Platinum (Mike Oldfield album)

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Mike oldfield platinum album cover.jpg
Studio album by
Released23 November 1979 (1979-11-23)
GenreProgressive rock, disco
Length37:35 (Platinum version)
ProducerTom Newman
Mike Oldfield chronology
Singles from Platinum
  1. "Blue Peter"includes "Woodhenge"
    Released: 30 November 1979
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic3/5 stars[1]
Smash Hits7/10[2]

Platinum is the fifth record album by Mike Oldfield, released in 1979 on Virgin Records. It was Oldfield's first album to include shorter songs and music written by others. A modified version of the album was released in the United States and Canada and titled Airborn.

The In Concert 1980 tour, which ran from April to December of that year, was in promotion of the album. In Germany the album peaked at number 11. The album has since been reissued with bonus material.

Album analysis[edit]

Platinum (Parts 1–4)[edit]

The nearly twenty-minute piece "Platinum", which makes up the first side of the LP, is divided into four parts:

The first two parts rely on melody played mostly with electric guitar. Part I, "Airborne" is in a slow tempo and has many changes, while Part II, "Platinum" introduces a simple groove rhythm and a more repetitive song structure. Part I was used as the theme tune for the 1980s BBC children's quiz show, First Class.[3]

Part III, "Charleston", is humorous with a simple rhythm and swinging melody that is partly played by a horn section. A female vocalist adds some wailing wordless vocals while Oldfield contributes some scat vocals in a whispering voice.[citation needed]

Part IV includes an excerpt from the 1977 Philip Glass work "North Star" (hence the subtitle). The lead melody is not borrowed from Glass but the choir's part. The constant bass drum beat and octave-jumping bass line start the section and guitar enters with the melody later. A funky guitar riff and chorus appear, and the lead guitar continues to play the melody over them. An engineer on the album, Kurt Munkacsi, was a frequent collaborator with Glass.[citation needed]


Side 2 opens with "Woodhenge", an instrumental track named after Woodhenge, a Neolithic monument located close to Stonehenge.

On Airborn, the version of the album released in North America, the track was replaced by "Guilty", a disco track at the same time as Platinum.[4]

"Sally"/"Into Wonderland"[edit]

The song "Sally" was written and sung by Oldfield and Nico Ramsden as a tribute to his girlfriend at the time, Sally Cooper (who appears on the album).[5]

"Sally" was removed from the album shortly after its initial release, reportedly at the behest of Richard Branson, and replaced with another song "Into Wonderland", sung by Wendy Roberts.[5] Therefore, only the earliest pressings of the LP and cassette actually have "Sally" included among the tracks, despite record covers still including it in the track list.[6] Later pressings and subsequent re-issues of Platinum correctly list "Into Wonderland" in the track list.[7]

Part of the song survives on the second version of the album, as the first 50 seconds of "Punkadiddle" is actually the last part of "Sally". This fast part, with the same melody of the song's chorus, served as a musical bridge to "Punkadiddle", so it was kept. "Sally" can often be found as part of bootleg issues.[8]


Oldfield wrote "Punkadiddle" as a parody on punk rock. During concerts, he and his band would all perform the song bare-chested.

"I Got Rhythm"[edit]

"I Got Rhythm" is a cover version of the song by George and Ira Gershwin, transformed by Oldfield's arrangement from the jaunty original into a Broadway-style ballad with harmonised vocals (by Wendy Roberts) and orchestration, mostly performed on keyboards.

Track listing[edit]

Side one

  1. "Platinum Part One: Airborne" – 5:05
  2. "Platinum Part Two: Platinum" – 6:06
  3. "Platinum Part Three: Charleston" – 3:17
  4. "Platinum Part Four: North Star/Platinum Finale" – 4:49

Side two

  1. "Woodhenge" – 4:05
  2. "Into Wonderland" (originally "Sally") – 3:46
  3. "Punkadiddle" – 5:46
  4. "I Got Rhythm" – 4:44


Airborn album cover, released in North America.

