Discovery (Mike Oldfield album)

Discovery (printed as Discovery & the Lake on the back cover and spine) is the ninth studio album by English multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Mike Oldfield, released on 25 June 1984 on Virgin Records. After his 1983 tour, Oldfield relocated to Villars-sur-Ollon, Switzerland for tax purposes and started work on a new album.[1] While living in Villars, Oldfield also composed the soundtrack to The Killing Fields (1984). Selections from the two were released as The 1984 Suite, in 2016.

A blue mottled image of Oldfield's face and a portion of a guitar neck. The words Mike Oldfield Discovery are to the top right of the image.
Studio album by
Released25 June 1984 (1984-06-25)
RecordedJanuary–June 1984 in Villars-sur-Ollon, Switzerland[1]
GenreProgressive rock, pop rock
Mike Oldfield chronology
The Killing Fields
Singles from Discovery
  1. "To France"
    Released: 16 June 1984
  2. "Tricks of the Light"
    Released: 1 September 1984
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic3.5/5 stars[2]

Background and recordingEdit

The album was recorded from January to June 1984.[3] Sessions typically ran from 10:30 a.m. to around 7 p.m. each day.[3]

The album contains a number of pop songs, which Oldfield had been encouraged by Virgin Records to write, following the success of "Moonlight Shadow" from his previous album, Crises.

The first track of the album, "To France", features Maggie Reilly on vocals. The second track, "Poison Arrows", seamlessly continues from the ending of "To France" and features Barry Palmer on vocals. According to Oldfield "The Lake" was inspired by his time in time in Switzerland and around Lake Geneva.[4] The rear cover of some issues of the album are titled Discovery and The Lake.

During 1984 Oldfield and his band embarked on a Europe wide tour in promotion of the album.

2016 reissueEdit

Discovery was re-released in a deluxe edition format on 29 January 2016,[5] as per all previous albums which were originally released on the Virgin label.

The reissue features 2 CDs (Discovery and the 1984 Suite) and a DVD featuring 5.1 surround sound mixes. The 1984 Suite is a compilation album of Discovery and Oldfield's other 1984 album, The Killing Fields. It also features two previously unreleased tracks: "The Royal Mile", which is claimed in some places to be a "newly rediscovered" track from the 1984 period but is simply a slight reworking of "Afghan", which has been available since 1984; and "Zombies (Halloween Special)", a reworking of the song "Poison Arrows" with the original vocals replaced by robotic "Stephen Hawking" style vocals with the lines "Somebody's out to get you" replaced with "Zombies are out to get you".

Recording and instrumentsEdit

Around the time of Discovery Oldfield had been seen using a Gibson SG Junior and a Les Paul Junior (including a modified 24 fret fretboard), along with a pair of Fender Stratocasters (red and sunburst). Oldfield also used guitar synthesizers on the album, utilising Roland's GR-300 and G-808 controller. The Roland G-88 bass synth controller is heavily used for bass guitar sounds on the album. It is likely that a mandolin made by Scottish-based luthier Mike Vanden is used in "To France". Among the acoustic guitars on the album, an Ovation Adamas was used. Oldfield's main compositional tool for the album was the Fairlight CMI. In addition to using its sequencing abilities he also used it as a sampler, for example with Maggie Reilly's voice on "The Lake".

Barry Palmer and Maggie Reilly did not meet until the album was finished even though they share vocal duties on "Tricks of the Light"; they recorded their vocals separately.

Sleeve photosEdit

The inner sleeve of the original vinyl LP featured candid photographs taken during the recording sessions. One of the photos, titled "Simon's notes", shows a handwritten list of tracks recorded during the sessions, some of which - such as "T'Sword" - may either have been released under different names or remain unreleased to this day.


The album peaked at #3 on Norway's album chart, spending 13 weeks on it. It also peaked at #15 in the UK Albums Chart.

Chart (1984) Position
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[6] 3
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[7] 2
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[8] 1
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[9] 47
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[10] 3
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[11] 3
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[12] 1
UK Albums (OCC)[13] 15

Track listingEdit

All tracks by Mike Oldfield

Original LPEdit

Side one

  1. "To France" – 4:37
  2. "Poison Arrows" – 3:57
  3. "Crystal Gazing" – 3:02
  4. "Tricks of the Light" – 3:52
  5. "Discovery" – 4:35

Side two

  1. "Talk About Your Life" – 4:24
  2. "Saved by a Bell" – 4:39
  3. "The Lake" – 12:10

2016 Deluxe EditionEdit


Cover versionsEdit

The German electronic project Meteor Seven released the track "Signs of Life" featuring a vocal sample from the track "Talk About Your Life". The German techno hard dance band Scooter released a cover of the album track "Talk About Your Life" on their album Music for a Big Night Out.


Region Certification Certified units/sales
France (SNEP)[14] Gold  
Germany (BVMI)[15] Gold 250,000^
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[16] Platinum 100,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[17] Gold 100,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ a b "Mike Oldfield Discography - Discovery". Retrieved 24 December 2015.
  2. ^ Discovery review at AllMusic
  3. ^ a b Oakes, Tim (September 1984). "Mike Oldfield". Unknown. Retrieved 27 August 2019 – via
  4. ^ Mike Oldfield (2 August 2012), Two Sides Sleeve Notes, Mercury Records, retrieved 3 January 2015
  5. ^ Sinclair, Paul (30 October 2015). "Mike Oldfield revisits 1984 with reissues and new rarities set". Super Deluxe Edition. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  6. ^ " – Mike Oldfield – Discovery" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 2013-04-08.
  7. ^ " – Mike Oldfield – Discovery" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 2013-04-08.
  8. ^ "Longplay-Chartverfolgung at Musicline" (in German). Phononet GmbH. Retrieved 2013-04-08.
  9. ^ " – Mike Oldfield – Discovery". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2013-04-08.
  10. ^ " – Mike Oldfield – Discovery". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2013-04-08.
  11. ^ " – Mike Oldfield – Discovery". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2013-04-08.
  12. ^ " – Mike Oldfield – Discovery". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2013-04-08.
  13. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2013-04-08.
  14. ^ "French album certifications – Mike Oldfield – Discovery" (in French). InfoDisc. Select MIKE OLDFIELD and click OK. 
  15. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Mike Oldfield; 'Discovery')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 12 May 2019.
  16. ^ Sólo Éxitos 1959–2002 Año A Año: Certificados 1979–1990 (in Spanish), Iberautor Promociones Culturales, 2005, ISBN 8480486392, retrieved 2 May 2019
  17. ^ "British album certifications – Mike Oldfield – Discovery". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 12 May 2019.Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Discovery in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.

External linksEdit