Crises (Mike Oldfield album)

Crises is the eighth studio album by English musician and songwriter Mike Oldfield, released on 27 May 1983 on Virgin Records. Oldfield started recording the album towards the end of his 1982 tour supporting his previous record, Five Miles Out. It marked a continuation of Oldfield's experimentation with more accessible music which began in the late 1970s; side one contains the 20-minute "Crises" and side two contains a collection of shorter songs which feature vocalists Maggie Reilly, Jon Anderson, and Roger Chapman. Oldifeld produced Crises with drummer Simon Phillips, who also plays on the album.

A green coloured seascape with a large moon in the upper centre of the image above a tower building rising out of the sea. The building casts a shadow from the moonlight onto the water. At the bottom of the image a man stands with one foot on a wall.
Studio album by
Released27 May 1983 (1983-05-27)
RecordedNovember 1982–April 1983
StudioTilehouse Studios, Denham, Buckinghamshire
GenreProgressive rock, pop rock
Mike Oldfield chronology
Five Miles Out
Singles from Crises
  1. "Mistake"
    Released: 20 August 1982
  2. "Moonlight Shadow"
    Released: 6 May 1983
  3. "Shadow on the Wall"
    Released: September 1983
  4. "In High Places"
    Released: 7 September 1987
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic2.5/5 stars[1]

Crises reached No. 6 on the UK Albums Chart and became Oldfield's most successful record of the 1980s following the release of the single "Moonlight Shadow", which went to number one in nine countries. Oldfield supported the album with the Crises Tour across Europe in 1983 that featured most of the musicians that played on the album.

Background and recordingEdit

By the 1980s, Oldfield had shifted musical direction from the longform compositions that he had become known for throughout the previous decade, towards more commercial and straightforward rock and pop songs. By the time he had finished the 1982 world tour in support of his previous album Five Miles Out in December of that same year, Oldfield had already started work on a follow-up.[2] Crises sees Oldfield explore heavy metal elements which he had been a fan of for some time and enjoyed playing. Oldfield described side one as material that he had wanted to write and perform "for personal satisfaction", while side two is "very commercial, full of singles". He added: "It's a case of keeping everybody happy."[2]

The album was recorded from November 1982 to April 1983 at Tilehouse Studios in Denham, Buckinghamshire, using an Ampex ATR 124 tape recorder, a Neve 8108 with Necam console and Westlake Monitors. Oldfield used a Gibson SG Junior for overdriven guitar sounds and a Fender Stratocaster for clean sounds. Tama drums were Simon Phillips' brand of choice for drums on the album; Phillips also did some production work. Oldfield makes extensive use of Oberheim and Fairlight keyboards.

Asked how he recruited Chapman and Anderson in an interview, Oldfield answered "we just hang out in the same bar". The "Moonlight Shadow" single from this album includes the rare track "Rite of Man". The North American version of the album has a different running order and includes the single "Mistake".


Side oneEdit

The title track of the album is a twenty-minute-long piece, featuring a small amount of vocals, sung by Oldfield. The beginning and end of the track are driven by a synthesised lead passage, stylistically similar to the opening theme to Oldfield's Tubular Bells.[2] Oldfield rated "Crises" as one of the best tracks he had done since "Tubular Bells".[3]

Side twoEdit

"Moonlight Shadow" features Oldfield's touring vocalist Maggie Reilly, who had also sung on his previous albums. Oldfield had singer Hazel O'Connor sing on an early version of the track, which was then titled "Moment of Passion", but it failed to produce sufficient results. He then booked Reilly for a studio session, for which he prepared by drinking wine and writing a set of lyrics using a rhyming dictionary. Reilly sang the lyrics in a rock style at first, which prompted Oldfield to suggest a softer tone and "in the manner of a lullaby". The idea worked, despite recording the song in small sections and using multiple drop-ins which took some time to finalise and piece together.[4]

"In High Places" was written by Oldfield with lyrics by himself and Yes vocalist Jon Anderson, who sings on the track. Two pair had worked on several occasions prior to recording Crises, and Oldfield had enjoyed Anderson's vocal style and how easy it was working with him. Anderson was living in Barbados at the time of writing, so Oldfield phoned him from England and sung the song's tune to him, after which Anderson went away and wrote lyrics to it. The two later met and finished the song in Oldfield's studio.[3] The track features Pierre Moerlen, who had toured with Oldfield and played on his albums, on vibraphone.

"Foreign Affair" features Reilly on vocals, who co-wrote the lyrics with Oldfield.

"Taurus 3", a short fast-paced guitar piece unlike the previous two long multi-themed "Taurus" tracks featured on QE2 and Five Miles Out respectively.

"Shadow on the Wall" features vocals by Roger Chapman. Oldfield wrote the song with Chapman's voice in mind.[4]


The album's cover art was by Terry Ilott.[5] Oldfield makes reference to the artwork with the line, "the watcher and the tower, waiting hour, by hour" (printed in the back cover of the LP, and sung by Mike Oldfield on the title track). In the interview mentioned before, Oldfield stated that "I'm the man in the corner, and the tower is my music".


It spent 19 weeks on Norway's album chart, peaking at No. 1 for two weeks, and is Oldfield's best selling album there. The album also topped the charts in Germany and Sweden.

