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Oxygène (Part IV)

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"Oxygène (Part IV)"
German cover, 1977
Single by Jean-Michel Jarre
from the album Oxygène
B-side"Oxygène (Part VI)"
Released1977 (1977)
StudioJean-Michel Jarre's home studio, Paris
  • 3:30
  • 4:14 (Album)
LabelDisques Motors/Polydor
Songwriter(s)Jean-Michel Jarre
Producer(s)Jean-Michel Jarre
Jean-Michel Jarre singles chronology
"Oxygène (Part IV)"
"Oxygène (Part II)"
Music videos
"Oxygene, Pt. 4" (original version) on YouTube
"Oxygene, Pt. 4" (1989 version) on YouTube

"Oxygène (Part IV)" (released in some countries under the title "Oxygène IV") is a 1977 single composed by the French electronic musician and composer Jean-Michel Jarre, from his third studio album Oxygène (1976). It is Jarre's most successful single, reaching number four on the UK Singles Chart and peaking in the top ten in the charts of several European countries. It also was used in the 2008 video game Grand Theft Auto IV,[4] and in the BBC drama Micro Men.[5]



In 1974 Jarre composed the opening jingle for the A4 autoroute—also known as autoroute de l'Est—in Paris. Some media such as The Telegraph pointed out the rumors of the possible original incarnation of "Oxygène (Part IV)" in the jingle.[6][7]

Composition and recording


Like the rest of the Oxygène album, "Oxygène (Part IV)" was recorded in the makeshift studio in Jarre's kitchen in his Paris apartment, using several instruments such as the RMI Harmonic Synthesizer.[8] "Oxygene (Part IV)" begins with a sound that evokes the wind, a flat noise generated by an English synthesizer called EMS VCS 3, the first synthesizer that Jarre had.[7][9]

In the middle of this white noise, Jarre superimposes different musical sequences, among them are two presets "rock" and "slow rock" played simultaneously by using sellotape to hold down multiple selections on a Korg Mini-Pops 7 drum machine.[7][10] He also added filtering effects to the drum sounds "in a very subtle way to give life inside the patterns."[11] The "ethereal string sounds" were created by running the VCS 3 and Eminent 310 Unique through an Electro Harmonix Small Stone phase pedal for guitars.[12][13] French sound engineer, Michel Geiss programmed in the ARP 2600 the main sound of "Oxygène (Part IV)".[14] Jarre also used a Revox tape to create delay on some sounds.[7]

Release and critical reception


On its release as a single, "Oxygene (Part IV)" reached number four on the UK Singles Chart and reached the top ten in several other countries across Europe and in New Zealand. It began to play on the most important radio stations in his native country and Great Britain.[6] Europe 1 used it as the theme of two of his regular programs, Hit Parade directed by Jean-Loup Lafont and basketball show Basket sur Europe 1 in the credit titles.[7][15] BBC Radio 1 also played the entire album, including it.[16][6] In 1989, it was remixed and re-released,[17] with a music video which features a penguin march on Antarctica.[18]

The song was chosen as fifth greatest synth sound of all time by English magazine Computer Music in MusicRadar website.[8] The British newspaper The Guardian called it the best of his oeuvre and described as "an instantly recognisable hook that rides on a bossa nova beat to explore the galaxies".[19] Treble considered it as one of the most essential synth pop songs in history.[2] Phil Alexander wrote in Mojo which "the composer's pop sensibilites evident on Oxygene Part IV – an unlikely UK Top 5 hit from what remains an elegant cornerstone of electronic music."[20]



Weekly charts

Chart (1977–1978) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[21] 26
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[22] 3
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[23] 1
Germany (Official German Charts)[24] 16
Ireland (IRMA)[25] 7
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[26] 3
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[27] 6
Spain (AFE)[28] 1
Holland Singles Chart[29] 4
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[30] 10
UK Singles (OCC)[31] 4
Chart (1989) Peak
UK Singles (OCC)[32] 65

Year-end charts

Chart (1977) Rank
Dutch Charts (MegaCharts)[33] 71
UK Singles Chart (BMRB)[34] 38


