Mike Oldfield is a widely received music legend, born in Reading, Berkshire, England on 15 May 1953. Oldfield is a multi-instrumentalist, having featured several kinds of guitars, keyboards, percussion instruments, plucked idiophones and many other instruments in his albums. In addition to his efforts to include a wide range of instruments in his songs, Oldfield prefers a diverse approach to music, complementing his tracks with effects and influences from a number of genres, such as rock, folk, world, electronic and ambient. In a career spanning well over four decades, Oldfield has produced close to twenty albums.
Born in a family with parents who practiced medicine, Oldfield had siblings who admired music just as much as him, leading him to pursue a compositional career. He went to local schools and had no prior knowledge in music before attempting a first effort in professional production. Oldfield first began playing music in a duo with his sister, called The Sallyangie, producing an album along the way. Not long after, they disbanded and Oldfield chose to join his brother in an effort to form a long-lasting and commercially successful duo. This, too, was not to be. In the early 1970s, Oldfield made headlines after composing a stunning instrumental album, called Tubular Bells. An effort that had many phases and took years to process, Tubular Bells was a landmark production and top charted the UK billboard for a considerable period of time. In the following years, he worked on Ommadawn (1975) and Incantations (1978), which were some of his first attempts to include diverse themes in to his music. Around the same time, Oldfield’s versions of Christmas piece “In Dulci Jubilo” and “Portsmouth”, continued to build his fame and popularity amongst the UK music enthusiasts. Such was his popularity that even the Prince of Wales requested Oldfield to compose a tune for his wedding, named “Royal Wedding Anthem”.
In the 1980s, Oldfield became obsessed with pop music, themes of which were clearly visible in the next few albums and singles. One of the most celebrated single of the time was “Moonlight Shadow”, a joint effort with Maggie Reilly in 1983. Oldfield also became interested in song writing and composing tracks for film, one of these included The Killing Fields. Another famous album of the time was Islands (1987), with songs such as “Magic Touch” providing the perfect example of Oldfield’s unique approach of merging rock and instrumental aspects of contemporary music. In the early 1990s, he released the sequel to his hit 1973 album, Tubular Bells. This was followed by a string of albums, all exploring very different sides of music. One of the most popular ones was the celtic genre inspired Voyager (1995) with the ambient cover of a Celtic band called “The Sound of Air”. Oldfield defined his intrigue of merging and exploring different themes of music in his 1999 album Guitars, where he used guitars as the sole instrument to produce all sounds of the other instruments commonly used in production.
In 2005, Mike Oldfield attempted to produce a two-part album, Light + Shade, with the intention to depict two separate moods in the songs. This highlighted the sheer intensity surrounding his music, and his constant efforts to provide a new depiction of traditional classical music. All in all, his work has been widely received, building a large international audience overtime.