Mike Oldfield was born May 15, 1953 in Reading, Berkshire, England and is a multi-instrumentalist and composer. Drawn to music from an early age, Oldfield played in various bands throughout his school years. As a teenager he was in a beat band playing Shadow covers. Once he graduated from school, Oldfield began his music career playing acoustic guitar in local folk clubs.
1967 saw Oldfield and his sister form the folk duo, The Sallyangie, which led to a record deal with Transatlantic Records and exposed Oldfield’s music to the local folk scene. The duo’s debut album, “Children of the Sun,” arrived in 1968. Shortly thereafter, The Sallyangie disbanded, and Oldfield formed the duo, Barefoot, with his brother. 1971 saw Oldfield team up with Richard Branson and Simon Draper, who were forming their own record label, Virgin Records, and begin recording part one of “Tubular Bells.”
“Tubular Bells” arrived in 1973 and was groundbreaking at the time, with Oldfield playing more than 20 different instruments on the album. The opening track on the album was featured in the film, “The Exorcist,” and the title track became a Top 10 hit on the Billboard chart.
Oldfield’s second effort, “Hergest Ridge,” appeared in 1974 and peaked at #1 on the U.K. Albums chart. 1975 saw Oldfield record a version of the Christmas piece “In Dulci Jubilo,” which peaked at #4 on the U.K. Singles chart. That same year marked a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition on “Tubular Bells.”
As the 1980s emerged, Oldfield, who had been reclusive, began to tour Europe and expose his music to wider audiences. Oldfield’s biggest hit came in 1983 as collaboration with Maggie Reilly, “Moonlight Shadow.” As the 1980s progressed, Oldfield turned his talents to scoring for feature films and television; the first being Roland Joffé's 1984 film, “The Killing Fields.”
As the 1990s ensued, Oldfield parted ways with Virgin Records and signed with Warner Bros. Records. Oldfield’s debut for the new label, and his 15th studio album, was 1992’s “Tubular Bells II.”
For the next decade, Oldfield toured sporadically and released nine more albums with his 2008 album, “Music of the Spheres,” becoming his first classical music album. The album peaked at #1 on the U.K Classical Albums chart and at #9 on the U.K. Albums chart. The album went on to be nominated for a BRIT Award for Best Classical Album.