The Mike Oldfield FAQ
Here is a collection of the most frequesntly asked questions concerning
Mike Oldfield. Most of these questions surfaced on the mailing list
amarok more than once, and I hope to collect more as time goes by. I've
given credit to the people, who answered the question at some time. I
give them credit for giving information to everybody, including me, and
if there's any mistakes, please blame me / tell me.
All those abbreviations - what do they mean?
The shortest discography in the world:
TB...: Tubular Bells
HR...: Hergest Ridge
QE2..: Well :-) Actually it means Queen Elisabeth 2
FMO..: Five Miles Out
TKF..: The Killing Fields
EM...: Earth Moving
HO...: Heaven's Open
TB II: Guess!
TSODE: The Songs of Distant Earth
(There _must_ be some difference between Islands and Incantions. But I
can't remember what?)
And then of course:
| MO.: Mike Oldfield |
Talking about discographies - where can I find them?
I can recommend the discography made by Lazlo Nibble, at the URL
http://www.swcp.com/lazlo-bin/discogs?artist=Mike+Oldfield. I've used it
a lot, and I'm glad that it's not that large. The one by Rainer Muenz
(you can get an old version of this at
ftp://ftp.frisbee.net.au/amarok/discographies/discography.zip) is longer
and more detailed, and if you're really into collecting anything and
everything that says Mike Oldfield, you want that one. You have to mail
Rainer to get an updated one:
To all the people who don't know what this discography is, and
especially to all new subscribers:
This Mike Oldfield discography is one of the most complete MO disco's
worldwide. You will find information about all releases that I have
ever heard from - from all over the world. That's the information you
Track lists of albums and single releases, release (or press)
country, order number, label descriptions, comments (like promo,
bootleg, testpressing, sticker, belt, insert etc...) and the value in
Germany in German DM (not exactly the value in foreign countries, but
it gives you a hint how rare an item is).
You can find releases from more than 50 countries, including "exotic"
releases from Zimbabwe, Israel, Turkey, Nigeria, Venezuela, Korea,
Hongkong and many others.
All important things are included: 7" / 10" / 12" / LP / CD / CD-Maxi
/ MC / MC-Single / 8-Track-Cartridges / Video / Laserdisc releases.
You will get info about Mike's own releases, various artists
compilations with his music, guest appearances, Mike as producer and
cover versions of Oldfield songs, including promos, testpressings,
bootlegs, private made CD's and even a few acetates.
The lists are 10 emails, totally about 200 pages ASCII text (454 kB)
including a 20 pages file with label descriptions and a file with
comments about different song versions and more (not ready yet, but
you can get it as a rough version).
All together there are 3063 items listed now (april 1996):
547 7" singles
2 10" singles
140 12" singles
850 LP releases
376 CD releases
244 MC releases
57 Video releases
All of them are Mike's own releases. Plus:
106 Various Artists Compilations
326 Guest projects
251 Items with Cover Versions
If you always wanted to know where Don Alfonso was released or what's
the B-side of Magic Touch, your questions can be answered. If you
have asked yourself why you can't find a special item in your local
shops, these lists will tell you in which countries a record was
released. If you don't know, on which albums Mike played with David
Bedford, look in the discography. And if you are interested to know
that Michele Torr made a cover version of Taurus II, you should ask
me for the lists.
If you want to get the discography, you should write an email
directly to me:
I'll be back here next Tuesday, and all people who are interested
will get 10 emails then. But of course you can always - whenever you
want - ask me for a new version. Yes, it's really totally free - no
shareware! And please tell me if you want to get updates
automatically (that might be a problem for people with account
Hope to hear from you,
P.S.: If you have an account limit, you should check first, if you
have enough space left - you'll need about 450 kB! Sorry, you
can't get the new lists by ftp or www!
Did Mike Oldfield write...
Q: I've seen this book "Born In The UK" by Mike Oldfield? Could this be a
book by THE Mike Oldfield?
A: No. The author Mike Oldfield is a music journalist - I think he
works/worked on the NME (a very anti-MO organ!) He has also written other
books, one about them about Bruce Springsteen.
What's a Piltdown Man?
Q: In the instrument listing for Tubular Bells, there is mentioned
"Piltdown Man". What kind of instrument is this?
A: The name refers to the fact that MO sings like a caveman. The Piltdown
Man was an anthropological hoax. The exact perpertrator of the hoax has
never been revealed, although I read an interesting article on it a few
months ago that listed a number of suspects. In any case, it's pretty
apparent that, as with most hoaxes, it was specifically designed to
embarrass one person (and his followers, presumably). As I recall, the
hoax consisted of placing the jawbone of some neanderthal variant into
the skull of a gorilla, or the other way around. In any case, the
anthroplogist who "discovered" it (keeping in mind that, of course, he
was *meant* to discover it) trumpeted it to be evidence of the missing
link between apes and humans and so on. To the best of my memory, it took
several years before the hoax was discovered, and it certainly destroyed
some credibility within the field.
Why does Heaven's Open say Michael Oldfield?
Q: Can anyone tell me why HO has 'Michael Oldfield' as the artist when
all of the the other albums have simply 'Mike Oldfield'?
A: 'Heaven's Open' was an album which was done very quickly and cheap to
get out of the contract of VIRGIN records. Mike had a lot of trouble with
Amarok is Mikes 'good bye' to Virgin and you hear it everywhere on it:
- - 'Happy?'
- - '.. I really didn't know I could dance..'
- - secret (?) morse code saying "FUCK OFF RB" (Africa I:Far dip - section)
(Richard Branson was the chef of Virgin)
After that Mike only had to write one single album to fulfill his
contract and so he rushed out 'Heaven's Open'. He even sings his songs
himself to make this quick and cheap - and he is a really awful singer!
The only way to seperate this album from the others is to print "Michael"
on it. Even Tom Newman is called "Thom" on it! 8-)
Credit: Marcus Junglas
Comet called Oldfield?
Q: Is it true there's a comet named after Oldfield? Was this because of
A: Yes, it's true, '94 or even earlier an astonomer named yet another
comet after a singer (such a "Zappafrank") and Oldfield got his comet!
But there's probably no connection with TSODE.
Credit: Kerick, Morten Due Jørgensen
The meaning of Amarok and Ommadawn
Q: What do "Ommadawn" and "Amarok" refer to?
A: They are Anglicised spellings of the Irish Gaelic words "Amadian"
meaning "Fool" and "Ammarach" meaning "Tomorrow".
Credit: Matthew J. Sorell
Don't come in again like that
Q: Who is it that says 'Don't come in again like that' in Orabidoo?
Somebody said something about it coming from a movie?
A: Right. The film is called "Young and Innocent", and is by Hitchcock.
(I think) the scene involves someone playing the drums after they have
been drugged by someone else. Halfway through the piece they are playing
this person stumbles and knocks over a drum or two in an unscheduled
fashion. After they have finished playing the conductor walks up to him
and utters the immortal line "Don't come in again like that, it isn't
funny and I pay someone else to make the orchestration." Don't quote me
on this though because it might not be 100% accurate. (Sorry, Michael,
but until we get something more accurate, I'll quote you anyway. Lise.)
Credit: Jon Dunn, Michael Lewis