A 1989 appearance on BBC Radio’s Nicky Campbell show saw Mike record new versions of several songs from his new album Earth Moving, alongside a newly-arranged section of Tubular Bells (which featured Radio 1 DJ John Peel as the MC). In this performance, along with other interviews at the time, Mike indicated his interest in recording a follow-up to Tubular Bells, which he envisioned as being Parts Three and Four. However, his frustration with Virgin over royalty payments (“I was on low royalties with bad advances and getting a fair deal was like fighting a war”) had by this time reached such proportions that he waited until his contract with them was over before recording it. Virgin even asked him to call his next album Tubular Bells 2 to maximise sales; Mike understandably refused.

His next album was in fact called Amarok, and was a return to the old-style Mike Oldfield, taking the form of one continuous composition. This return to old values was intentional: Mike conceived the album as Ommadawn 2 (having also considered a sequel as far back as 1976), and employed the singers Clodagh Simonds and Bridget St John. There was also a short story in the sleeve notes written by William Murray, who had co-written the lyrics to On Horseback. Amarok included a piece of music first heard in the Nicky Campbell broadcast, and a remake of the “Hoover” section omitted from the original Tubular Bells album.

Heaven’s Open, Mike’s final album for Virgin, was issued in 1991. Mike (having had singing lessons) sings the lead vocals himself on this album, because the lyrics are very personal, illustrating his anger at Virgin’s treatment of him. The first side of the album features melancholy songs about feeling mistreated and unheard (No Dream, Gimme Back), and about people only interested in making money (Make Make, Mr Shame), closing with the title track Heaven's Open, which is a more upbeat song, reflecting Mike's joy at finally breaking free from Virgin.








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