cringeworthy, and I've heard plenty of projects that are (my other love is 90s electronica/IDM). But it's not great either. I doubt I'll be back to listen to it again.

Two stars reflects its status here, not the quality of the actual music, which rates a solid three stars.

 Return To Ommadawn by OLDFIELD, MIKE album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.08 | 246 ratings

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Return To Ommadawn
Mike Oldfield Crossover Prog

Review by russellk
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Well, this album is an unexpected and wholly welcome treat.

MIKE OLDFIELD has been prog rock's premier melody maker for getting on towards half a century, ever since 1973's Tubular Bells. His combination of long-form, folk and new-age inspired work captured the hearts of a generation. With the advent of disco and punk, however, he put the long- form works aside and made poppier albums for the next twenty years (with a few glorious exceptions). Then, after the millennium, he began to fade away.

Until this. Like the title says, it's a return to his 1975 masterpeice, Ommadawn, IMO the best of his catalogue and, quote simply, the best single prog rock piece ever written. So I might have had a few expectations when I (belatedly) found out this had been released.

The album is good. Remarkable, even. It is certainly structurally similar to Ommadawn, with Part One beginning with an extended acoustic introduction based on a simple celtic tune, followed by a rhythm-based crescendo into a typical Oldfieldian guitar-laden climax. Part Two is a little more pastoral, but no less beautiful, if in places almost cloying in its sweetness. I'm fairly certain the vocals from the original Ommadawn have been sampled and re-used, and certainly the children's vocals from 'On Horseback' make a brief appearance. As with Ommadawn, OLDFIELD plays virtually all the instruments with breathtaking virtuosity.

At this point my personal joy at this wonderful gift has to take second place to the pragmatics of a review. This is a wonderful thing, but it isn't essential, not to progressive rock music and not even to Oldfield's canon. It's a return, after all; a going-back, a regression. So, as beautiful as it is, I'd counsel those new to OLDFIELD to sample something from his first four albums, or perhaps Amarok. This can be an additional purchase if you like what you hear. But, for me, this is up with THE ORB's latest as the record of 2017.

 Moonlight Shadow by OLDFIELD, MIKE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1983
3.20 | 6 ratings

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Moonlight Shadow
Mike Oldfield Crossover Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

3 stars It's Mike's birthday today, he's 64 now. Here's a little First Review For This Single. 'Moonlight Shadow', the pop hit that made Maggie Reilly famous and brought Mike Oldfield back to high places on charts, needs no introduction. It's among the smash hits of the early/mid 80's that was being played constantly back then. It was also made into a pretty nice music video. In many European countries it reached No. 1 spot, but in the UK it lost to Rod Stewart's 'Do You Think I'm Sexy', Paul Young's 'Wherever I Lay My Hat' and The Police's 'Every Breath You Take'.

The flip side features 'Rite of Man', a folky singalong type of a song sung by Mike himself. He's certainly not a great singer, but just about every man of the street could do justice to a song like that. The very repetitive chorus "Speak up! Speak up! Speak up for the rite of man" dominates this simple working man's song that features some accordion. Thumbs up for the rarity, but frankly it's not a song I'd choose to listen to again. The rating of a pop single on a progressive rock site feels rather pointless really. From the prog's point of view this single is of no use at all; the album Crises as a whole is a great work, and the songs sung by Jon Anderson ('In High Places') and Roger Chapman ('Shadow on the Wall') are more interesting for us than 'Moonlight Shadow'. On a pop site it would easily be worth four stars, so why not give three stars here, for the masterful and pretty charming pop song. It's not Mike's fault that it became so overplayed.

 Return To Ommadawn by OLDFIELD, MIKE album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.08 | 246 ratings

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Return To Ommadawn
Mike Oldfield Crossover Prog

Review by Walkscore

3 stars *Almost* four stars.

While Mike Oldfield has made many sequels to Tubular Bells, it took him 42 years to make the first official sequel to Ommadawn, his masterpiece. In many ways, this is the album we have been waiting for Oldfield to make for almost this long. It is structured into two 21-minute halves (labelled part 1 and part 2), just like his first three albums. And like those, it moves through a series of themes that build and shift, leading to minor musical climaxes. There is a lot to like about this album. First and foremost, we finally get to hear Oldfield play lots of guitar! (I really liked Music of the Spheres, but the one flaw with that album is the paucity of guitar solos. One has to go back to his 'Guitars' album to get this much guitar playing). Another thing I really like about this album is that it is not over-laden with instrumentation (which was a problem with many of his albums from 'Incantations' onward). Much of this album is quiet, allowing the guitar-playing to shine through. Also, unlike Tubular Bells II (which I just reviewed) this album is not a copy of the original, although it clearly refers to the original in a few places (see below). But overall, this music is new and original (unlike TB2, which is like a carbon copy of TB1 from a parallel universe). The sound quality is great, too, very clear. On the whole, a pleasurable listening experience.

