|Birth name||Michael Roland Ratledge|
|Born||6 May 1943|
Maidstone, Kent, England
|Genres||Psychedelic rock, progressive rock, Canterbury scene, jazz rock, New-age|
|Labels||ABC Probe, Columbia, Harvest|
Michael Roland Ratledge (born 6 May 1943) is a British musician. A part of the Canterbury scene, he was a founding member of Soft Machine. He was the last founding member to leave the group, doing so in 1976.
Biography and career
Ratledge was born in Maidstone, Kent, the son of a Canterbury secondary modern school headmaster. As a child, he was educated in classical music, the only kind of music played in his parents' home. He learned to play the piano, and with his friend Brian Hopper, whom he had met at Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys in Canterbury, played classical piano and clarinet pieces.
Ratledge also met Brian's younger brother Hugh, and Robert Wyatt. In 1961, he met Daevid Allen, who interested them in playing jazz. Through Cecil Taylor's piano pieces Ratledge became familiar with the music of Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis and John Coltrane. In 1963, he played in the Daevid Allen Trio. Unlike his friends, Ratledge wanted to further his education, and studied at University College, Oxford, where he earned a degree in psychology and philosophy. 
At the same time, he attended music lessons, and was educated by avant-garde musicians Mal Dean and Rab Spall. After his graduation, Ratledge intended to go to a university in the United States, but his application for a scholarship was filed too late.
In 1966, his friends were forming a new band and asked Ratledge to join. Soft Machine included Robert Wyatt, Daevid Allen, and Kevin Ayers. There were many personnel changes over the years. Wyatt's departure in 1971 left Ratledge as the only remaining founding member, while the 1973 departure of Hugh Hopper (who joined in 1968) left Ratledge as the only member from the 1960s to still be in the band.
In November 1973, Ratledge participated in a live performance of Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells for the BBC. In 1976, Ratledge decided to leave Soft Machine to build a solo career, leaving the band under Karl Jenkins' leadership. Ratledge built himself a studio and composed a score for the film Riddles of the Sphinx, which utilised a prototype synthesizer which he constructed with his friend Denys Irving.
As Soft Machine's longest-lasting member, he was a part of the band's changes in musical direction from psychedelic music to jazz-rock. In the 1980s, Ratledge was active as a composer and musical producer for commercials and the theatre. In 1995, Adiemus (Ratledge, Karl Jenkins and Miriam Stockley) released Songs of Sanctuary, which Ratledge co-produced with Karl Jenkins and for which he programmed the electronic percussion.
|1963||Live 1963||Daevid Allen Trio|
|1964–68||Canterburied Sounds Vols. 1-3||Various artists|
|1967-68||The Wilde Flowers||Wilde Flowers|
|1969||Joy of a Toy||Kevin Ayers|
|1970||The Madcap Laughs||Syd Barrett|
|1971||Just Us||Elton Dean & Just Us|
|1974||The Confessions of Dr. Dream and Other Stories||Kevin Ayers|
|1977||Instructions For Angels||David Bedford|
|1978||Planet Earth||Planet Earth|
|1978||Star Clusters Nebulae & Places in Devon / The Song of the White Horse||David Bedford|
|1981||Cuts for Commercials Vol. 3||Karl Jenkins & Mike Ratledge|
|1981||For Christmas, for Children||Karl Jenkins & Mike Ratledge|
|1982||Crystal Gazing (unreleased soundtrack)||Mike Ratledge|
|1983||The Bad Sister (unreleased soundtrack)||Mike Ratledge|
|1995||Adiemus: Songs of Sanctuary||Karl Jenkins|
|2010||Movement||Karl Jenkins & Mike Ratledge|
|2010||Some Shufflin'||Karl Jenkins & Mike Ratledge|
|2013||Riddles of the Sphinx (soundtrack recorded in 1977)||Mike Ratledge|
- Sutcliffe, Phil (5 March 1991). "Where are they Now? Soft Machine". Q. 55: 33.
- Different Every Time: The Authorised Biography of Robert Wyatt, Marcus O'Dair, Serpent's Tail, 2014
- Soft Machine: Out-bloody-rageous, Graham Bennett, SAF Publishing Ltd, 2005, p. 30
- Biography Archived 23 February 2008 at the Wayback Machine, hulloder.nl; accessed 25 June 2014.
- Biography, calyx.club.fr; accessed 25 June 2014.
- "Mike Oldfield (with Mick Taylor, Steve Hillage and members of Henry Cow, Gong and Soft Machine) – Tubular Bells (Live BBC Video 1973)". MOG. Archived from the original on 23 August 2009. Retrieved 23 May 2009.