Platinum (Mike Oldfield album)

Platinum (Mike Oldfield album)

Infobox Album | Name = Platinum
Type = studio
Artist = Mike Oldfield

Released = start date|1979|11|23|df=yes
Recorded = Blue Rock and Electric Lady, (U.S.);
Througham, Denham, and The Manor, (UK); 1979
Genre = Rock
Length = 37:41 (Platinum version)
Label = Virgin
Producer = Tom Newman
Reviews =
* Allmusic Rating|3|5 [ link]
Last album = "Exposed"
This album = "Platinum"
Next album = "QE2"
Misc = Extra chronology 2
Artist = Mike Oldfield studio album
Type = studio
Last album = "Incantations"
This album = "Platinum"
Next album = "QE2"
Name = Platinum
Type = studio
Single 1 = Blue Peter
Single 1 date = 30 November 1979

"Platinum" is a record album written and mostly performed by Mike Oldfield. It was his fifth new album and the first to feature "regular" songs and cover material. A slightly different version of the album was released in the United States and Canada and titled "Airborn".

Released in 1979 (see 1979 in music), it peaked at #24 on the UK albums chart. It spent 6 weeks on the Norwegian charts, peaking at #24.

Album analysis

"Platinum" parts 1 to 4

The first side of LP features the nearly twenty-minute piece "Platinum" that is divided in four parts. The first two parts of "Platinum" can be taken as a form of instrumental progressive rock. (Those compositions rely on strong melody played mostly with electric guitar.) The first part is in a slow tempo and has many changes, while the second part introduces a simple groove rhythm and a more repetitive song structure. The third part, "Charleston", is humoristic and intentionally naive, with a simplistic rhythm and swinging melody that is partly played by a horn section. A female vocalist adds some "spooky" bits while Oldfield himself makes some scat vocals in whispering voice. Platinum Part IV features an excerpt from the Philip Glass work "North Star" (hence the subtitle). The constant bass drum beat and octave-jumping bass line (both borrowed from disco music) start the part and guitar joins with melody later. A funky guitar riff and chorus appear, and the lead guitar continues to play the melody over them.


There is an interesting note regarding the song "Sally," written and sung by Oldfield and Nico Ramsden as a tribute to Mike's girlfriend at the time, Sally Cooper (who features on the album). It's a rather silly but cute little song, with the chorus

: "Sally, I'm just a gorilla,": "I'll say I'll love you ever more.": "Even an ape from Manila": "Couldn't stop me knocking on your door."

However, it was removed from the album (possibly on the orders of Richard Branson) and replaced with "Into Wonderland", sung by Wendy Roberts. Curiously though, the album covers still say "Sally" to this day. Only the earliest pressings of the LP have "Sally" included as part of the original track listing, and bootleg recordings of the song are a popular trade item with fans.

"Sally" (the original) also appears to have been the start of Mike Oldfield's fascination with voice distortion gadgets (vocoders, equalizers, etc.), which would continue through many albums, most particularly "Five Miles Out".


"Punkadiddle" is thought by many to be Oldfield's jocular take on punk music, a genre which he has claimed in the past to be not at all impressed with. In fact, Virgin Records' rampant signing and promotion of many punk bands while not promoting Oldfield's albums is seen as one of the sources of the rift between him and the company. When the track was performed by Oldfield on tour, he and his band would all perform the song bare-chested.

Track listing

# "Platinum Part One: Airborne" – 5:05
# "Platinum Part Two: Platinum" – 6:06
# "Platinum Part Three: Charleston" – 3:17
# "Platinum Part Four: North Star / Platinum Finale" – 4:49
# "Woodhenge" – 4:05
# "Into Wonderland" (misprinted as "Sally") – 3:46
# "Punkadiddle" – 5:46
# "I Got Rhythm" – 4:44


"Airborn" is the title of an alternate version of the album released in North America in 1980. It is identical except that "Woodhenge" is replaced by "Guilty", a fast-paced live track based on a theme from "Incantations". Bizarrely, certain tracks appear to be pressed at arbitrarily higher speeds than on the original UK pressing of "Platinum"fact|date=September 2008.

Track listing


A single LP version

# "Platinum Part One: Airborn" - 4:59
# "Platinum Part Two: Platinum" - 4:36
# "Platinum Part Three: Charleston" - 3:11
# "Platinum Part Four: North Star / Platinum Finale" - 4:36
# "Guilty" - 3:48
# "Into Wonderland" (misprinted as "Sally") - 3:36
# "Punkadiddle" - 5:39
# "I Got Rhythm" - 4:35


There is also a double LP release, with one LP being a version of "Platinum" (as above), the other having an alternate live version of "Tubular Bells" side one from the same tour that produced "Exposed", and a mix of studio and live elements of "Incantations" and "Tubular Bells" side 2.

# "Tubular Bells (Part 1)" (live) [European Tour Mar-Apr 1979] - 23:40
# "Incantations" (studio & live) [European Tour Mar-Apr 1979] - 19:26


* Mike Oldfield - acoustic guitars, electric guitars, marimba, piano, synthesizers, vibraphone and vocals.
* Francisco Centeno - bass guitar
* Sally Cooper - tubular bells
* Demelza - congas (credited as "Demalza")
* Neil Jason - bass
* Peter Lemer - keyboards
* Pierre Moerlen - drums and vibraphone (credited as "Pierre Moerlin")
* Morris Pert - drums (credited as "Maurice Pert")
* Nico Ramsden - keyboards
* Wendy Roberts - vocals
* Hansford Rowe - bass
* Allan Schwartzberg - drums
* David Bedford - vocal arrangement
* Peter Gordon - horn arrangement
* Michael Riesman - horn arrangement
* Kurt Munkacsi - engineer
* Tom Newman - producer and engineer
* Richard Manwaring - assistant engineer
* Renate Blauel - assistant engineer

Instruments and recording

Oldfield seems to have utilised his Gibson L6-S Custom a lot on the album. Synthesizers that appear on the album include a Roland SH-2000 and Sequential Circuits Prophet synthesisers.

When Oldfield was in New York recording "Platinum" and "Guilty" he recorded a disco arrangement of his first album, "Tubular Bells" [cite web |url= |title=Rare Tracks |publisher=Amarok ( |accessdate=2008-08-14] . A version of Free's "All Right Now" was also recorded during these sessions. It was used as the theme for a television music programme also called "Alright Now". The vocals are by Wendy Roberts, while Pierre Moerlen and Tom Newman also contributed.

The album was recorded at Electric Lady & Blue Rock in the USA, Througham, Denham, & The Manor in the UK. The album was mixed at Air Studios.


External links

* [ Mike Oldfield Discography - "Platinum"] at

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