One slightly...distorted guitarist.
Mike Oldfield (1953-) is an eclectic musician who has, in the span of a career going into its fifth decade, explored various musical genres. Mostly famous for his 1973 album Tubular Bells
, His Signature Style
is the use of overdubbing in studio recordings, which allows him to play most or all of the instruments on a given piece — a practice that was much less widespread when he began using it. Although he has done several radio-friendly pop singles, his better-known works are long instrumentals, occasionally clocking in at one hour of continuous music.
- Tubular Bells (1973)
- The Orchestral Tubular Bells (1975)
- Hergest Ridge (1974)
- The Orchestral Hergest Ridge (1976) (will never be released for various reasons) note
- Ommadawn (1975)
- Incantations (1978)
- Exposed (1979) (his only live album)
- Platinum (1979)
- QE2 (1980)
- Five Miles Out (1982)
- Crises (1983)
- Discovery (1984)
- The Killing Fields (1984)
- Islands (1987)
- Earth Moving (1989)
- Amarok (1990)
- Heaven's Open (1991)
- Tubular Bells II (1992), Master of Ceremonies: Alan Rickman
- The Songs of Distant Earth (1994)
- Voyager (1996)
- Tubular Bells III (1998)
- Guitars (1999)
- The Millennium Bell (1999)
- Tr3s Lunas (2002)
- Tubular Bells 2003 (2003)
- Light + Shade (2005)
- Music of the Spheres (2008)
- Tubular Beats (2013) (remix album)
(Tropes partaining to Tubular Bells or its sequels go on the Tubular Bells page)
This musician contains examples of:
- Band of Relatives: Both types.
- Type 1: Occasionally recorded with his sister Sally (vocals) and brother Terry (winds) on solo albums, and his son Luke (guitar) played with him at the Olympics (see below).
- Type 2: Mike and Sally were a folk duo, The Sallyangie, years before Tubular Bells and released one album as said duo.
- Colbert Bump: Has been on the giving and recieving end of this:
- The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band probably wouldn't be half as well known if it wasn't for Vivian Stanshall doing the narration of Tubular Bells.
- This very page wasn't created until Mike was mentioned in a Cracked article
- Creator Backlash: Notably averted for anything in his entire discography. Even Tubular Bells, which is basically the only thing he's known for note , is exempt. In his words: "It's a great song, I don't mind if people know me for it"
- Almost played straight with Heaven's Open. He's called it "a turkey of an album" and laments that it was a nightmare to produce; However, he is appreciative of fans who enjoy it.
- Glory Days: Oldfield released his greatest hit within his debut album. While he has released several other respectable hits, none has really matched it in terms of critical success or musical influence.
- Gratuitous Foreign Language: Any of his worldier pieces will contain this.
- I Am the Band: He played most of the instruments on many of his earlier albums.
- Instrumentals: Many of his albums and other side-long suites are either instrumental or contain brief vocals or chants (relative to the total length of the piece):
- His first four albums were all instrumental, save for a few minutes of Ommadawn in Part 1 and its epilogue, "On Horseback", Incantations in Parts 2 and 4, and though not sung, the instrument introductions in Tubular Bells. Then there's the Platinum title track, QE2, 90% of "Taurus 2", the Tubular Bells sequels...the list goes on.
- Leitmotif: In addition to the aforementioned re-recordings, the intro to Tubular Bells has been recycled in some of his later works, such as "Taurus 2", which itself has riffs recycled in other songs of Five Miles Out.
- Lyrical Dissonance: "Moonlight Shadow" and "Crime of Passion".
- Not Christian Rock: Although he uses various religous themes in his music, when asked, he'll describe himself as "spiritual", rather than religious.
- Olympic Games: Composed and performed for the opening ceremonies of the 2012 London games...plus the biggest and loudest tubular bells in Europe.
- Repurposed Christmas Carol: "In Dulci Jubilo" was originally a folk carol before Mike turned it into an instrumental showcase. Repurposed a second time when he used it the aforementioned Olympics segment honoring England's National Health Service, featuring Mary Poppins and Voldemort of all characters.
- Take That:
- Amarok is one huge one directed to Richard Branson, whose relationship to Mike became very icy by the late 80s...
- Branson demanded Oldfield write a Tubular Bells sequel and Oldfield gave him about the farthest thing from it possible.
- Tubular bells were in fact played on the album, but Oldfield called them "long, thin metallic hanging tubes".
- The real Tubular Bells II wouldn't be written and released until directly after Oldfield's split from Virgin Records.
- For sixty minutes of music, it was divided into 48 sections and was arranged so that it was almost impossible to market any parts of it on the radio.
- "This record could be hazardous to the health of cloth-eared nincompoops. If you suffer from this condition, consult your Doctor immediately."
- "FUCK OFF RB" in Morse Code.
- The Margaret Thatcher impersonator talking about "fresh beginnings" and how "nothing much is happening at the moment" towards the end of the album.
- The oft-forgotten Heaven's Open (the only album Mike did all the lead vocals for) also has quite a few at Branson:
- It's the only album to be credited to "Michael Oldfield"
- The first song, "Make Make" has the lines "We're on the make make | Don't mind, it's fake fake | We're on the make make | We're making heartbreak" and "Don't you know we're not Virgin?"
- The third song, "Mr. Shame", asks the titular character to "embrace love", most likely referring to Branson.
- "Gimme Back" has Mike asking for various body parts back.
- The last song, "Music From The Balcony" ends with someone laughing and saying "Now fuck off!" It's also about a one-third scale spiritual sequel to Amarok—try finding an excerpt of this one to put on radio.
- Uncommon Time: But of course, he's a progressive rock musician.
- Tubular Bells is one of the most famous examples of this in popular music, with the beginning riff switching between 7/8 and 8/8.