This was always going to be one of the trickiest of choices, how to pick a favourite track from such a vast assortment of music. Whilst not having the full complement of Mike Oldfield albums in my collection, there still remained the uneviable task of whittling down 16 LP and CD's worth of material to a single defining (for me) track. I'd had to discount the two albums which I had on cassette, because even if I still had a player, the tapes were worn out.
So, where did I start on the long road to choosing one Oldfield track? By thumbing through a bunch of CDs with a panicky 'flack, flack, flack' noise, mainly. However, I was able to come up with a shortlist:
North Star (or Platinum Part 4) from Platinum (1979); This is pretty much what's expected of an Oldfield track, fairly standard fayre really, but I like the energy and attack of this one.
Sheba from QE2 (1980); I know, barely a guitar, but heavy on the quirky. I like!
Let There Be Light from The Songs Of Distant Earth (1994); The album is based on the science fiction novel (of the same name) by Arthur C Clarke. In Let There Be Light, the guitars are back, with a whole host of other ambient stuff. More layers than the world's tallest Victoria Sponge cake. Grand!
The Top Of The Morning from Tubular Bells III (1998); Crazy, eh? Not until the third iteration of Tubular Bells does a track make it into my top 5. Again, keyboards driven, with a hint of guitar.
The Doge's Palace from The Millenium Bell (1999). As the world raced towards the year 2000, Mike Oldfield released The Millenium Bell, a swift musical tour of human history. The Doge's Palace finds us in the Venetian Republic. Plenty of strings, but precious little guitar. This shortlist has taken me by surprise.
Finally, a decision had to be made. The one artist, one song rule was biting hard at the hand that downloads. And, as it was a personal choice, the chosen track was one which holds happy memories for me.
During her secondary school days, First Born was in a keyboard band, and often played this piece at home. It never failed to make me smile, whatever time of day it was. The Top Of The Morning.