Islands (Mike Oldfield album)

Islands is the 11th album by Mike Oldfield, released in 1987 by Virgin. Guest singers on the album are Bonnie Tyler, Kevin Ayers, Anita Hegerland, and Jim Price. A different track list and cover was used for the American edition.

Mike Oldfield - Islands.jpg
Studio album by
Released7 September 1987 (1987-09-07)
Recorded1986–1987 in Megève, France[1]
GenreProgressive rock, pop, rock
ProducerMichael Cretu
Geoffrey Downes
Tom Newman
Mike Oldfield
Simon Phillips
Alan Shacklock
Mike Oldfield chronology
The Killing Fields
Earth Moving
Alternative cover
Original United States cover
Original United States cover
Singles from Islands
  1. "Islands"
    Released: 14 September 1987
  2. "The Time Has Come"
    Released: 9 November 1987
  3. "Flying Start"
    Released: 1 February 1988
  4. "Magic Touch"
    Released: 22 February 1988
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic3/5 stars[2]

Music videos, producers and singersEdit

Islands was also released as a full-length VHS video album. For each track a video was made and released, often mixing state of the art (for the time) computer-generated images with real life images. This was released as part of The Wind Chimes video.

The album boasts the largest number of co-producers out of all of Oldfield's work; production was handled by Michael Cretu (later of Enigma fame), Geoffrey Downes, Tom Newman, Simon Phillips, Alan Shacklock, and Oldfield himself. Singers on the album are Bonnie Tyler, Kevin Ayers, Anita Hegerland, and Jim Price.

Album artworkEdit

The UK front cover artwork was of a tropical island, and hidden in the surrounding sea is a large number of hand shapes. The hand images are based on a still frame from the longform video released at the same time as the album; a couple of scenes in the video, which was mainly filmed in Bali, feature a group of natives performing a ritualistic dance which involves hand-waving movements. The American cover is completely different; it displays two cube shapes. The photography on the back of the US version was by Jerry Uelsmann.


Chart Position
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[3] 10
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[4] 71
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[5] 9
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[6] 9
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[7] 12
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[8] 4
UK Albums (OCC)[9] 29

The major single in Europe was the title track, "Islands", which was sung by Bonnie Tyler. In the United States, "Magic Touch" was a top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks charts in early 1988.


Region Certification Certified units/sales
France (SNEP)[10] Gold 100,000*
Germany (BVMI)[11] Gold 250,000^
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[12] Platinum 100,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[13] Gold 25,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[14] Gold 100,000^

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

Track listingEdit

All tracks composed by Mike Oldfield.



Four singles were released from the album, two of which were released in 1987, "Islands" (as Mike & Bonnie) and "The Time Has Come", and two in 1988, "Flying Start" and "Magic Touch".

"Flying Start"Edit

"Flying Start"
Single by Mike Oldfield with Kevin Ayers
from the album Islands
Released1 February 1988 (1988-02-01)[15]
GenreProgressive rock, pop rock
Songwriter(s)Mike Oldfield
Producer(s)Mike Oldfield
Simon Phillips (co-producer on B-side)
Mike Oldfield singles chronology
"Magic Touch"
"Flying Start"
"Earth Moving"

"Flying Start" was released as the third single from Islands on 1 February 1988.[15] It features Kevin Ayers on vocals who had collaborated with Oldfield in his band, the Whole World, even prior to Oldfield's debut album, Tubular Bells.[16] Oldfield used a Danelectro Coral sitar on this song, an instrument that does not feature on many of Oldfield's releases.[17] The music video features various computer generated elements.

Unusually for an Oldfield 12-inch at that time, the extended duration was achieved simply by a short introductory instrumental that bears no musical relation to the rest of the song and is separated from it by a short pause; the song itself is identical to the album and 7-inch versions. Prior to this, Oldfield had usually extended his songs for their 12-inch versions by incorporating an extra verse and/or instrumental section within the main body of the track. The 12-inch version has since appeared on the 2006 compilation album, The Platinum Collection.

A different version of the song produced by Colin Fairley was also released on Kevin Ayers' own album Falling Up in February 1988.[15]

Track listingEdit

  1. "Flying Start" – 3:37
  2. "The Wind Chimes" (Excerpt from part 2) – 3:58
12 inch
  1. "Flying Start" (Extended version) – 4:50
  2. "The Wind Chimes" (Excerpt from part 2) – 3:58


  1. ^ Oldfield 2008, p. 238.
  2. ^ Islands review at AllMusic. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  3. ^ " – Mike Oldfield – Islands" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  4. ^ " – Mike Oldfield – Islands" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  5. ^ "Longplay-Chartverfolgung at Musicline" (in German). Phononet GmbH. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  6. ^ " – Mike Oldfield – Islands". Hung Medien. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  7. ^ " – Mike Oldfield – Islands". Hung Medien. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  8. ^ " – Mike Oldfield – Islands". Hung Medien. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  9. ^ October 1987/7502/ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  10. ^ "Les Certifications depuis 1973: Albums". Retrieved 12 May 2019. (select "Mike Oldfield" from drop-down list)
  11. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Mike Oldfield; 'Islands')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  12. ^ Sólo Éxitos 1959–2002 Año A Año: Certificados 1979–1990 (in Spanish), Iberautor Promociones Culturales, 2005, ISBN 8480486392, retrieved 3 May 2019
  13. ^ "Gold & Platinum Awards 1987" (PDF). Music and Media. American Radio History Archive. 26 December 1987. p. 46. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  14. ^ "British album certifications – Mike Oldfield – Islands". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 3 May 2019. Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Islands in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  15. ^ a b c Lemieux, Patrick (April 2014). The Mike Oldfield Chronology. ISBN 9780991984060. Retrieved 22 August 2015.
  16. ^ "Mike Oldfield - Islands Press Kit". 24 September 1987. Retrieved 22 August 2015.
  17. ^ "Islands - Mike Oldfield Discography". Retrieved 22 August 2015.


External linksEdit