  1. ^ Bernard, Olivier. CAMION BLANC: ANTHOLOGIE DE L'AMBIENT D'Éric Satie à Moby : nappes, aéroports et paysages sonores (in French). CAMION BLANC. p. 367. ISBN 978-2-35779-415-3. Retrieved 22 September 2022.
  2. ^ a b staff, Treble (11 May 2020). "The Best Synth Pop Songs: A History". Treble. Retrieved 11 September 2022.
  3. ^ Pejrolo, Andrea; Metcalfe, Scott B. (5 January 2017). Creating Sounds from Scratch: A Practical Guide to Music Synthesis for Producers and Composers. Oxford University Press. p. 3-118. ISBN 978-0-19-062802-4. Retrieved 22 September 2022.
  4. ^ "Crime pays for music biz with new Grand Theft Auto". Reuters. 28 April 2008. Retrieved 5 April 2022.
  5. ^ Smith, Tony. "Micro Men: The story of the syntax era". The Register. Retrieved 5 April 2022.
  6. ^ a b c Green, Thomas H. (27 March 2008). "Oxygene: ba-boo-boo beew". The Daily Telegraph. London, England. Retrieved 14 March 2009.
  7. ^ a b c d e "Oxygène: Le poème électronique de Jean-Michel Jarre". France Musique (in French). 21 January 2022. Retrieved 25 January 2022.
  8. ^ a b Music, Computer (25 May 2021). "The 40 greatest synth sounds of all time, No 5: Jean-Michel Jarre - Oxygene, Pt 4". MusicRadar. Retrieved 26 September 2022.
  9. ^ Crawley, Peter (9 April 2008). "A breath of fresh air after 30 years". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2 March 2022.
  10. ^ Simpson, Dave (16 October 2018). "Jean-Michel Jarre: how we made Oxygène". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 September 2021.
  11. ^ Hartenberger, Russell (10 March 2016). The Cambridge Companion to Percussion. Cambridge University Press. p. 168. ISBN 978-1-316-54621-5. Retrieved 22 September 2022.
  12. ^ "Jarre gives another Oxygene dose". The Sydney Morning Herald. 3 April 2008. Retrieved 26 September 2022.
  13. ^ Music, Future (22 June 2015). "9 essential tips for using stompboxes in your studio". MusicRadar. Retrieved 26 September 2022.
  14. ^ "Interview with Michel Geiss (I)". Fairlight Jarre. 25 March 2014. Retrieved 24 August 2022.
  15. ^ Duguay 2018, p. 38-40.
  16. ^ "Oxygène ou l'histoire de l'ovni électronique vendu à plus de 18 millions d'exemplaires". Greenroom (in French). 29 December 2016. Retrieved 18 September 2022.
  17. ^ "Jean-Michel Jarre - Oxygene, Pt. 4". TV80s. 19 June 2019. Retrieved 8 October 2022.
  18. ^ "Jean Michel Jarre - Oxygene :: Le Pietre Miliari di OndaRock". OndaRock (in Italian). 16 May 2010. Retrieved 21 August 2022.
  19. ^ Allen, Jeremy (5 October 2016). "Jean-Michel Jarre – 10 of the best". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 August 2021.
  20. ^ Alexander, Phil (November 2015). "Electric Dreams" (PDF). Mojo. p. 45. Retrieved 25 August 2022.
  21. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, New South Wales, Australia: Australian Chart Book. p. 153. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  22. ^ "Jean Michel Jarre – Oxygène IV" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  23. ^ "Jean Michel Jarre – Oxygène IV" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  24. ^ "Jean Michel Jarre – Oxygene IV" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts.
  25. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Jean-Michel Jarre". Irish Singles Chart.
  26. ^ "Jean Michel Jarre – Oxygène IV" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  27. ^ "Jean Michel Jarre – Oxygène IV". Top 40 Singles.
  28. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  29. ^ "Hits Of The World" (PDF). Billboard. 9 July 1977. p. 89. Retrieved 30 October 2022.
  30. ^ "Hits Of The World". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 17 December 1977. p. 70. Retrieved 8 October 2022.
  31. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  32. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  33. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1977". GfK Dutch Charts. Retrieved 1 February 2019.
  34. ^ Hunter, Nigel; Scaping, Peter, eds. (1978). "Top 100 Singles in 1977". BPI Year Book 1978 (3rd ed.). British Phonographic Industry. pp. 216–217. ISBN 0-906154-01-4.