Australia (Kent Music Report)[6] 17
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[7] 2
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[8] 2
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[9] 1
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[10] 6
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[11] 1
Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)[12] 39
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[13] 1
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[14] 5
UK Albums (OCC)[15] 6


Region Certification Certified units/sales
France (SNEP)[16] Gold 100,000*
Netherlands (NVPI)[17] Gold 50,000^
Germany (BVMI)[18] Platinum 500,000^
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[19] Platinum 100,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[20] Gold 100,000^

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

Track listingEdit

UK versionEdit

Side one

  1. "Crises" (Mike Oldfield) – 20:40

Side two

  1. "Moonlight Shadow" (Oldfield) – 3:34 (vocals by Maggie Reilly)
  2. "In High Places" (Oldfield, Jon Anderson) – 3:33 (vocals by Jon Anderson)
  3. "Foreign Affair" (Oldfield, Maggie Reilly) – 3:53 (vocals by Maggie Reilly)
  4. "Taurus 3" (Oldfield) – 2:25 (instrumental)
  5. "Shadow on the Wall" (Oldfield) – 3:09 (vocals by Roger Chapman)

North American versionEdit

Side one

  1. "Mistake" (lead vocals by Maggie Reilly)
  2. "In High Places"
  3. "Foreign Affair"
  4. "Taurus 3"
  5. "Shadow on the Wall"
  6. "Moonlight Shadow"

Side two

  1. "Crises"



Additional musicians

Mercury Records 2013 re-issueEdit

Crises was re-issued by Mercury Records on 2 September 2013, along with Five Miles Out. It is available as a single CD, a 2CD Deluxe Edition (album disc and live highlights CD), a vinyl LP and a 5 disc (3 CD and 2 DVD) boxed set. The boxed set also includes a 32-page hardback book. There will also be a 500 copy limited edition vinyl available on transparent green vinyl. The re-issue is also available as digital download in 16 and 24 bit 44.1 kHz FLAC/ALAC and 320kbit/s MP3 in two versions. The super-deluxe edition contains the tracks of discs one through three, the LP contains the tracks of the single CD.

This reissue reached #30 in Germany's Media Control Charts in September 2013.

Track listingEdit

Single disc editionEdit

  1. "Crises" (2013 Remaster) 20:57
  2. "Moonlight Shadow" (2013 Remaster) 3:38
  3. "In High Places" (2013 Remaster) 3:33
  4. "Foreign Affair" (2013 Remaster) 3:53
  5. "Taurus 3" (2013 Remaster) 2:25
  6. "Shadow on the Wall" (2013 Remaster) 3:10
  7. "Moonlight Shadow "(2013 Unplugged Mix) 3:35
  8. "Shadow on the Wall" (2013 Unplugged Mix) 3:21
  9. "Mistake" (2013 Remaster) 2:56
  10. "Crime of Passion" (Extended Version / 2013 Remaster) 4:10
  11. "Jungle Gardenia" (2013 Remaster) 2:46
  12. "Moonlight Shadow" (12" Single / 2013 Remaster) 5:15
  13. "Shadow on the Wall" (12" Single / 2013 Remaster) 5:09

Deluxe EditionEdit

30th Anniversary Box SetEdit


Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[7] 73
French Albums (SNEP)[21] 144
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[9] 20
Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)[12] 39
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[14] 87
UK Albums (OCC)[22] 71

Cover versionsEdit

A number of songs from Crises have been covered by numerous acts, with "Moonlight Shadow" being the most popular. Dance act Groove Coverage took their cover of "Moonlight Shadow" to number 3 in the German charts. A 2009 cover version of "Foreign Affair" by Belgian dance band Sylver spent 8 weeks in the top 10 of the Belgian single charts, peaking at #3.[23]

American rapper Kanye West samples Oldfield's song "In High Places". West incorporated the song's chorus into his song "Dark Fantasy" from his 2010 album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.


  1. ^ Crises at AllMusic
  2. ^ a b c "Mike Oldfield - ten years of success". May 1983. Retrieved 22 August 2019 – via
  3. ^ a b Grundy, Tim (1985). "Tim Grundy interviews Mike Oldfield". Piccadilly Radio. Retrieved 30 August 2020 – via
  4. ^ a b Two Sides (The Very Best of Mike Oldfield) [Booklet notes] (Media notes). Mike Oldfield. Mercury Records. 2012. 5339182.CS1 maint: others (link)
  5. ^ "Terry Ilot Interview" (in Spanish). Mundo Mike Oldfield. Archived from the original on 1 November 2008. Retrieved 27 November 2008.
  6. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – Top 100 Singles 1983". Hung Medien. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  7. ^ a b " – Mike Oldfield – Crises" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  8. ^ " – Mike Oldfield – Crises" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  9. ^ a b "Longplay-Chartverfolgung at Musicline" (in German). Phononet GmbH. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  10. ^ " – Mike Oldfield – Crises". Hung Medien. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  11. ^ " – Mike Oldfield – Crises". Hung Medien. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  12. ^ a b " – Mike Oldfield – Crises". Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 September 2013.
  13. ^ " – Mike Oldfield – Crises". Hung Medien. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  14. ^ a b " – Mike Oldfield – Crises". Hung Medien. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  15. ^ July 1983/7502/ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  16. ^ "Les Certifications depuis 1973: Albums". Retrieved 12 May 2019. (select "Mike Oldfield" from drop-down list)
  17. ^ "Dutch album certifications – Mike Oldfield – Crises" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. Retrieved 1 May 2019. Enter Crises in the "Artiest of titel" box.
  18. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Mike Oldfield; 'Crises')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  19. ^ Sólo Éxitos 1959–2002 Año A Año: Certificados 1979–1990 (in Spanish), Iberautor Promociones Culturales, ISBN 8480486392, retrieved 2 May 2019
  20. ^ "British album certifications – Mike Oldfield – Crises". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 1 May 2019. Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Crises in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  21. ^ " – Mike Oldfield – Crises". Hung Medien. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  22. ^ July 1983/7502/ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
  23. ^ "Sylver – "Foreign Affair"". Ultratop. Retrieved 13 April 2010.

External linksEdit