Michael Gordon Oldfield (born 15 May 1953) is a British musician, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter best known for his debut studio album Tubular Bells (1973), which became an unexpected critical and commercial success and propelled him to worldwide fame. Though primarily a guitarist, Oldfield is known for playing a range of instruments, which includes keyboards and percussion, and doing vocals. He has adopted a range of musical styles throughout his career, including progressive rock, world, folk, classical, electronic, ambient, and new age music.
Oldfield took up the guitar at age ten and left school in his teens to embark on a music career. From 1967 to 1970, he and his sister Sally Oldfield were a folk duo The Sallyangie, after which he performed with Kevin Ayers. In 1971, Oldfield started work on Tubular Bells which caught the attention of Richard Branson, who agreed to release it on his new label, Virgin Records. Its opening was used in the horror film The Exorcist and the album went on to sell over 2.7 million copies in the UK. Oldfield followed it with Hergest Ridge (1974), Ommadawn (1975), and Incantations (1978), all of which feature longform and mostly instrumental pieces.
In the late 1970s, Oldfield began to tour and release more commercial and song-based music, beginning with Platinum (1979), QE2 (1980), and Five Miles Out (1982). His most successful album of this period was Crises (1983), which features the worldwide hit single “Moonlight Shadow” with vocalist Maggie Reilly.
After signing with WEA in the early 1990s, Oldfield’s most significant album of the decade was Tubular Bells II (1992) and experimented with virtual reality and gaming content with his MusicVR project. In 2012, he performed at the opening ceremony for the 2012 Olympic Games held in London. Oldfield’s discography includes 26 studio albums, nine of which have reached the UK top-ten. His most recent album is Return to Ommadawn (2017).
Recordings by Mike Oldfield you can hear at Instrumentals Forever:
|Etude [Single Version]|
|Flowers of the forest|
|In Dulci Jubilo|
|She moves through the fair|
|The song of the sun|
|Wild goose flaps its wings|
|Women of Ireland|