Innovative English musician, composer, record producer, singer, and visual artist, Brian Eno was born 15 May 1948. Eno was a student of Roy Ascott on his Groundcourse at Ipswich Civic College. He then studied at Colchester Institute art school in Essex, England, taking inspiration from minimalist painting. During his time on the art course at the Institute, he also gained experience in playing and making music through teaching sessions held in the adjacent music school. He joined the band Roxy Music as synthesiser player in the early 1970s. Roxy Music’s success in the glam rock scene came quickly, but Eno soon became tired of touring and of conflicts with lead singer Bryan Ferry.
Eno’s solo music has explored more experimental musical styles and ambient music. It has also been immensely influential, pioneering ambient and generative music, innovating production techniques, and emphasising “theory over practice”. He also introduced the concept of chance music to popular audiences, partially through collaborations with other musicians. Eno has also worked as an influential music and album producer. By the end of the 1970s, Eno had worked with Robert Fripp on the LPs No Pussyfooting and Evening Star, David Bowie on the seminal “Berlin Trilogy” and helped popularise the American band Devo and the punk-influenced “No Wave” genre. He produced and performed on three albums by Talking Heads, including Remain in Light (1980), and produced seven albums for U2, including The Joshua Tree (1987). Eno has also worked on records by James, Laurie Anderson, Coldplay, Paul Simon, Grace Jones, James Blake and Slowdive, among others.
Eno also pursues multimedia ventures in parallel to his music career, including art installations, a regular column on society and innovation in Prospect magazine, and “Oblique Strategies” (written with Peter Schmidt), a deck of cards in which cryptic remarks or random insights are intended to resolve dilemmas. Eno continues to collaborate with other musicians, produce records, release his own music, and write.
English musician and composer Gordon “Mike” Oldfield was born 15 May 1953 in the Battle Hospital in Reading, Berkshire, and he attended St. Joseph’s Convent School, Highlands Junior School, St. Edward’s preparatory school,and Presentation College in Reading. When he was 13, he moved with his parents to Harold Wood in Essex and attended Hornchurch Grammar School, where, having already begun his career in music, he took just one GCE examination, in English. Oldfield’s career began fairly early, playing acoustic guitar in local folk clubs. At this time, he already had two 15-minute instrumental pieces in which he would “go through all sorts of moods”, precursors to his landmark 1970s compositions.
In his early teens, Oldfield was involved in a beat group playing The Shadows-style music (he has often cited Hank Marvin as a major influence, and would later cover The Shadows’ song “Wonderful Land”). In 1967, Oldfield and his sister formed the folk duo The Sallyangie and, after exposure in the local folk scene, were signed to Transatlantic Records. An album, Children of the Sun, was issued in 1968. After The Sallyangie disbanded, he formed another duo, called Barefoot, with his brother, which took him back to rock music.In 1970, Oldfield joined The Whole World – former Soft Machine vocalist Kevin Ayers’s backing group – playing bass and occasionally lead guitar. He is featured on two Ayers albums, Whatevershebringswesing and Shooting at the Moon. The band also included keyboardist and composer David Bedford, who quickly befriended Oldfield, encouraged him in his composition of an early version of Tubular Bells and later arranged and conducted an orchestral version of the Tubular Bells album. Oldfield was also the reserve guitarist for the musical Hair and played with the Sensational Alex Harvey Band.
Having recorded sections of this early version of Tubular Bells as demo pieces, Oldfield attempted to persuade record labels to take on the Tubular Bells project. In 1971, he attended recording sessions at The Manor Studio – owned by young entrepreneur Richard Branson, playing bass for the Arthur Louis Band. Branson already had several business ventures and wanted to start his own record label, Virgin Records. Branson heard some of Oldfield’s demo music and gave him one week’s worth of recording time at The Manor during which, he completed “Part One” of Tubular Bells. Part Two” was then compiled over subsequent months. Tubular Bells is Oldfield’s most famous work, and was released in 1973 as the inaugural album of Richard Branson’s label Virgin Records. This groundbreaking classic album became a huge hit in it Oldfield played more than twenty different instruments in a multi layered recording which included many diverse musical genres. The title track became a top 10 hit single in the US after the opening was used in The Exorcist film.