Airborn is an alternate version of the Platinum album by Mike Oldfield 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. Certain tracks appear to be pressed at arbitrarily higher speeds than on the original pressing of Platinum.[citation needed] The artwork depicts a triangular shape formed from sections of tubular bell overlaid on a landscape of what appears to be a coastline and mountain range.

Track listing[edit]

Single LP[edit]

Side one

  1. "Platinum Part One: Airborne" – 4:59
  2. "Platinum Part Two: Platinum" – 4:36
  3. "Platinum Part Three: Charleston" – 3:11
  4. "Platinum Part Four: North Star/Platinum Finale" – 4:36

Side two

  1. "Guilty" – 3:48
  2. "Into Wonderland" – 3:36
  3. "Punkadiddle" – 5:39
  4. "I Got Rhythm" – 4:35

Double LP version[edit]

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. This also came out in on cassette in 1980 as a Limited Edition Double Play Tape.[citation needed]

Side three

  1. "Tubular Bells (Part 1)" (Live) (European Tour March–April 1979) – 23:40

Side four

  1. "Incantations" (Studio & live) (European Tour March–April 1979) – 19:26


The album was re-released by Mercury Records on 30 July 2012, again with "Into Wonderland" replacing "Sally". This came as part of a deal in which Oldfield's Virgin albums were transferred to the label. It was released on the same day as QE2 and a year after the last Universal reissue of Incantations. The first disc is the original recording remastered with bonus material, and the second disc (available in the deluxe edition) is a live concert recorded during the two concerts at the Wembley Arena, London as part of the In Concert 1980 tour.

The reissue charted at 100 on the UK Albums Chart on 5 August 2012.

Instruments and recording[edit]

Synthesizers that appear on the album include a Roland SH-2000 and Sequential Circuits Prophet synthesisers.[5]

When Oldfield was in New York City recording Platinum and "Guilty" he recorded a disco arrangement of his first album, Tubular Bells.[9] 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.[citation needed]

The album was recorded at Electric Lady & Blue Rock in the US, Througham, Denham, & The Manor in the UK. The album was mixed at Air Studios in London.[5]


Covers and remixes[edit]

Röyksopp adapted and remixed two sections of Platinum - "Platinum Part Three" and "Platinum Part Four", the latter retitled "Meatball" - on Back to Mine: Röyksopp.[citation needed]


It spent 6 weeks on the Norwegian charts, peaking at No. 24, and also peaked at No. 24 on the UK Albums Chart.

Chart (1979) Position
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[10] 17
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[11] 144
French Albums (SNEP)[12] 17
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[13] 11
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[14] 24
Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)[15] 39
UK Albums (OCC)[16] 24


  1. ^ "Platinum review". Allmusic. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
  2. ^ Starr, Red. "Albums". Smash Hits (December 13–26, 1979): 29.
  3. ^ "First Class". UKGameshows. Retrieved 30 June 2011.
  4. ^ "Mike Oldfield - Guilty". Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d "Platinum". Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  6. ^ "Mike Oldfield - Platinum, LP, B-1 or B-2 matrix". Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  7. ^ "Mike Oldfield - Platinum, B-3 and later pressings". Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  8. ^ "Unreleased". Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  9. ^ "Rare Tracks". Amarok ( Retrieved 14 August 2008.
  10. ^ " – Mike Oldfield – Platinum" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  11. ^ " – Mike Oldfield – Platinum" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  12. ^ " – Mike Oldfield – Platinum". Hung Medien. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  13. ^ "Longplay-Chartverfolgung at Musicline" (in German). Phononet GmbH. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  14. ^ " – Mike Oldfield – Platinum". Hung Medien. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  15. ^ " – Mike Oldfield – Platinum". Hung Medien. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  16. ^ January 1980/7502/ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 8 April 2013.

External links[edit]