Happy Birthday: Mike Oldfield
It was on this day in Reading, England in 1953 that Michael Gordon Oldfield – but you can call him Mike – first entered the world. In celebration of this occasion, we’ve got our official Mike Oldfield playlist cocked and ready for your listening enjoyment, but to spotlight some of his musicianship from outside his career as a solo artist, we’ve also put together a six-pack of tracks from the late ‘60s and early ‘70s that feature Mr. Oldfield in some capacity.
1. The Sallyangle, “Children of the Sun” (1969): While finding his footing as a musician, Oldfield formed a folk duo with his sister, Sally Oldfield, called The Sallyangle. Their commercial success was decidedly limited, but they did manage to release an album together, and this was its title track.
2. Kevin Ayers and the Whole World, “Butterfly Dance” (1970): In the wake of The Sallyangle breaking up, Oldfield briefly formed a group with his brother – Barefoot – but it was a short-lived situation. Subsequently, Oldfield joined Kevin Ayers’ backing group, The Whole World, and remained with them for two studio albums. This track is from the second of those albums, SHOOTING AT THE MOON.
3. The Edgar Broughton Band, “Thinking of You” (1971): Looking back, it’s a testament to the open-minded tastes of the British record-buying public that Broughton and his band managed to find commercial success despite the fact that they earned regular comparisons to Captain Beefheart. This track wasn’t released as a single, but it was included on the band’s self-titled album, which made it to #28 on the UK Albums chart.
4. David Bedford, “Nurses Song with Elephants” (1972): Oldfield and Bedford worked together in The Whole World, with Bedford assisting Oldfield when he began work on his seminal TUBULAR BELLS album. By that point, however, Oldfield had already contributed to Bedford’s own album, NURSES SONG WITH ELEPHANTS.
5. Robert Wyatt, “Little Red Robin Hood Hit the Road” (1974): Released in the wake of an unfortunate accident which found Wyatt permanently paralyzed from the waist down, ROCK BOTTOM – from which this track is taken – found Wyatt teaming with a number of high profile musicians who wanted to support him in his continuing musical endeavors. In addition to Oldfield, Ivor Cutler, Fred Frith, Gary Windo, and Hugh Hopper were among the musical luminaries who contributed to the album, with Nick Mason of Pink Floyd producing the proceedings.
6. Tom Newman, “Suzie” (1975): Although he was a key figure in the founding of Virgin Records, Tom Newman’s greatest claim to fame is arguably the fact that he produced Oldfield’s TUBULUAR BELLS album. Newman did, however, have a solo career, one which kicked off with his 1975 album FINE OLD TOM, from which this song is taken.