In 1974, Oldfield played guitar on the critically acclaimed album Rock Bottom by Robert Wyatt. In late 1974, the follow-up LP, Hergest Ridge, was No. 1 in the UK for three weeks before being dethroned by Tubular Bells, despite being released over a year after Tubular Bells, In 1979, Oldfield’s music was used as the musical score for The Space Movie, a Virgin movie that celebrated the tenth anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission.Like Tubular Bells, Hergest Ridge is a two-movement instrumental piece, this time evoking scenes from Oldfield’s Herefordshire country retreat. It was followed in 1975 by the pioneering world music piece Ommadawn released after the death of his mother Maureen. In 1978 Oldfield released the album Incantations, which introduced more diverse choral performances from Sally Oldfield, Maddy Prior, and the Queen’s College Girls Choir. In 1975, Oldfield recorded a version of “In Dulci Jubilo” and in 1976 he released “Portsmouth”. In 1975, Oldfield received a Grammy award for Best Instrumental Composition in “Tubular Bells – Theme from The Exorcist”. Oldfield, his sister and band member Pekka Pohjola recorded Oldfield’s next album Mathematician’s Air Display. Oldfield then embarked on a European tour to promote Incantations, spawning the live album “Exposed”, much of which was recorded at the National Exhibition Centre,Birmingham. In 1979, he recorded an updated theme tune for the program Blue Peter and In 1981, Oldfield was asked to compose a piece for the Royal Wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer, titled “Royal Wedding Anthem”.
During the1980s Oldfield recorded shorter instrumental tracks and contemporary cover versions on Platinum and QE2 (the latter named after the ocean liner) and began Songwriting collaborating with various vocalists including Maggie Reilly on Moonlight Shadow and also covered Hall and Oates song “Family Man”. Oldfield also turned to film and video, writing the score for The Killing Fields. Oldfield”s next album Islands contained an instrumental piece on one side and rock/pop singles on the other. Including Magic Touch, Pictures in the Dark and The title track “Islands”, which was sung by Bonnie Tyler and “Magic Touch”, with vocals by Max Bacon (in the US version) and Glasgow vocalist Southside Jimmy. Oldfield’s next album Earth Moving was released in July 1989 and contained the songs “Innocent”, “Holy” and “Hostage”. Oldfield’s next album was Amarok, an hour-long work featuring rapidly changing themes (supposedly devised to make cutting a single from the album impossible). Oldfield sang lead vocals on His next album Heaven’s Open. Oldfield signed with Warner Brothers and released Tubular Bells II which was premiered at a live concert at Edinburgh Castle and also composed The Songs of Distant Earth (based on Arthur C. Clarke’s novel of the same name) and also had an asteroid, 5656 Oldfield, named after him. In 1995, Oldfield released the Celtic-themed album Voyager, After meeting Luar na Lubre, a Galician Celtic-folk band (from A Coruña, Spain) in 1992. The band’s popularity grew after Oldfield covered their song “O son do ar” (“The sound of the air”) on his Voyager album.
In 1998, Oldfield produced the third Tubular Bells album which premiered at Horse Guards Parade, London), and drew from Balearic Dance Music and was inspired by themes from Tubular Bells. In 1999 Oldfield released two albums “Guitars”, which used guitars as the source for all the sounds on the album, including percussion and “The Millennium Bell”, which consisted of pastiches of a number of styles of music representing various historical periods and was performed live in Berlin in 1999–2000. Oldfield began the MusicVR project, combining his music with a virtual reality-based computer game. His first work on this project is Tr3s Lunas launched in 2002, a virtual game where the player can interact with a world full of new music. To celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Tubular Bells, In 2003, Oldfield released Tubular Bells 2003, a re-recording of the original Tubular Bells, on CD, and DVD-Audio, which fixed many “imperfections” in the original caused by the limited recording technologies of the early 1970s, for which the original voice of the ‘Master of Ceremonies’ (the late Viv Stanshall) was replaced by the voice of John Cleese. In 2004 Oldfield launched his next virtual reality project, Maestro, which contains music from the Tubular Bells 2003 album and also some new chillout melodies. The games have since been made available free of charge on Tubular.net. In 2005 a double album, Light + Shade, was released containing music of contrasting moods, disc one is relaxed (Light) while disc two is more edgy and moody (Shade). In2006 and 2007 Oldfield headlined the pan-European Night of the Proms tour.
Oldfield’s autobiography Changeling was published in May 2007 and in 2008 he released his first classical album, Music of the Spheres, containing the single “Spheres”. The album was nominated for a Classical Brit Award, the NS&I Best Album of 2009. In 2008, Oldfield’s albums were re-released together with outtakes and rarities from the archives. Since then further albums have been reissued plus compilation albums such as Two Sides. In 2008, Oldfield contributed an exclusive song (“Song for Survival”) to a charity album called Songs for Survival, in support of the Survival International. In 2012, Oldfield was featured on Terry Oldfield’s Journey into Space album and on a track called “Islanders” by German producer Torsten Stenzel’s York project. In 2013 Oldfield and York released a remix album titled Tubular Beats. At the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony, Oldfield performed renditions of Tubular Bells, “Far Above the Clouds” and “In Dulci Jubilo” during a segment about the National Health Service. This track appears on the Isles of Wonder album. In October 2013, the BBC broadcast Tubular Bells: The Mike Oldfield Story, an hour-long appreciation of Oldfield’s life and musical career. Oldfield has released more than 20 albums with the most recent being Man on the Rocks, in 2014