Much has been made of the fact that Mike's next album, Platinum, demonstrated a break from his own traditions, in that it was not a single, self-contained work, but a collection of shorter pieces. This could have as much to do with Mike’s growing interest in mainstream music as with the fact that the album was recorded in a rush, to help recoup the costs of that year’s financially disastrous tour.

For Christmas 1979, Mike released a version of the Blue Peter theme to raise money for the BBC programme’s Cambodia appeal. The single’s sudden ending discouraged DJs from playing it very often, as they found it difficult to tell when the tune finished. A new version with a re-recorded ending sadly did not help the single further up the UK chart than number 19.

Another step into the mainstream was the 1980 single Arrival, a cover version of an Abba song. This, and its follow-up single Wonderful Land (a Shadows tune) were included on his next album QE2. Notable guest musicians on this album include drummer Phil Collins of Genesis (presumably recruited via co-producer David Hentschel, who had worked with Genesis), and vocalist Maggie Reilly, who had first appeared during the 1980 Tour, but would, over the next few years, contribute to some of Mike’s most well-known recordings.

The following year, Mike was commissioned to write a Royal Wedding Anthem, to mark the marriage of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer. For this piece, he was awarded the Freedom of the City of London. Later in the year, he was given an entry in Who’s Who (the only other pop musician included in the publication being Paul McCartney), proving that Mike was no longer perceived as an underground figure.

Mike’s interest in flying model gliders had grown to flying real aeroplanes, and this was reflected in his 1982 album Five Miles Out. The title track was inspired by an incident in which Mike’s plane was caught in a thunderstorm. The album was recorded in Mike’s home studio, because he wanted to take advantage of the local airfield to go flying in his spare time.








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