The Songs of Distant Earth (album)

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The Songs of Distant Earth
Mike oldfield tsode original cover.jpg
Studio album by
Released21 November 1994 (1994-11-21)
RecordedRoughwood Studio, Buckinghamshire
GenreNew-age, electronica
LabelWarner Music UK
Reprise (a Time Warner company)
45933 (US)
4509-98542 (International)
4509-98581 (Original)
ProducerMike Oldfield
Mike Oldfield chronology
Tubular Bells II
The Songs of Distant Earth
Revised cover
Mike oldfield tsode album cover.jpg
Singles from The Songs of Distant Earth
  1. "Hibernaculum"
    Released: 5 December 1994
  2. "Let There Be Light"
    Released: 21 August 1995
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic2/5 stars[1]

The Songs of Distant Earth is the 16th album by Mike Oldfield, released in 1994 by Warner Music. It is based on Arthur C. Clarke's science fiction novel The Songs of Distant Earth.[2]

Release details[edit]

The album was released as a CD and, shortly afterwards, as an Enhanced CD of which two versions were made. Both versions' initial pressings contained an image of a manta ray flying in front of a planet on the front cover; later pressings change the image to one of a suited man holding a glowing orb with manta rays flying overhead. The second pressing of the enhanced CD contains slightly more multimedia content, including the full version of the "Let There Be Light" video. The CD audio content is the same on all versions of the album. It was also released as a vinyl LP, which has become a rare item.

The enhanced CD content, for Apple Macintosh PowerPC computers only, was rendered on Silicon Graphics computers and used Apple's QuickTime II technology.[3] The re-release back cover lists the "CD ROM Track" as track 000 (where all tracks have a three-digit number), and a length of 0:00. Produced in 1994 it was an early example of Enhanced CD content.[4]

Oldfield used Emagic Logic Audio for sequencing and Pro Tools hardware for the recording of the album using a combination of tape and hard drive recording.[5]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "In the Beginning" – 1:24
  2. "Let There Be Light" – 4:52
  3. "Supernova" – 3:29
  4. "Magellan" – 4:41
  5. "First Landing" – 1:16
  6. "Oceania" – 3:27
  7. "Only Time Will Tell" – 4:19
  8. "Prayer for the Earth" – 2:10
  9. "Lament for Atlantis" – 2:44
  10. "The Chamber" – 1:49
  11. "Hibernaculum" – 3:32
  12. "Tubular World" – 3:23
  13. "The Shining Ones" – 2:59
  14. "Crystal Clear" – 5:42
  15. "The Sunken Forest" – 2:39
  16. "Ascension" – 5:48
  17. "A New Beginning" – 1:33


The then Chairman of Warner, Rob Dickins, suggested to Oldfield that he should produce an album based on Clarke's novel, The Songs of Distant Earth.[6]

The LP cover and CD booklet of the album contain a foreword by Arthur C. Clarke about the evolution of The Songs of Distant Earth from short story to novel. It ends with the following about the album:

Since the finale of the novel is a musical concert, I was delighted when Mike Oldfield told me that he wished to compose a suite inspired by it. I was particularly impressed by the music he wrote for The Killing Fields and now, having played the CD-ROM of The Songs of Distant Earth, I feel he has lived up to my expectations.
Welcome back into space, Mike: there's still lots of room out here.

— Arthur C. Clarke[7]

This was not the first time that Oldfield's music had been connected with the books of Arthur C. Clarke. Prior to The Songs of Distant Earth, Oldfield released Tubular Bells II, which contained a track called "Sentinel" — the title of a short story written by Arthur C. Clarke that later evolved into 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). Another track from Tubular Bells II is called "Sunjammer". The Arthur C. Clarke short story, The Wind from the Sun, had the working title of "Sunjammer".


Certifications and sales[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[8] 2× Platinum 200,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[9] Gold 100,000^
Worldwide 750,000[10]

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ The Songs of Distant Earth review at AllMusic
  2. ^ "Notes about Tubular Bells II". Retrieved 15 May 2008.
  3. ^ The Songs of Distant Earth (Mike Oldfield CD cover). Warner Music UK Ltd. 1994. 4509-98581-1.
  4. ^ "Mike Oldfield". Sound on Sound. November 2002. Retrieved 21 May 2011.
  5. ^ Paul White (February 1995). "Tubular Worlds". Sound on Sound. Retrieved 8 February 2015.
  6. ^ Oldfield, Mike (2007). Changeling - Autobiography of Mike Oldfield. Virgin Books. p. 243. ISBN 978-1-85227-381-1.
  7. ^ a b Arthur C. Clarke (1994). The Songs of Distant Earth (Mike Oldfield vinyl LP cover). Warner Music UK Ltd. 4509-98581-1.
  8. ^ Salaverrie, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (PDF) (in Spanish) (1st ed.). Madrid: Fundación Autor/SGAE. p. 940. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. Retrieved 20 June 2019.
  9. ^ "British album certifications – Mike Oldfield – The Songs of Distant Earth". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 2 May 2019. Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type The Songs of Distant Earth in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  10. ^ "Who Is Selling Where". Billboard. 17 February 1996. Retrieved 2 May 2019.

External links[edit]