Mike Oldfield

To France

Composed by Mike Oldfield

Song Review by

Despite its number 15 placing on the U.K. charts, 1984's Discovery was passed over for the most part. The album saw Mike Oldfield continuing with his string of more commercially sounding albums, paying more attention to his guitar playing and a little less to his instrumental eccentricities. One of the album's tracks entitled "To France" made it to number 48 on the British singles chart, which may not sound impressive for a pop artist but was quite satisfactory when it came to Mike Oldfield's repertoire. Because the song is about Mary Queen of Scots' exodus to France in the mid-1500s, most of the song's attention was garnered in Europe, and once again it was Maggie Reilly's shimmering voice that stole the show. "To France"'s sparkling chorus and pristine keyboard parts fall just outside the song's moderate gallop, with Reilly and the accompanying instruments adding some mild Celtic overtones to its melody. A master at the art of imagery and ambience, Oldfield manages to convey Mary's desperation and haste through the sprinkled string work and through the tune's wistful, almost secretive feel. There isn't an overdose of synthesizer or other effectual add-ons, which in turn makes the song sound pure and quite sincere. All of the instruments are played by Oldfield, and Discovery marked the first time he recorded an album outside of England, opting for a mountainside studio near Lake Geneva in Switzerland. While most of the other tracks are typical Oldfield fair, "To France" wonderfully stands out as the album's most alluring cut, due in part to the "less is more" approach to music making, which is rare for Oldfield.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
No Image 1984 A&M
The Complete 1985 EMI Music Distribution 4:33
Elements: Mike Oldfield 1973-1991 1993 Virgin 4:41
Moonlight Shadow [1988] 1993 Virgin 4:43
The Best of Mike Oldfield: Elements 1994 EMI / EMI Music Distribution
Disco Fox, Vol. 5 1997
Various Artists
ZYX Music 4:34
Collection 2002 EMI Music Distribution 4:43
The Platinum Collection 2006 EMI Music Distribution 5:35
Gift Pack 2007 EMI Music Distribution 4:43
Two Sides: The Very Best of Mike Oldfield 2012 Decca / Hip-O 4:40
Tubular Beats 2013 Eagle Records / Eagle Rock 3:35
Top 50: 30 Ans (100 Tubes), Vol. 2 2015
Various Artists
Universal
Top 50: Le Best Of 2016
Various Artists
MCA
blue highlight denotes editor's pick