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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$9.17
$7.54 (used)
Tubular BellsTubular Bells
Remastered · Extra tracks · Import
Mercury UK 2009
Audio CD$5.56
$4.99 (used)
OmmadawnOmmadawn
Import
UMe Imports 2010
Audio CD$6.38
$5.10 (used)
IslandsIslands
Remastered · Import
EMI Europe Generic 2000
Audio CD$18.74
$5.90 (used)
Hergest RidgeHergest Ridge
Import
Universal UK 2010
Audio CD$12.47
$12.00 (used)
Millennium BellMillennium Bell
Import · Limited Edition
Imports 2015
Audio CD$15.40
$18.98 (used)
CrisesCrises
Import
Universal I.S. 2013
Audio CD$16.90
$40.13 (used)
The Complete Mike OldfieldThe Complete Mike Oldfield
Import
EMI Import 1995
Audio CD$259.71
$99.99 (used)
Tubular BellsTubular Bells
Deluxe Edition · Extra tracks · Import
Mercury UK 2009
Audio CD$12.47
$10.00 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Radio Caroline Calling 70's Flashback 3CD Jethro Tull ELO Blondie Mike Oldfield USD $6.58 Buy It Now
Mike Oldfield Exposed Israel Israeli Hebrew & Misprinted Limited SQ Quadrophonic USD $38.24 Buy It Now
mike oldfield exposed USD $3.96 [0 bids]
1975 - MIKE OLDFIELD & DAVID BEDFORD - Orchestral Tubular Bells - Press Advert USD $11.86 Buy It Now
Mike Oldfield ?| 1973 | Tubular Bells | 12" VINYL RECORD LP USD $10.55 Buy It Now
Mike Oldfield - Portsmouth (Virgin 1976) 7" Single USD $3.96 Buy It Now
Mike Oldfield - Ommadawn 2010 (NEW CD) USD $9.55 Buy It Now
Mike Oldfield - The Collection 1974 - 1983 (NEW CD) USD $9.55 Buy It Now
Mike Oldfield - Platinum 2012 (NEW CD) USD $9.55 Buy It Now
Mike Oldfield - Incantations (NEW CD) USD $9.55 Buy It Now
Kevin Ayers Shooting at the Moon Japan CD Mike Oldfield Robert Wyatt USD $19.99 Buy It Now
Kevin Ayers Whatevershebringswesing Japan CD Mike Oldfield David Bedford USD $19.99 Buy It Now
MIKE OLDFIELD / TUBULAR BELLS 1974 VIRGIN RECORDS USD $11.73 Buy It Now
Mike Oldfield - Orchestral Tubular Bells (1993) USD $3.30 [0 bids]
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Mike Oldfield - Hergest Ridge Vinyl LP UK 1st Press A-1U/B-2U Colour 2 Virgins USD $19.77 Buy It Now
MIKE OLDFIELD crises LP EX+/VG- V 2262 A1/B2 uk virgin 1983 USD $17.49 Buy It Now
Mike Oldfield - Hergest Ridge Vinyl LP US 1985 Press EX+/NM USD $26.36 Buy It Now
Mike Oldfield - Crises Vinyl LP UK 1st Press 1983 NM USD $19.77 Buy It Now
MIKE OLDFIELD crises LP EX+/VG- V 2262 A1/B2 uk virgin 1983 USD $17.84 Buy It Now
MIKE OLDFIELD TUBULAR BEATS BRAND NEW SEALED CD 2013 USD $13.12 Buy It Now
Tubular Bells - Mike Oldfield - 1983 Virgin CD CDV2001 - No Barcode USD $17.79 Buy It Now
MIKE OLDFIELD PICTURE ARTICLE 1973 ORIGINAL ADVERT 10 X 7" APPROX ( 1970s ) USD $9.22 Buy It Now
Mike Oldfield - Incantations - Double Vinyl Record 12" LP 33RPM - 1978 - VDT101 USD $20.88 Buy It Now
Flying Start Mike Oldfield USD $14.44 Buy It Now
MIKE OLDFIELD the killing fields soundtrack ost (1st uk press) LP EX+/EX V2328 USD $21.35 Buy It Now
