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on 20 July 2007
The title gives it all away. Changeling is about Mike Himself, how he struggled to be accepted and how he accepted people rather than going into fine detail about his musical brilliance. If you understand or want to understand how some people tick then you'll find this book engaging and easy to read as it's wrote in plain, easy and simple language but a language that many will be able to understand very clearly.

If your looking at a blow by blow account of his music you'll not find much that will excite you. This is really all about his problematic life and how he's struggled to accept or be part of the real world. On that level it is to be enjoyed and not on many other.
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on 13 March 2011
First of all, I have been a fan of Mike Oldfield for many years, so would have purchased this book without reading a single review. Other reviews have pretty much covered everything, and I don't think I can add to it in any great detail.

Mike is a self-confessed fan of Star Trek (as am I), and whilst there is no mention of this, I believe the book is named after a character from Deep Space 9 (Odo, whose race is known to some as Changelings). Fans of Deep Space 9 would understand why he chose this title for his autobiography, as one can see how Mike would relate to the story of this character. A Google search for 'Deep Space 9 Odo' will tell you about the character much better than I could here.

There is a lot of focus on his life just prior to Tubular Bells, and also to the period between it's release, and that of his second album; Hergest Ridge. The other periods of his life seem to take less priority, aside from some page space being taken by his 're-birth' and the development of his spiritual beliefs. I would liked to have seen more about the inspirations for his music, and perhaps his own musical tastes, and whilst there is an element of this, it is rather concise. The last few years seem to be a little rushed in terms of detail.

Having said all that, I still found the book fascinating, and read the whole thing in one go (as it happens, whilst listening to Tubular Bells, Hergest Ridge, and Ommadawn on my iPod whilst travelling on a train). I had intended to read a few pages, then settle into my journey with just the music, but found myself unable to put the book down.

For an Oldfield fan, this is essential reading. Those with a casual, or no interest in his music will probably find parts of Changeling interesting, but some of it will be irrelevant without knowing his music, at least partially.
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on 16 September 2009
With some delay, finally read it and it's been an absolute pleasure. If you read Rick Wakeman's 'Say Yes' autobiography, then you can understand what one means by 'charmingly funny and down-to-earth'.
The tone is perfect and surprisingly lucid even when describing the late '60s and early '70s in London... Most of the book is about the time period which leads up to the making of Tubular Bells, followed by very rewarding chapters on that album.
It is quote touching how he writes about his own personality, his parents and the ultimately tragic story of his mother. It manages to balance these deeply personal elements with the musical musings and descriptions of technical/technological nature (when it comes to his creative recording tricks and the challenges he had to face in the studio). It makes one appreciate even more the immense creativity that has gone into those albums, and this is the thing, he writes with great (and not false) modesty.
The only negative aspect I would mention here, and it stems from my infatuation with his music, is that the book would have been even more riveting if it had more details about the later albums. Still, with the short stories and thoughts about those, one still gets a good picture on what the inspiration and motivations were.
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on 19 May 2015
I bought this, not because I was a massive Mike Oldfield fan but because I was curious. Once I started reading I couldn't put it down. I think a lot of people can relate to what is written here, there is hope. I would certainly recommend this to anyone.
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on 9 June 2008
i enjoyed this book a lot-polished it off in under a week(quick for me!).i had a lot of sympathy for mike's youngest years,very depressing to read in parts there,great fun reading about his mid teen musical exploits and admissions too.a a good chunk of the music bits did relate to tubular bells one but that's no surprise.i was expecting a lot more info on his future recordings and i was looking for more about his feelings in respect of mr branson-it was fairly positive on the whole-maybe that is because at the time of writing mike's head was at a good place?
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on 21 January 2016
I enjoyed the book and found Mike's clean living philosophy and humble frankness about himself refreshing. It was interesting hearing about his experiences with LSD; as a recovered manic depressive I had very similar trips though without the necessity of intoxicating myself with this dangerously unpredictable leisure drug. It was also good to see the sheer amount of work and commitment the man has made to his music, and to appreciate how painstaking a task putting together a piece was, to his ultimate satisfaction. He also went to a familiar school, Pres College, so it is reassuring that such success can be achieved from such an experience.
All in all an enjoyable read; an endearing man whose social caution I could relate to.
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on 24 September 2007
Although I was aware of Mike Oldfield around the "Moonlight Shadow" era, I really came to his music late, around Tubular Bells II (1990's).

I've since (re)discovered all the earlier works, amongst which Ommadawn and Crisis are my favourites - and fortunately enough the book goes into a fair bit of detail about those albums.

But, the bulk of the book, apart from long wandering passages about Mike's mental health struggles, deals with the conception of the original Tubular Bells album - probably a good half of the book.

Whilst I found the technical parts of the book, about the conception and recording of the albums, fascinating reading, the mental health parts are a little dull - you get the impression by the end that everything has changed, yet nothing has changed... If anything, it's like one of those magazines featuring horror stories - at the end you feel grateful for your "lot" when you see what someone else has!

Sadly, towards the end of the book, you can imagine Mike felt he needed to rush it - there is barely a paragraph about Tubular Bells II and even less on some of the other later albums - I hope he deems it necessary to release an updated version where the last 15 years aren't glossed over so quickly.
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on 1 April 2010
Great read, learnt a great deal about Mikes past, his struggles, the highs and lows. I've been a fan for almost 30 years so it was good to hear about his music and how it was put together. My only criticism is that the last few years of his life and music was rushed through, at the end of the book. Wish he had gone into a little more detail surrounding some of his greatest albmus since Tubular Bells such as Amarok, Tubular Bells 2 & 3 and one of my favourites; Songs of Distant Earth. I do hope there are many more Albums to come.
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on 18 July 2007
Mike makes reference in this book to the fact that with some of his albums (Hergest Ridge & Incantations) he lost enthusiasm before the end. I can't help feeling that's what happened here: There is such detail on the recording of the early albums that I eagerly anticipated reading the same for Amarok (many fans' favourite) only to find that he squashed three albums into literally less than two pages!! (Yet he can still muster up three pages, about the same time, talking about one hot air balloon trip with Richard Branson).

Added to that was the frustration of Mike seeming so uncertain about many of his facts; he constantly says "it was at.....I think" or "it was called something like....." ["My first album was called Tubular Bells I think; something like that anyway" - I'm exaggerating but you get the point].

He even gets major facts wrong like referring to Maggie "Riley" [sic] on Moonlight Shadow as someone who had "done some backing vocals on some of the tours" when in fact she had already sung lead vocals on the last two albums!! Some of this patchy research (e.g. being sure where his mum and dad met) could surely have been solved by one phone call?

Be prepared also for the downbeat ending to so many parts of his life. In just one paragraph he goes from "It was wonderful where we were living..." to "I wanted to leave...I didn't feel comfortable there."

HAVING SAID ALL THAT...there are many, many interesting passages and anecdotes which lead me to still give this three stars despite all my apparent criticisms above.

If you are a fan - will you be engaged by much of this? Yes. Will you be ultimately disappointed? Most probably.
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on 5 September 2012
I have always loved Tubular Bells and other MO music and decided that I would like to know a little bit more about the man behind all this wonderful music.

I am so glad I read this book as it puts everything into perspective from his point of view. It is well written and in a way that shows you he is a normal person who just wants to get on with his life and be happy. A great story and well worth the read.
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