Michael Gordon Oldfield was born in Reading on the 15th of May 1953, to parents Maureen Liston and Raymond Oldfield.

The first sign of Mike’s interest in being a musician was at the age of 7, when, after a television appearance by Bert Weedon, he asked his father to buy him a guitar. Within three years, Mike was spending most of his time composing instrumentals on his guitar, and music eventually became his escape from an unpleasant family background.

Mike’s first public performances were in local folk clubs, but for some time he was also a member of a Shadows-style beat group called the White Knights. Mike left school in 1967 and, with his sister Sally, formed a folk duo called Sallyangie (Bert Jansch's version of Angie being Mike’s favourite guitar tune). In 1968, they recorded an album, Children Of The Sun, but before long the duo came to an end, the sibling rivalry making it too difficult for Sally and Mike to work together.

Mike's next musical venture was a band called Barefeet, in which he played guitar with his brother Terry, and Long John Baldry's drummer, who was nicknamed "Hairy Dave". After Barefeet split, Mike was accepted as a bass player for Kevin Ayers' new group The Whole World (a name that reflected its rapidly changing line-up). They released their first album, Shooting At The Moon, in 1970.

Membership of the group was an important step forward at this point in Mike’s career. Mike’s growing musical skill was reflected in his promotion to lead guitar by the time of the second (and final) Whole World album, Whatevershebringswesing. Besides Ayers, the band included David Bedford who, being classically-trained, encouraged Mike’s talent for composition.

The Whole World recorded in the Abbey Road Studio, which held a large selection of musical instruments. Mike would often arrive early for sessions, so that he could experiment with them. He was particularly interested in the set of tubular bells they had.








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