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Mike Oldfield (1953-) is an eclectic musician who has, in the span of a career going into its fourth 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.


Selected discography:

  • Tubular Bells (1973)
  • Hergest Ridge (1974)
  • The Orchestral Tubular Bells (1975)
  • Ommadawn (1975)
  • Incantations (1978)
  • Exposed (1979)
  • 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)

This musician contains examples of:

  • Bolero Effect: Tubular Bells (the song) has a finale which, like the original Bolero, adds a different instrument each loop until everything is playing beneath the majestic entry of the titular instrument.
  • Credits Gag: Tubular Bells (the album) has a caption reading "This stereo record cannot be played on old tin boxes no matter what thay are fitted with. If you are in possession of such equipment please hand it into the nearest police station." This is a parody of labels advising listeners that stereo L Ps may be played on mono equipment provided suitable cartridges are used.
  • Fake Loud: In Tubular Bells (the song) the peak volume is intentionally held down until the titular bells are heard. Leaving the impression that their sound is louder.
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: Tubular Bells (the song) cools down near the end with the sound of a distant tolling bell, setting the piece up for its climax.
  • 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. He has repeatedly re-recorded that song over the years.
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