84 Facts About Mike Oldfield


Michael Gordon Oldfield was born on 15 May 1953 and is a British musician, songwriter, and producer best known for his debut studio album Tubular Bells, which became an unexpected critical and commercial success.


Mike Oldfield has adopted a range of musical styles throughout his career, including progressive rock, world, folk, classical, electronic, ambient, and new age music.


Mike 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 Mike Oldfield were a folk duo The Sallyangie, after which he performed with Kevin Ayers.


In 1971, Mike Oldfield started work on Tubular Bells which caught the attention of Richard Branson, who agreed to release it on his new label, Virgin Records.


Mike Oldfield followed it with Hergest Ridge, Ommadawn, and Incantations, all of which feature longform and mostly instrumental pieces.


Mike Oldfield's discography includes 26 studio albums, nine of which have reached the UK top-ten.


Mike Oldfield was born on 15 May 1953 in Reading, Berkshire, to Raymond Henry Mike Oldfield, an English general practitioner, and Maureen, an Irish nurse.


Mike Oldfield has two elder siblings, sister Sally and brother Terence.


When Mike Oldfield was seven, his mother gave birth to a younger brother, David, who had Down syndrome and died in infancy.


Mike Oldfield's mother was prescribed barbiturates, to which she became addicted.


Mike Oldfield had mental health problems and would spend much of the rest of her life in mental institutions, dying in early 1975, shortly after Oldfield had started writing Ommadawn.


Mike Oldfield attended Highlands Junior School, St Edward's Preparatory School and Presentation College, all in Reading.


Mike Oldfield took up the guitar aged ten, first learning on a 6-string acoustic instrument which his father had given to him.


Mike Oldfield learned technique by copying parts from songs, by folk guitarists Bert Jansch and John Renbourn, that he played on a portable record player.


In May 1968, when Mike Oldfield turned fifteen, his school headmaster requested that he cut his long hair.


Mike Oldfield then decided to pursue music on a full-time, professional basis.


Mike Oldfield auditioned as bassist for Family in 1969 following the departure of Ric Grech, but the group did not share Roger Chapman's enthusiasm towards Oldfield's performance.


Mike Oldfield spent much of the next year living off his father and performing in an electric rock band named Barefoot that included his brother Terry on flute, until the group disbanded in early 1970.


In February 1970, Mike Oldfield auditioned as the bassist in The Whole World, a new backing band that former Soft Machine vocalist Kevin Ayers was putting together.


Mike Oldfield landed the position despite the bass being a new instrument for him, but he played occasional lead guitar and later looked back on this time as providing valuable training on the bass.


Mike Oldfield went on to play on Ayers's albums Shooting at the Moon and Whatevershebringswesing, and played mandolin on Edgar Broughton Band.


All three albums were recorded at Abbey Road Studios, where Mike Oldfield familiarised himself with a variety of instruments, such as orchestral percussion, piano, Mellotron, and harpsichord, and started to write and put down musical ideas of his own.


Mike Oldfield recorded "Part Two" from February to April 1973.


Mike Oldfield played more than twenty different instruments in the multi-layered recording, and its style moved through diverse musical genres.


In 1974, Mike Oldfield played the guitar on the critically acclaimed album Rock Bottom by Robert Wyatt.


Mike Oldfield recorded the double album Incantations between December 1977 and September 1978.


Mike Oldfield had conquered his fear of flying, gained a pilot's licence, and bought his own plane.


In 1979, Mike Oldfield supported Incantations with a European tour that spanned 21 dates between March and May 1979.


Mike Oldfield wrote a chord chart for the song and presented it to the group, who completed it in the studio.


Mike Oldfield's music was used for the score of The Space Movie, a Virgin Films production that celebrated the tenth anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission.


Mike Oldfield performed across Europe between April and December 1980 with the In Concert 1980 tour.


In 1980, Mike Oldfield released QE2, named after the ocean liner, which features a variety of guest musicians including Phil Collins on drums.


Mike Oldfield wrote a new track, "Royal Wedding Anthem", for the occasion.


The Five Miles Out World Tour 1982 saw Mike Oldfield perform from April to December of that year.


Crises saw Mike Oldfield continue the pattern of one long composition with shorter songs.


Mike Oldfield later turned to film and video, writing the score for Roland Joffe's acclaimed film The Killing Fields and producing substantial video footage for his album Islands.


Mike Oldfield did everything in his power to make it impossible to make extracts and Virgin returned the favour by barely promoting the album.


In February 1991, Mike Oldfield released his final album for Virgin, Heaven's Open, under the name "Michael Mike Oldfield".


In 2013, Mike Oldfield invited Branson to the opening of St Andrew's International School of The Bahamas, where two of Mike Oldfield's children were pupils.


Mike Oldfield signed with Rob Dickins of WEA Warner and recorded the album with Trevor Horn as producer.


