1988 Essential Re-issues

With nearly half of the year already gone and with Mike working on his next LP, Virgin released the third track from the Islands LP in May. Titled Flying Start (VS1047) it was to fail as miserably as did the rest of the tracks already released from this LP. This was a shame as the track reunited Mike with his former mentor and friend Kevin Ayers for the first time since the early seventies. Kevin was to record his own version of this track, which was included on his Falling Up LP also released this year. Mike's version was backed by an edit from of The Wind Chimes (Part 2) on both the 7" and 12" formats. The title track on the 12" had been extended by 1 minute 13 seconds.

All the time and effort put into learning how to use his newly acquired video suite was to pay limited dividends in June when The Wind Chimes (WD353), from the Islands LP, was released as a video album. The instrumental track from the album had been translated into a unusual and entertaining picture show utilising, what was then the latest and most sophisticated video techniques and sound available. Added to this Mike had produced, with the aid of several quality producers, promotional videos for all of the Islands vocal tracks. Of the five included, Magic Touch was, by general consensus, the best and most marketable. However, by far the most interesting addition to this video was a light pen message from the maestro himself, plus the inclusion of several promotional videos from older work. These included the hits Moonlight Shadow and Shadow on the Wall from Crises, Five Miles Out from the LP of the same name, Shine and Pictures in the Dark which had been released in 1987. For many, the inclusion of the additional tracks added to their value for money, although there was a feeling that a chance had been missed, especially by not including other rarer videos.

In June, Virgin re-released Moonlight Shadow as part of a larger multi-artist promotion. What set this out from previous campaigns was the interesting format used.

Moonlight Shadow (CDT7) was re-issued on 3" CD and apart from containing the extended, 5 minute 18 second version, it also included Mike singing on Rite of Man, 1984's To France and popular B side Jungle Gardenia. The only problem the 3" format experienced was that on most CD players a special adapter was needed to increase the disc size to 5".

The only other developments of this year were Virgin budget re-issues of The Killing Fields (OVED183), Ommadawn (OVED208) and The Orchestral Tubular Bells (OVED97). There were also airings for Mike's collaborations with David Bedford on Rime of the Ancient Mariner (OVED152), The Odyssey (OVED153) and Pekka Pohjola on Mathematicians Air Display (OVED201. All the OVED re-issues were released on LP whilst code OVEC was used on the cassette versions.

Finally, as already mentioned in 1986, the Columbian Volcano Concert featuring Mike and Maggie Reilly performing an acoustic version of Moonlight Shadow was released in July by Hendring Video (HEN 2086).

The urge to do video came in part from Oldfield's obsession with film music. "I'm still inspired by 2001, my favourite film" Oldfield said. With the video for his own album, Oldfield could achieve artistic control, but first he had to master the technology. The key figure here was video director Pete Claridge who, according to Mike, came and edited a couple of videos. "He helped me with Wind Chimes." Computer generated graphics are all the fare in The Wind Chimes (note the wit of the endless loop of wine bottles tumbling away from Kevin Ayers on Flying Start), "because I love the machines, especially computers that make pictures". Comments of Dave Lang, Music Week Magazine, July 1988 on The Wind Chimes Video.

©Peter Evans