Fan Submissions


Officially Remastered Remaster Sleeve Notes


Like many others on Amarok, I am unhappy with the news of the new remasters of the masters of Mike's old material.

Of course, whilst Oldfield fans are now tripping over the previously unreleased spelling errors in the new virgin booklets, the world's most famous virgin, Richard Branson, is probably dangling in a hammock on his motorized island somewhere (though some satisfaction may be derived by imagining variations on a dangling theme).

The following is my adaptation/correction of David Laing's Ommadawn notes. I have taken the liberty of including some rare insights into the world of Mike Oldfield around the time of Ommadawn's creation, that few other people may be aware of...


Ommadawn
by David McGahan

Ommadawn is the third of the 'trilogy' of large scale compositions composed by composer Mike Oldfield in the mid-1970s, and like 'Return of The Jedi', it works quite good as the third bit, thus making the three albums combine as a nice 'tri'.

In contrast to the rock influences of Tubular Bells, it seems very different, and is, as they say, 'unlike it'. Ommadawn can be defined as what is now called 'World Music', and after some analysis, this seems like an apt description. In fact, there are several similarities between the World and Ommadawn. Both are circular and carbon-based. Both are only really interesting when they are rotating. And if the World was reduced to 1 billionth it's present size, flattened, and painted black, it would fit on a turntable (though such an exercise would be time-consuming and scientifically impossible).

The musicians used by Mike were good ones, and they included a uillean piper, a South African, and also a Frenchman. Whilst the Frenchman was known to have been the former leader of the Tubular Bells cover band 'Gong', the South African had been an exile who was living in London at the time of Ommadawn's creation. Unfortunately, the Uillean piper's personal background has remained a mystery, as has the exact geographical location of Uill itself.

After nine months of recording in 1974-5 at Mike's home studio and at The Manor in Oxfordshire, the Ommadawn album finally arrived, and as Mike had long suspected, it had that unmistakable Oldfield sound to it.

During part one of Ommadawn, Clagodah Simondes can be heard singing a short lyric seven times. These lyrics have been transcribed many times, and appear to be something like 'Ab ywl ann I dyad awt/ en yab na log a toc na awd/ taw may on ommadawn egg kyowl/ommadawn egg kyowl', which, when translated carefully to English, means absolutely nothing. Mike was later said to have been so displeased with Clogalah Simondis' unintelligible lyrical ideas, that he arranged a conspiracy within the staff at Virgin to ensure that her name was misspelt on every subsequent recording where she was credited.

Part two includes the second half of Ommadawn, along with a song composed by Mike and photographer William Murray. It was not Mike Oldfield's first appearance as a vocalist, but was still issued as a single under the title On Horseback to coincide with the 2-3 week anniversary of the release of the album. Ommadawn was an immediate hit in Britatin, whilst in Britain it reached no 4 in the album charts. In the United States, however, it failed to repeat the success of Tubular Bells and peaked at no 146, although this was still some 132 places higher than the compilation album Dance the Samba!, which featured a topless woman on the front cover.


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