Tag Archives: Mike Oldfield

Inexplicably popular instrumental concept albums: a double feature

mikejarreJean-Michel Jarre and Mike Oldfield have always been linked together in my mind. Despite working in very different genres there are a lot of similarities between the two – the penchant for instrumental concept albums with a ton of noodly sections, the shunning of real song titles, and the tendency to end their best LPs on silly joke tunes. More than that they’ve had the same sort of career, as they both kicked off as an unlikely success story, or at least the sort of success that seems inexplicable in 2020. Both Tubular Bells and Oxygene are classic albums of course but if you handed them to a young person today there is no chance in hell they’d guess that these things sold upwards of 15 million copies in their day. They both followed them up pretty well, but by the late 80’s they were limping around writing bad pop music, eventually regaining parts of their past audience by releasing sequel albums. They’ve had good decades and bad, but for the most part if you want to get into these dudes you want to grab the early stuff.
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