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Studio album by Jean Michel Jarre
Released December 1976
Recorded August 1976 – November 1976
Genre Electronica, New Age, ambient, pop, chill-out
Length 39:44
Label Disques Dreyfus
Producer Jean Michel Jarre
Jean Michel Jarre chronology
Les Granges Brûlées
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[1]

Oxygène (English: "oxygen") is an album of instrumental electronic music composed, produced, and performed by the French composer Jean Michel Jarre. It was first released in France in December 1976, on Disques Dreyfus with license to Polydor. The album's international release was in summer 1977. Jarre recorded the album in his home using a variety of analog synthesizers and other electronic instruments and effects. It became a bestseller and was highly influential in the development of electronic music. It is Jarre's first mainstream success, and can be seen as his first true artist album. It has been described as the album that "led the synthesizer revolution of the Seventies."[2]

Track listing[edit]

  • Written and arranged by Jean Michel Jarre.
  1. "Oxygène Part I" – 7:40
  2. "Oxygène Part II" – 7:37
  3. "Oxygène Part III" – 3:24
  4. "Oxygène Part IV" – 4:06
  5. "Oxygène Part V" – 10:26
  6. "Oxygène Part VI" – 6:24


Prior to 1976, Jarre had dabbled in a number of projects, including an unsuccessful synthesizer music album, advertising jingles and compositions for a ballet. His inspiration for Oxygène came from a painting by the artist Michel Granger that was given to him by his future wife Charlotte Rampling. The painting showed the Earth peeling to reveal a skull and Jarre obtained the artist's permission to use the image for this album.

Jarre composed Oxygène over a period of eight months using a number of analogue synthesizers and an eight-track recorder set up in the kitchen of his apartment.[3] However, he found it difficult to get the record released, not least because it had "No singers, no proper [track] titles, just 'I', 'II', 'III', 'IV', 'V' and 'VI'".[2]

The motif of the track Oxygène IV is a variation on a phrase from Popcorn by Gershon Kingsley, which Jarre himself had previously covered under the pseudonyms of The Popcorn Orchestra and Jamie Jefferson.

He eventually found a publisher, Francis Dreyfus, head of Disques Motors (now Disques Dreyfus). Dreyfus was the husband of one of Jarre's fellow-pupils at the Groupe de Recherches Musicales of Pierre Schaeffer, where Jarre had learned to use synthesizers, including the EMS VCS 3, which was to play a major part in the music of Oxygène. Although Dreyfus was initially skeptical of electronic music, he gambled by pressing a run of 50,000 copies. The album went on to sell 15 million copies.[2]

Possibly the most recognised track of Jarre's is Oxygène IV

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In 1997, Jarre produced a sequel album called Oxygène 7–13.[4] This refers to the original album as being the first six movements from a larger complete piece of work, despite the time difference between the release of the two albums. It was written in the same style and using some of the same instruments, although the work is much more uptempo. Jarre was clear about not trying to copy the mood or atmosphere from the original album, but using the same work approach to "create a mood later".

In 2007, Jarre produced a new version of the album, recorded live on a stage, but with no audience, for a DVD release that included 3D video. The title of the new DVD CD set is Oxygène: Live in Your Living Room, with the enhanced CD being called Oxygène: New Master Recording.[4] He used the same instruments, but performed the work with three other collaborators (Dominique Perrier, Francis Rimbert and Claude Samard), rather than overdubbing all parts himself.

The album[edit]

Oxygène consists of six tracks, numbered simply Oxygène Part I to VI. Its sound has been described as "an infectious combination of bouncy, bubbling analog sequences and memorable hook lines."[3] The album reached #1 in French charts, #2 in the UK charts and #78 in the US charts.[5]

Oxygène Part II was used in the original cantonese version of Jackie Chan's 1978 film Snake in the Eagle's Shadow (蛇形刁手) and Peter Weir's 1981 film Gallipoli.

Cover versions[edit]

  • Hank Marvin covered "Oxygène (Part IV)" on his 1993 album Heartbeat.
  • Hipnosis covered "Oxygène (Part IV)" on their 1983 single Oxigene (also known as Disco Mix).
  • DJs John 00 Fleming and The Digital Blonde covered "Oxygène (Part IV)" as a trance single in 2009. This version has received acclaim from Jarre himself.[citation needed]
  • Vocal recording of "Oxygene (Part II)", was released in 2000, by Serbian rapper Gru, with lyrics "Samo seks Srbina spasava".



  • Produced by Jean Michel Jarre
  • Engineered and mixed by Jean-Pierre Janiaud; assistant engineer: Patrick Foulon
  • Mastered by Translab [1]


  1. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/r83189
  2. ^ a b c Green, Thomas H. (2008-03-27). "Oxygene: ba-boo-boo beew". telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2009-03-14. 
  3. ^ a b Greg Rule, Electro Shock!: Groundbreakers of Synth Music, p. 238. Backbeat Books, 1999. ISBN 0-87930-582-7
  4. ^ a b Edwards, Mark (2008-03-16). "Jean Michel Jarre's return to planet Oxygene". entertainment.timesonline.co.uk. Retrieved 2009-05-28. 
  5. ^ "Oxygene Review". 

External links[edit]