Ommadawn Mike Oldfield Vinyl Record USD $18.40 Buy It Now
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MIKE OLDFIELD Tubular Bells RARE UK 1978 ORIGINAL PICTURE DISC LP VP2001 USD $46.15 Buy It Now
MIKE OLDFIELD Tubular Bells VJD-23001 CD JAPAN 1989 OBI USD $79.74 Buy It Now
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Crisis Mike Oldfield Vinyl Record USD $18.40 Buy It Now
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QE2 Mike Oldfield Vinyl Record USD $21.04 Buy It Now
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MIKE OLDFIELD - THE KILLING FIELDS . LP. USD $7.90 Buy It Now 12m 18s
Mike Oldfield - The Songs Of Distant Earth - music cd album USD $13.12 Buy It Now 13m 36s
Mike Oldfield "Tubular Bells" 45 Single USD $4.95 Buy It Now 15m 42s
"7"-Mike Oldfield -Pictures in the PS German USD $9.99 Buy It Now 16m 53s
Mike Oldfield - Crises [New Vinyl] UK - Import USD $24.99 Buy It Now 17m 42s
Mike Oldfield - Platinum [New CD] USD $8.84 Buy It Now 19m 10s
2 CD SET MIKE OLDFIELD THE BEST OF: 1992-2003 BRAND NEW SEALED CD GREATEST HITS USD $11.80 Buy It Now 34m 33s
MIKE OLDFIELD - Incantations - 1978 UK double vinyl LP USD $9.22 Buy It Now 40m 32s
MIKE OLDFIELD + Tubular Bells + LP + 1973 + USD $6.33 Buy It Now 43m 32s
MIKE OLDFIELD the killing fields soundtrack ost (1st uk press) LP EX+/EX V2328 USD $21.36 Buy It Now 45m 28s
vinyl album MIKE OLDFIELD five miles out , gatefold USD $4.29 Buy It Now 1h 2m
Mike Oldfield - Voyager (2000) CD USD $5.92 Buy It Now 1h 3m
Mike Oldfield The Songs of Distant Earth German Vinyl LP in 1994 USD $349.99 Buy It Now 1h 5m
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1983 Mike Oldfield Moonlight Shadow & Rite Of Man 45rpm 7in Record USD $1.58 [0 bids]
1h 33m
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MIKE OLDFIELD - SMALL JOBLOT OF VINYL RECORDS - SYNTH - ELECTRONIC - LPS/SINGLES USD $9.22 [0 bids]
1h 45m
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Crises - Mike Oldfield - CD USD $29.41 Buy It Now 2h 13m
MIKE OLDFIELD Tubular Bells 1973 Virgin LP VR 13-105 EXC-/EXC USD $10.62 Buy It Now 2h 22m
Mike Oldfield - Exposed - 2x Vinyl Record LP Albums - VD2511 - 1983 USD $19.77 Buy It Now 2h 24m
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2h 34m
The Complete Mike Oldfield Album LP UK Import USD $24.99 Buy It Now 2h 37m
MIKE OLDFIELD "AMAROK" CD NEW+ USD $14.44 Buy It Now 2h 39m
MIKE OLDFIELD Five Miles Out LP USD $9.23 Buy It Now 2h 46m
MIKE OLDFIELD: TUBULAR BELLS (1973) NEWSPAPER PROMO CD (hc2) USD $6.58 Buy It Now 2h 54m
Nuclear - Mike Oldfield (Vinyl Used Very Good) USD $12.62 Buy It Now 3h 8m
MIKE OLDFIELD - EXPOSED -2LP EX/EX+/VD 2511/A3-B3-C2-D2/1979 UK USD $26.36 Buy It Now 3h 18m
MIKE OLDFIELD - CRISES 1983 WEST GERMANY TARGET ERA CD VIRGIN BLUE LABEL CDV2262 USD $13.50 Buy It Now 3h 39m
JOB LOT 5 MIKE OLDFIELD VINYL 7" COLLECTION USD $7.90 Buy It Now 3h 47m
Rock Lp Mike Oldfield Ommadawn On Virgin USD $4.99 [0 bids]
3h 51m