Mike Oldfield supported the album with his Tubular Bells II 20th Anniversary Tour in 1992 and 1993, his first concert tour since 1984.


In 1994, he had an asteroid, 5656 Mike Oldfield, named after him.


In 1995, Mike Oldfield continued to embrace new musical styles by producing the Celtic-themed album Voyager.


In 1992, Mike Oldfield met Luar na Lubre, a Galician Celtic-folk band, with the singer Rosa Cedron.


The band's popularity grew after Mike Oldfield covered their song "O son do ar" on his Voyager album.


In 1998, Mike Oldfield produced the third Tubular Bells album, drawing on the dance music scene at his then new home on the island of Ibiza.


Mike Oldfield added to his repertoire the MusicVR project, combining his music with a virtual reality-based computer game.


In 2002 and 2003, Mike Oldfield re-recorded Tubular Bells using modern equipment to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the original.


Mike Oldfield had wanted to do it years before but his contract with Virgin kept him from doing so.


On 12 April 2004 Mike Oldfield launched his next virtual reality project, Maestro, which contains music from the Tubular Bells 2003 album and some new chillout melodies.


In 2005, Mike Oldfield signed a deal with Mercury Records UK, who secured the rights to his catalogue when the rights had reverted to himself.


Mike Oldfield released his first album on the Mercury label, Light + Shade, in September 2005.


In 2006 and 2007, Mike Oldfield headlined the Night of the Proms tour, consisting of 21 concerts across Europe.


In March 2008 Mike Oldfield released his first classical album, Music of the Spheres; Karl Jenkins assisted with the orchestration.


In 2008, Mike Oldfield contributed a new track, "Song for Survival", to the charity album Songs for Survival in support of Survival International.


In 2012, Mike Oldfield was featured on Journey into Space, an album by his brother Terry, and on the track "Islanders" by German producer Torsten Stenzel's York project.


Mike Oldfield performed live at the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony in London.


Mike Oldfield's set included renditions of Tubular Bells, "Far Above the Clouds" and "In Dulci Jubilo" during a segment about the National Health Service.


Later in 2012, the compilation album Two Sides: The Very Best of Mike Oldfield was released and reached No 6 in the UK.


Mike Oldfield's rock-themed album of songs, titled Man on the Rocks, was released on 3 March 2014 by Virgin EMI.


In 2015, Mike Oldfield told Steve Wright on his BBC radio show that a sequel album to Tubular Bells was in early development, which he aimed to record on analogue equipment.


Later in 2015, Mike Oldfield revealed that he had started on a sequel to Ommadawn.


Mike Oldfield again hinted at a fourth Tubular Bells album when he posted photos of his new equipment, including a new Telecaster guitar.


Mike Oldfield has regularly returned to projects emphasising detailed, manually played and part-acoustic instrumentation.


Mike Oldfield has contributed experimental vocal effects such as fake choirs and the notorious "Piltdown Man" impression on Tubular Bells.


Mike Oldfield used a modified Roland GP8 effects processor in conjunction with his PRS Artist to get many of his heavily overdriven guitar sounds from the Earth Moving album onwards.


Mike Oldfield has an unusual playing style, using fingers and long right-hand fingernails and different ways of creating vibrato: a "very fast side-to-side vibrato" and "violinist's vibrato".


Mike Oldfield has stated that his playing style originates from his musical roots playing folk music and the bass guitar.


Mike Oldfield has self-recorded and produced many of his albums, and played the majority of the featured instruments, largely at his home studios.


For composing orchestral music Mike Oldfield has been quoted as using the software notation program Sibelius running on Apple Macintoshes.


Mike Oldfield used the FL Studio DAW on his 2005 double album Light + Shade.


Mike Oldfield has been married four times and has seven children.


Mike Oldfield recalled that he phoned Branson the day after the ceremony and said he had made a mistake.


From 1979 to 1986, Mike Oldfield was in a relationship with Sally Cooper, whom he met through Virgin.


Mike Oldfield entered a relationship with Norwegian singer Anita Hegerland, lasting until 1991.


Between 2002 and 2013, Mike Oldfield was married to Fanny Vandekerckhove, whom he had met while living in Ibiza.


Mike Oldfield used drugs in his early life including LSD, which he said affected his mental health.


Mike Oldfield later became a motorcycle enthusiast and has been inspired to write songs from riding them.


Mike Oldfield has owned various models, including a BMW R1200GS, Suzuki GSX-R750, Suzuki GSX-R1000, and a Yamaha R1.


Mike Oldfield has lived in Nassau, Bahamas, since 2009 and is a Bahamian citizen.


Mike Oldfield has lived in Spain, Los Angeles and Monaco.


In 2012, Mike Oldfield stated that he had decided to leave England after feeling that the country had become a "nanny state" with too much surveillance and state control.


In 2017, Mike Oldfield expressed support for then US President Donald Trump and said he would have played at Trump's inauguration if he had been invited to do so.