Scottish singer Emeli Sande is among the acts who will perform special in-flight gigs on Richard Branson's airline to mark the 40th anniversary of the business mogul's record label. The British entrepreneur will mark 40 years since the launch of Virgin Records by lining up a number of the company's artists, including Sande, for a series of special mid-air shows on his U.K. domestic airline Little Red.
The concerts will take place on flights connecting London to Manchester in England, as well as Edinburgh and Aberdeen in Scotland, and rocker Mike Oldfield is also among the artists on the bill.
Branson says, "Virgin Records is where it all started for Virgin, and 40 years later it's great to see we are still being innovative. This exciting series of events is the perfect way to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Virgin Records and the artists, from Mike Oldfield to Emeli Sande, who continue to disrupt the status quo."
More acts will be announced in the coming weeks before the gigs kick off in September (13).
Branson has already been staging mid-air comedy shows on the Scottish flight routes during the duration of the famous Edinburgh Festival.
"Tubular Bells" was used as the main theme to "The Exorcist"
Appeared in BBC documentary "Tubular Bells: The Mike Oldfield Story"
First recorded music released with Sallyangie's debut album "Children of the Sun"
Released the groundbreaking "Tubular Bells"
<p>A precociously talented musician, Mike Oldfield wrote his masterwork, <i>Tubular Bells</i> (1973), while still in his teens; despite his later successes, the unique and distinctive album went on to define his career. Oldfield started playing guitar in local folk clubs in Berkshire before forming The Sallyangie with his vocalist sister Sally. They signed with noted U.K. folk label Transatlantic Records and released an album, <i>Children of the Sun</i>, in 1968. Next he joined The Whole World alongside former Soft Machine member Kevin Ayers and future modern classical composer David Bedford. During this period, Oldfield had been toying with various instrumental pieces; some of his demos found their way to Richard Branson, who at the time was preparing to launch his label Virgin Records. Oldfield recorded nearly every instrumental track on <i>Tubular Bells</i> himself, layering them on top of each other for an incredibly complex yet beautiful aural experience. An immediate critical and cult success in the U.K., the album broke in America when director William Friedkin used its haunting opening piano refrain as the main theme in the blockbuster horror film "The Exorcist" (1973). Oldfield's follow up <i>Hergest Ridge</i> (1974) was another two part instrumental album with a folkier sound. It went to number one on the U.K. charts but in a strange twist was actually knocked off the top spot by Oldfield's own <i>Tubular Bells</i> over a year after it had first been released. Oldfield was a prolific writer releasing ten other albums through the '70s and 80s 'but none repeated the critical and commercial success of <i>Tubular Bells</i> which has gone on to sell over 17 million copies. In 1981 Oldfield was asked to compose a piece for the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer ("Royal Wedding Anthem"), while 1983 saw the release of his biggest hit single "Moonlight Shadow" with Maggie Reilly. <i>Tubular Bells</i> had become a favorite in Hollywood with Oldfield's music appearing in several films; he also composed the soundtrack to Roland Joffe's harrowing account of life in Cambodia under Pol Pot, "The Killing Fields" (1984). After a public dispute with Branson, Oldfield signed to Warner Brothers Records and released the highly anticipated <i>Tubular Bells II</i> in 1992. He would once again return to his opus with <i>Tubular Bells III</i> (1998), <i>The Millennium Bell</i> (1999) and <i>Tubular Bells 2003</i>, a re-recording of the original album utilizing modern production. Oldfield performed live at the London Olympics Opening Ceremony (directed by Danny Boyle) in 2012 and gave a frank and honest interview for BBC documentary "Tubular Bells: The Mike Oldfield Story" (2013) discussing his psychological problems and involvement with controversial therapy Exogenesis in the 1970s.</p>
"I was very idealistic at the time of 'Tubular Bells'. I suppose you could say I had a vision of what I wanted to do, but it was a vision of security and warmth and safety because I felt so unsafe." Melody Maker Dec. 29, 1974
"When Tubular Bells happened, I went off and lived in a little cottage in Wales, put a pillow over the phone and just got lost in music." The Independent Aug. 27, 1992
"I know I'm very unstable, and I probably, always will be, but the point is that I’ve accepted that about myself." The Daily Telegraph Aug. 31, 1998
"I think it's better to go the new age route, where you raise consciousness through chanting and meditation, rather than take drugs. Having said that . . . we probably wouldn't have "Tubular Bells" – a lot of things, really – without drugs." The Guardian March 20, 2014