On the downside, the music quality is mixed, and not all the melodies are that hot. I have listened to this album now about 10 times, and while my first reaction was very positive, over time the variability in quality has become clearer. So, this is not on par with the original Ommadawn, which for me has maintained its very high level of musicality. Part 1 (side 1) is the better one here. It actually begins with a theme and sound that could have come from Hergest Ridge, then moves into a acoustic guitar pattern that harkens back to, but does not mimic, the original Ommadawn theme. One of the better themes on the album is the one that starts with a repeated bass/electric guitar line of classic Oldfied at just before the 3 min mark (again, more akin to Hergest Ridge than Ommadawn), and taking us to just after 8 mins. After a few other themes, around the 13 min mark, a new theme beginning with African Drums (ala the original Ommadawn), some acoustic and electric solos, starts and takes us to just before 19 mins. This theme has background choir-vocals that are very similar to the original Ommadawn (indeed, they sound like the original Ommadawn theme sung backwards), and this section ends with a similar electric-guitar solo pattern to the end of side 1 on the original Ommadawn. This is the only part of 'Return to Ommadawn' that comes sufficiently close to the original that one could use the term "sequel". After that section, Side 1 ends with a very nice, quiet, flute/acoustic guitar theme. I would give Part/Side 1 8.1 out of 10.

Side 2 is the weaker half of this release. Many of themes sound like more mainstream celtic melodies, with pretty standard chord progressions. The theme that begins at roughly the 2 minute mark sounds like another Oldfield theme, but not anything on the original Ommadawn. I like the section that begins at roughly the 5 min mark, with the Irish/African drumming, the pulsing bass line and the electric guitar solos, lasting about two minutes. The themes that comes after repeat the ones that began this side, and stretch them out for much of the rest of the side (with a short acoustic interlude at around the 15-min mark). The album ends with a theme that is musically much more like the Sailors Hornpipe ending on the original Tubular Bells than the On Horseback section of the original Ommadawn. However, Oldfield briefly repeats the "Hey and away we go" children's-choir vocals from the original Ommadawn/On Horseback ending here, perhaps to make clear to the listener that this part is meant to remind one of that section. Also, at the beginning of this final section, we hear Oldfield say "on horseback? I would rather be HERE", apparently referring to his current abode on the Bahamas (the fold-out photos are of his backyard where he lives there). I personally wish he hadn't including this brief voice-over, as it seems to dismiss or at least put into doubt the original 'On Horseback' section from the original Ommadawn, and does so in an elitist way (how many of us can afford to live in the Bahamas?). But apart from that, the ending is actually not that musical, and the whole side has a few too many standard (major-key) chord progressions, making it more like 'Voyager' or his other albums from the 1990s/2000s. I give Side/Part 2 a score of 7.2 out of 10 on my 10-point scale.

Taken together, this is among the better Oldfield albums of the last 30 years. Just how does it compare with the rest of Oldfield's catalogue? Is it the best album since the original Ommadawn? Well, I went back and listened to his back catalogue to try and place this one. I think it is slightly better than 'Music of the Spheres' (which was his best album, in my opinion, since Amarok). It is better than 'Guitars', although it shares a lot of features with that album (but on 'Return' everything segues together, which 'Guitars' was missing/needing). It is better than 'Songs of Distant Earth', even though it is almost as new-agey. It is far better than any of the Tubular Bells sequels. It is better than 'Discovery', even better than 'Crisis'. I don't think it is better than 'Amarok', but it is close (Amarok, interestingly, is also a sequel of sorts to the original Ommadawn, although it is quite a bit more different from Ommadawn than 'Return'). However, it is definitely NOT better than 'Five Miles Out', nor 'QEII', both of which had more original and more compelling musical statements, even though both of those albums are among those over-laden with instrumentation. (And of course, it is not better than any of Oldfield's first four albums). I would place this somewhere around Oldfield's 8th or 9th best album (out of roughly 27 albums). On balance, I give this 7.6 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to high 3 PA stars.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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