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QE2 is a record album mostly written and performed by Mike Oldfield, released in 1980. This was his sixth new album and featured original Oldfield compositions plus two short songs from bands ABBA ("Arrival") and The Shadows ("Wonderful Land"). The album went to number one on German album charts when it was released.
The Longest tracks on the album are "Taurus I" and the title track, "QE2". Both are typical Oldfield compositions, featuring various strong melodies using both modern and traditional instruments.
Some years later The Shadows responded to Oldfield's cover of "Wonderful Land", by releasing a cover of Oldfield's "Moonlight Shadow". The Cover songs were released as singles; and the helicopter cover for "Arrival" was a parody of ABBA's Arrival album cover.
The album was the first Oldfield album to feature Maggie Reilly as a collaborator. Some tracks on the album feature vocals sung through vocoder.
"Conflict" has an excerpt from J. S. Bach’s "Badinerie" (the last part of Bach's Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B Minor).
The "Celt" lyrics were by Tim Cross and appear to be nonsense syllables chosen for their pleasing sounds rather than any actual meaning (many Oldfield works feature this).
"Molly" was made for his daughter, Molly Oldfield, who would later play keyboards on The Songs of Distant Earth.
The album and its title track were named for the Cunard Line ocean liner RMS Queen Elizabeth 2. In fact, if one looks closely at the album, it appears to be a closeup of the side of the ship, complete with water level marks in the lower left corner. The first pressing even had a porthole cut out in the sleeve. The inside of the original foldout LP sleeve featured a schematic of one of the Queen Elizabeth 2's decks as well as a stylified picture of her engines. Sadly these have not been reprinted in later reissues.
On the original vinyl label of the album "QE2" is listed as two tracks, "QE2" by Oldfield/Hentschel and "QE2 Finale" by Oldfield, but gives them running time as a single piece.
"Taurus I" (Mike Oldfield) – 10:16
"Sheba" (Oldfield) – 3:33
"Conflict" (Oldfield) – 2:53
"Arrival" (Benny Andersson, Bjцrn Ulvaeus) – 2:48
"Wonderful Land" (Jerry Lordan) – 3:38
"Mirage" (Oldfield) – 4:41
"QE2" (Oldfield, David Hentschel) – 7:38
"Celt" (Oldfield, Tim Cross) – 3:06
"Molly" (Oldfield) – 1:15
Mike Oldfield plays :
Acoustic guitar, African drums, banjo, bass guitar, Celtic harp, drum machine, electric guitar, mandolin, marimbas, percussion, piano, rhythm sticks, Spanish guitar, synthesizers, timpani, vibraphone, vocoder, and vocals
English Chorale – vocals
Guy Barker – trumpet
Phil Collins – drums
Tim Cross – piano, synthesizers
Raul D'Olivera – trumpet
Mike Frye – African drums, vocoder, drums, timpani, hi-hat
David Hentschel – synthesizers, drums, vocals
Paul Nieman – trombone
Morris Pert – drums
Maggie Reilly – vocals
Dick Studt – strings
Philip Todd – tenor saxophone