Oldfield warns against no-talent music
Mike Oldfield hopes his Olympic performance of Tubular Bells marks a resurgence of instrumental rock music – and that it might herald an end to the era of computer music.
The veteran composer appeared as part of the sport event’s opening ceremony, delivering a part of his iconic 1973 work in a segment which hailed the UK’s National Health Service.
Oldfield says he felt a “glow of pride” when director Danny Boyle invited him to be part of the show – and it was a refreshing contrast to the negative energy he received in the punk era.
He tells the Washington Post: “I suffered the inevitable backlash that everyone had to go through. If you are up, there is the inevitable down.
“To finally be vindicated 40 years later, to be seen as something that is valid and important, was wonderful.”
Oldfield’s father was a health service doctor, which made the honour even more emotional for him. “You get used to the NHS if you live in England,” the Bahamas-based musician says. “You hurt yourself, you call the ambulance, they’ll take you to hospital and treat you for nothing. It’s a wonderful thing – it’s right to celebrate it.”
And he believes his high-profile appearance could lead to a comeback for his genre: progressive compositions created on real instruments.
“Hopefully it will inspire some kind of renaissance in instrumental rock music.” he says. “Let’s throw away all the computer software. You just get a load of software and click a few buttons. You don’t have to have the slightest bit of musical talent.”
Speaking of his iconic album he adds: “I hope that young people realise that’s not a computer playing, that’s a real human being playing different instruments. It’s beautiful and handmade. ”
Music retailer HMV reports sales of Tubular Bells were up nearly 800percent since the Olympics ceremony, while his recent compilation album, Two Sides, topped the Amazon rock chart.
But Oldfield left the event part-way through – because he believed it would look better on TV. He tells the Telegraph: “Even being on stage, you could only see the thing from the side, and our seats after that were low down in the stadium. You couldn’t quite see what Danny was doing. On TV you had a much better view.”