Mike Oldfield Featuring Jon Anderson - In High Places 7" Vinyl 1987 USD $3.94 [0 bids]
3h 53m
Mike Oldfield Record Collection Tubular Bells etc... USD $6.59 [0 bids]
4h 4m
MIKE OLDFIELD Islands VJCP-68841 CD JAPAN 2007 USD $92.11 Buy It Now 4h 9m
Mike Oldfield ?- Hergest Ridge Virgin ?- V 2013 UK Vinyl Album LP USD $13.15 [0 bids]
4h 12m
The Best Of MIKE OLDFIELD: Elements VJCP-28193 CD JAPAN 1993 OBI USD $57.39 Buy It Now 4h 12m
MIKE OLDFIELD WILLIAM TELL OVERTURE VIRGIN RECORDS UK 7" SINGLE VINYL SINGLE USD $1.83 [0 bids]
4h 13m
MIKE OLDFIELD EARTH MOVING 15 X 10" ORIGINAL ADVERT POSTER SIZE 15 JULY 1989 USD $15.81 Buy It Now 4h 14m
Mike Oldfield (1974 Vinyl LP Cleaned Playtested VI2013 1st Press) Hergest Ridge USD $7.38 Buy It Now 4h 15m
MIKE OLDFIELD - ICON CD NEW+ USD $14.53 Buy It Now 4h 28m
Mike Oldfield Discovery UK vinyl LP NEW sealed USD $47.68 Buy It Now 4h 31m
TUBULAR BELLS 2 - Mike Oldfield CD (1992) USD $1.32 [0 bids]
4h 44m
Mike Oldfield - Guilty 7" vinyl single USD $1.31 [0 bids]
5h
7" Single - Mike Oldfield - Portsmouth - Virgin VS 163 - 1976 USD $3.94 Buy It Now 5h 3m
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MIKE OLDFIELD ORCHESTRAL TUBULAR BELLS 1975 RARE ORIGINAL EXYUGO LP USD $22.79 Buy It Now 5h 17m
MIKE OLDFIELD - INCANTATIONS PARTS 1 & 2 - THOMSUN ORIGINAL TAPE CASSETTE ALBUM USD $1.31 [1 bids]
5h 30m
Earth Moving [IMPORT] by Mike Oldfield (Apr-2005, Disky) USD $0.99 [0 bids]
5h 35m
Mike Oldfield - Best Of Tubular Bells [CD Album] USD $6.26 [0 bids]
5h 42m
MIKE OLDFIELD " GUILTY " 7" SINGLE 1979 EX/VG USD $3.28 Buy It Now 5h 46m
Mike Oldfield?-"Tubular Bells" 1983 green label repress UK LP USD $7.90 [1 bids]
5h 48m

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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 | 1033 ratings
Tubular Bells
1973
3.93 | 530 ratings
Hergest Ridge
1974
2.51 | 166 ratings
The Orchestral Tubular Bells
1975
4.32 | 1173 ratings
Ommadawn
1975
3.93 | 405 ratings
Incantations
1978
3.13 | 269 ratings
Platinum
1979
3.49 | 291 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 | 524 ratings
Amarok
1990
2.53 | 165 ratings
Heaven's Open
1991
3.56 | 282 ratings
Tubular Bells II
1992
3.73 | 276 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 | 168 ratings
Music Of The Spheres
2008
3.20 | 165 ratings
Man On The Rocks
2014
4.09 | 240 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
3.17 | 29 ratings
Elements - The Best Of (DVD)
2004
3.81 | 34 ratings
Exposed
2005
4.40 | 71 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
2.48 | 10 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 | 530 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
4.09 | 240 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
2.48 | 10 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
4.09 | 240 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
4.09 | 240 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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