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And Tubular Bells

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A Recommended album blog. Reserved for albums where everything comes together to create the perfect…The iconic album cover, the virtuosity, the music and the replay factor.

Tubular Bells

Album: Tubular Bells
Track Listing: Side 1: 1. PART ONE (25:00), Side 2: 1. PART TWO (23:50)
Band: Mike Oldfield
Band Members: Master of Ceremonies – Viv Stanshall, Flutes – John Field, String basses – Lindsay Cooper, Nasal Chorus – Nasal Choir, Girlie Chorus – Mundy Ellis, Sally Oldfield, Bootleg Chorus – Manor Choir conducted by Mike Oldfield, Drums – Steve Broughton (courtesy Harvest), Everything Else – Mike Oldfield
Produced by: Mike Oldfield/Simon Hayworth/Tom Newman
Published: 1973
Label: Virgin
Virgin V2001

1973 Cover designed and photographed Trevor Key

The Album

The album Tubular Bells is multi-instrumental masterpiece conceived and created by Mike Oldfield at the Manor, the studio owned by Richard Branson at the start of Virgin Records. (Source: Wikipedia)

Track Run Through

Side 1

  1. PART ONE – a sublime 25 minutes. Many people will know this from the soundtrack to the film “The Exorcist” but I never saw that film, only references to it. As such, it doesn’t influence my listening of it. From the opening to Viv Stanshall’s mastering of the ceremonies

Side 2

  1. PART TWO – if that had been it, just the 25 minutes of side 1, it would have been worth the admission price. However, here on side 2, we are treated to more. It works. There’s the ‘strangeness’ of “Piltdown Man” (see here for further info) but Mike’s guitar reigns it in, and it’s followed by the beautiful Hammond Organ and just keeps getting better. The end is typically Mike Oldfield – love it!

Sally Oldfield sings on this, her brother’s album, albeit in the choir of two, along with Mundy Ellis. This is the second album she sings on I absolutely adore (see Taken on a Voyage).


I owned this album but sold it (see Difficult Times buried deep down in A Condensed History Pt. 2). I own the CD from 1983 (I’m playing this now).
Of the two, I feel you have to experience it in two parts by turning over the vinyl. That pause is integral. The CD break just doesn’t do it (although it’s a hell of a lot more convenient). I suppose streaming would be the same thing.

I listen to Tubular Bells fairly frequently, especially more recently. Another way I have found to appreciate it is to watch “Mike Oldfield ‘Tubular Bells’ Live at the BBC 1973 (HQ remastered)”. This is taken from “the Elements DVD and is on the 2009 reissue of Tubular Bells”. This is a slightly different version but the artists playing with Mike Oldfield are legendary. Just look at the roster on the YouTube video description. The visuals are pure ‘70’s and as the overlay graphics kick in and the walls melt away. It’s a spiritual experience…

The source material is key bit this video expands Tubular Bells into something more.

The Album Cover

The album cover has to be one of the most iconic ever! It’s photographic but has a drawn graphic feel to me, even though the tubular bell on the front was actually a physical object, not drawn.

The One

If I were only allowed one album, I think this would be the one. That’s a difficult thing for me to say, especially after discovering “Sleep’s Holy Mountain” (see A First Play of Sleep’s Holy Mountain). I never tire of it. 48 minutes 50 seconds pass in the blink of an eye – which is how it should be.

Finally, I have to mention what Viv Stanshall brought to this album was the icing on the cake. Listen to Tubular Bells.

This is so Absolutely Recommended!

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Published in CD Prog Recommended Albums Vinyl


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