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Five Miles Out is the seventh record album by Mike Oldfield, released in 1982, at a time when his music was moving away from large-scale symphonic pieces towards a more accessible pop style. It is one of the very few albums on which Oldfield sings lead vocals, as he is noted for not having any confidence in his voice's qualities. The album produced two singles.

Five Miles Out
A plane flying above the clouds towards the sun.
Studio album by
Released19 March 1982 (1982-03-19)
RecordedBuckinghamshire, 1981–1982
GenreProgressive rock, pop rock
Mercury (2013 reissue)
ProducerMike Oldfield
Mike Oldfield chronology
Five Miles Out
Singles from Five Miles Out
  1. "Five Miles Out"
    Released: 18 February 1982
  2. "Family Man"
    Released: 28 May 1982
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic4/5 stars[1]
High Fidelity(not rated)[2]

Album analysisEdit

The first track, "Taurus II", is a long-form piece with changing melodies and instrumental settings. It features many familiar sounds from his earlier albums, such as uilleann pipes and female chorus. During the vocal section (called "The Deep Deep Sound") the music quotes a theme from "Taurus I", a song from Oldfield's previous album, QE2. Immediately after the vocal section the main theme from "Taurus I" is also quoted. In 1981 Oldfield was commissioned to write and perform a piece for the Royal Wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer, titled "Royal Wedding Anthem"; the piece has similarities to "Taurus II" released the following year.

"Family Man" - with Maggie Reilly on vocals - was Oldfield's first real rock song. It was released as a single. Hall & Oates covered the song in 1982 for their album H2O, with their version reaching No. 6 on the US pop charts and No. 15 in the UK. It thus became one of the very few songs penned by Oldfield to chart in the United States.

"Orabidoo" is another long and changing tune. It features vocals sung by Oldfield and Reilly, both through a vocoder. At the end of the track, there is a song, "Ireland's Eye", sung by Reilly and accompanied by acoustic guitar. The beginning of the tune quotes "Conflict" from Oldfield's previous album, QE2. The song also features segments from "Taurus II" played in counterpoint and changing scales. At 9'12" there can be heard a sample from near the climax of Alfred Hitchcock's 1937 Young and Innocent, when the conductor of a dance band criticises the drummer: "Don't come in again like that. It isn't funny and I pay someone else to make the orchestrations!"

"Mount Teidi" is a shorter instrumental piece, named after Mount Teide, a mountain on the Spanish island of Tenerife which Oldfield has climbed.[3] According to Oldfield some of the music for "Mount Teidi" was originally scribed on a sheet of cigarette rolling paper so that he would not forget the idea.[3]

"Five Miles Out" was also released as a single. Despite being less than five minutes long, it has an unusually complex structure, with multiple vocal parts. The lyrics concern Oldfield's experience of a near-fatal aeroplane flight. Reilly sings with a clean voice while Oldfield uses a vocoder most of the time himself. The song features the same guitar riff that appears in the beginning of "Taurus II".

Five Miles Out, the album, was more popular than Oldfield's previous few releases. It charted at No. 7 in the UK, whereas both QE2 (1980) and Platinum (1979) had failed to reach the top twenty. Oldfield's commercial revival would continue with subsequent albums Crises (1983) and Discovery (1984).

The album was recorded in Buckinghamshire in 1981 and 1982, and the Five Miles Out World Tour 1982 was in promotion of the album.

Album artworkEdit

The cover of the album features a vintage Lockheed Model 10 Electra[citation needed] aircraft, with similar markings to the one flown by Amelia Earhart in 1937.[citation needed] This is often mistaken for a Beechcraft Model 18[citation needed] (a very similar aircraft) and is referred to in the lyrics of "Five Miles Out" ; "lost in static, 18" and "automatic, 18". The aeroplane has registration G-MOVJ, as also referenced in the lyrics (as "Golf Mike Oscar Victor Juliet").

The inner liner notes (originally the inner gatefold of the vinyl sleeve) feature the track sheet for "Taurus II", with the lyrics of "Five Miles Out" embedded within. The track sheet shows the layout of instruments on the 24 track tape and indicates that it was recorded on an Ampex ATR-124 between September 1981 and January 1982.[4]


The album peaked at No. 7 in the UK Album Chart and at No. 16 on Norway's album chart, staying there for 7 weeks.

Chart Position
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[5] 10
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[6] 34
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[7] 7
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[8] 32
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[9] 16
Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)[10] 48
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[11] 5
UK Albums (OCC)[12] 7


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Germany (BVMI)[13] Gold 250,000^
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[14] Platinum 100,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[15] Gold 100,000^

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

Track listingEdit

Side oneEdit

  1. "Taurus II" (Mike Oldfield) – 24:43

Side twoEdit

  1. "Family Man" (Oldfield, Tim Cross, Rick Fenn, Mike Frye, Maggie Reilly, Morris Pert) – 3:45
  2. "Orabidoo" (Oldfield, Tim Cross, Rick Fenn, Mike Frye, Maggie Reilly, Morris Pert) – 13:03
  3. "Mount Teidi" (Oldfield) – 4:10
  4. "Five Miles Out" (Oldfield) – 4:16

2013 re-issueEdit

On 2 September 2013 Mercury Records reissued Five Miles Out, the same day as Crises. It is available as a single CD, vinyl and a 2CD/DVD Deluxe Edition. The vinyl also has a 500 copy limited edition on transparent yellow vinyl. The DVD contains video clips from the BBC's Six Fifty Five Special from 28 July 1982.

This reissue reached #48 in Germany's Media Control Charts in September 2013.

Track listing



  1. ^ McDonald, Steven. Five Miles Out at AllMusic
  2. ^ "Five Miles Out review". High Fidelity (hosted on July 1982. Retrieved 2 October 2011.
  3. ^ a b "Interview with Mike Oldfield discussing the making of Man on the Rocks". Innerviews. Retrieved 31 January 2015.
  4. ^ ""Five Miles Out" track sheet". Gallery. Retrieved 7 November 2008.
  5. ^ " – Mike Oldfield – Five Miles Out" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  6. ^ " – Mike Oldfield – Five Miles Out" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  7. ^ "Longplay-Chartverfolgung at Musicline" (in German). Phononet GmbH. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  8. ^ " – Mike Oldfield – Five Miles Out". Hung Medien. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  9. ^ " – Mike Oldfield – Five Miles Out". Hung Medien. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  10. ^ " – Mike Oldfield – Five Miles Out". Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 September 2013.
  11. ^ " – Mike Oldfield – Five Miles Out". Hung Medien. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  12. ^ April 1982/7502/ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  13. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Mike Oldfield; 'Five Miles Out')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  14. ^ Sólo Éxitos 1959–2002 Año A Año: Certificados 1979–1990 (in Spanish), Iberautor Promociones Culturales, ISBN 8480486392, retrieved 2 May 2019
  15. ^ "British album certifications – Mike Oldfield – Five Miles Out". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 2 May 2019. Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Five Miles Out in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  16. ^ "Interview with Mike Oldfield". Stereo Review. July 1982. Retrieved 1 May 2017.

External linksEdit