Mike Oldfield A dedicated tab site


Michael Gordon Oldfield (best known as Mike Oldfield) was born in Reading, England, on May 15th of 1953. Mike's dad, Ray, taught him to play guitar a little, but soon after Mike saw Bert Weedon on television he asked his dad for his own guitar, since he realized he wanted to be musician. Years later it turned out that not only this boy became a brilliant musician, but also his sister Sally, singer nowadays, or his brother, Terry, who became composer.

At the early age of 10 years he was able to compose with his acoustic guitar. This guitar became not only a music instrument, but also an evading way from his daily life, marked by a deteriorated family situation.

As a teenager, he used to practice a lot with the guitar. Sometimes he played something on folk clubs, but he also used to play electronic instrumental music with and amateur band that liked to play The Shadows songs.

In 1966 he moved with his family to Romford, in Essex. And one year later he left school to form a folk group with his sister Sally, The Sallyangie. In 1968 they record "Children Of The Sun" and the single "Two Ships", with Transatlantic discography.

In 1969 the duo disappeared and Mike returns to rock, forming Barefoot, a new band, with his brother Terry. But this group could not last so much, and soon after Mike joined as a bass player Kevin Ayers and The Whole World. There he met David Bedford, keybo1ard player, who would became a good friend of Mike.

On 1971 this group disappeared, but at the time Mike was already the lead guitar player of the group, and getting some popularity with this instrument. At this stage he was already thinking in Tubular Bells, a big symphonic piece.

He managed to record a rough home made tape that showed his idea for this piece, and send it to many record companies. However, any of them showed any interest on it, since they didn't find it commercial enough. But hopefully, one year later, he showed this tape to Tom Newman and Simon Heyworth, and these ones convinced Richard Branson (owner of The Manor recording studios) to develop the needed work.

After this, just it was needed to convince Simon Draper (propietary of Virgin records, with Richard Branson). But it was not a difficult task, since he was fascinated by the music and soon approved the project. During one week Mike was recording at The Manor, and in this time he managed to record a big part of Tubular Bells Part One. On the following months the rest of the album was recorded. Finally, on May 25th of 1973 was released, by Virgin, Tubular Bells. It was welcomed by both the critics and the public, and it became on the top charts around whole Europe

On June of the '73 he presented this masterpiece at the Queen Elizabeth Hall of London, where once again was welcomed by the public. Finally, a piece of 4 minutes of Tubular Bells was included in the popular movie The Exorcist.

Overwhelmed by the the success and the consequent responsibilities he moved to Herefordshire, where Hergest Ridge was composed, and released on August 24th of 1974. Also in this year he made some arrangements on Tubular Bells, for an orchestral version that would be recorded one year later on studio (with Mike as soloist guitarist). On the '75 his mother died, and another of his albums was released: Ommadawn. Also he received a Grammy for Tubular Bells, on the Best Instrumental Composition category

In 1976 he got a deep depression and moved to a rural house on Gloucestershire, where he composed Incantations, while Virgin released Boxed. On that time there was performances of his pieces, but he didn't play them, due to his mental problems. Then, on 1978 Incantations was finally released. He started also a therapy to try to get rid of his problems and met Diana Füller, woman that became his wife, but just for two weeks.

On the next year, recovered thanks to the therapy, he starts a tour through Europe, performing 11 concerts. This was used as a source material for release Exposed on July 17th. And this same year, on November 23rd, Platinum was released. He met and married also his second wife, Sally Cooper, and had three children: Molly, Sally and Dougal. In 1980 he made a new tour which again was used to release some material, this time a video: The Essential. He also released by the time QE2.

At the time his music is not as much popular as before, but Tubular Bells still it is. In fact, in 1981 Virgin announces the selling of 10 million copies has been reached. Mike enters then the "top Britain people" guide Who's Who, and receives the Freedom reward of London city. On the next year he releases Five Miles Out, which was quite popular on United Kingdom.

On 1983, and coincident with the 10th anniversary of Tubular Bells, Crises was released. On this year the relation with Branson gets worse, since he pretends Mike develops more commercial music, something that Mike really didn't want. However he had to complete his contract, and would release 6 more albums with Virgin.

On the following years were released Discovery (June 25th of 1984) and The Killing Fields (November 26th), a soundtrack for the movie of same name. In 1985 Virgin releases The Complete and Mike met Anita Hegerland, who became his girlfriend for several years, and with who had two more children: Greta and Noah. In 1986 he developed a video album, The Wind Chimes, and its audio version came the next year on the album Islands.

On 1989 was released his only fully vocal pop work, Earth Moving, in an agreement with Virgin to release Amarok, an only instrumental piece released on 1990, but which had no promotion. on 1991, and for finishing the contract, Heaven's Open was released and he leaves Virgin

After his period with Virgin he decided to work with WEA, and he released Tubular Bells II on 1992. He also performed a concert on Edinburgh. Two years later The Songs Of The Distant Earth was released, an album inspired by an Arthur Clarke book. This album also contained a MAC interactive track.

On 1996 he released Voyager, a Celt style album, and in 1998 he released Tubular Bells III, an album that reflects part of the life spent in Ibiza (Spain). At the time WEA released also a DVD with the concerts of Edinburgh (Tubular Bells II) and a performance of Tubular Bells III in London. A year later appeared Guitars, an album that has only guitars as instruments. Also this year appeared The Millennium Bell. And at the end of the year, he performed a concert in Berlin, The Art In Heaven, that would be released in DVD one year later.

In 2002 Virgin releases a new recompilation: Collection, at the same time that WEA Spain (Mike's new record company) promotes Mike's new work Tr3s Lunas. This album was presented at La Ciutat de Les Arts i Les Ciencies, at Valencia.

On 2003 Mike releases Tubular Bells 2003, on the 30th anniversary of Tubular Bells. This album is not a remastering of the original one, since it was arranged and recorded again. One year later a new version of Elements in DVD was released, more complete than its predecessor, Elements on VHS. He also started working with Mercury Records, an released on 2005 Light + Shade, a 2 CD album. On 2008 they released a classical work composed for orchestra, named Music of the Spheres. The last releases are reeditions of some of Mike's classic albums by Mercury Records. That was possible when the rights of Tubular Bells and other Virgin records were transferred.

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Biography links

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