Mike Oldfield

(Michael Gordon Oldfield) is a multi-instrumentalist, , songwriter, producer. He is known for music composed for The Space (1980), The Killing Fields (1984), 2nd House (1973).

Born in Reading the son of a family doctor and nurse, and younger brother of Terry and Sally, young Mike immersed himself in music. Coinciding with moving to Harold Wood in Essex, by the age of 13 he was also moving out of a Shadows phase and precociously following in the fingertips of the great generation of British guitarists, his sister getting Mike into folk, “a fashionable thing then. I used to sing in those days and joined a couple of different duos in Reading; we used to do Irish rebel songs, and everyone would join in on the chorus — it was great.” Though beset by stage fright — “In my solo guitar spot at the folk clubs, my knee was shaking, trembling so badly the guitar was jiggling up and down, and I had no patter” — he had decided on a career in music, networking via his sister’s old Reading friend Marianne Faithfull to meet her boyfriend Mick Jagger: “Charming beyond belief. A lovely, lovely man.”

Leaving school at 15, Mike cut an album with his sister, then passed through a rock band, Barefoot, with brother Terry before finding his path when in March 1970, Mike joined Soft Machine legend Kevin Ayers’ new band, the Whole World, on bass (a new instrument to him). Introduced by a fellow band-member to American serialist Terry Riley’s Rainbow In Curved Air album, Mike began working on musical ideas of his own.

Further inspired by the music of Bach, Sibelius and the jazz-rock orchestra Centipede, Mike began to record his ideas on a jerry-rigged two-track tape recorder using his own homemade musical notation system.

Fate smiled when he found himself at Shipton Manor near Oxford which was being converted into a residential recording studio by friends of its owner, the youthful Virgin record shop and mail order founder, Richard Branson; they heard his music and so Mike became the first artist to make an album for the Virgin Records label. That album, released in 1973 to critical acclaim and cult sales before becoming a commercial — selling 17 million copies to date — blockbuster thanks in part to its use on the of the movie The Exorcist, was ‘Tubular Bells’.

With ‘Hergest Ridge’ and ‘Ommadawn’ following within two years, Mike had created an enduring trinity of classic albums that overlapped rock and classical and, before the terms were even coined, new age and world music.

These albums remain the musical statements Mike feels are truest to him, and he has revisited ‘Tubular Bells’ two times as sequels and a rerecording.

He has also enjoyed a prolific recording career away from long-form pieces of music as soundtrack composer for the classic 1984 film ‘The Killing Fields’ and creator of such beloved hit singles as the Christmas classic ‘In Dulci Jubilo’ and ‘Moonlight Shadow’, plus several hit albums of songs including ‘Man On The Rocks’. In 2008 Mike released his first classical album, the hugely successful ‘Music Of The Spheres’, and he has also created music for virtual reality-based computer games.

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