Mike Oldfield
Tubular Bells



by Riva USER (19 Reviews)
January 18th, 2006 | 166 replies

Release Date: 1973 | Tracklist

Today, Richard Branson, the self-styled Rebel Billionaire, rules an empire that spans several countries, and earns a multi-billion dollar profit, yearly. In 1971, Richard Branson, the yet to be self-styled Rebel Billionaire, ruled a small discount record store in London. Hoping to one day be more than a small time businessman, he started Virgin Records. How does this relate to Mike Oldfield? Well, at this time, a young man was desperate to sell his idea of a multi-layered, 25 minute long song that crossed several genres and would be performed solely by one man. Obviously, he had a tough time getting a record company to even listen to his work, much less get signed.

Enter Branson. Eager for a musician to release Virgin’s inaugural album, he took a chance on Oldfield, and liked what he heard. So much so, he allowed Oldfield two 25 minute long songs.

It should also be noted that the Kangaroo cannot walk backwards. How does this relate to Mike Oldfield? It doesn’t… but it’s an awfully good fact, don’t you think?

And thus history was made. Tubular Bells debuted to a storm of approval on May 25th, 1973. Reaching the top 10 in the UK charts, it stayed in the charts for 247 weeks, almost unheard of for a new artist. He also holds the record of knocking himself off the top spot, when Tubular Bells reached number one, pushing his second effort Hergest Ridge down.

It also rose to fame in the US, thanks to samples of it being included in [url=http://imdb.com/title/tt0070047/]The Exorcist[/url]’s soundtrack. Indeed, many first hear this fabulous album through this movie.

But I fear my dithering may have driven many of you to suicide by now. So, to the survivors, I say, “On with the review!”

Please note: Many different versions of this album exist. Some versions have been remastered to separate the individual movements of each song into separate songs themselves. This review is based off the mastered version of the original recording as it appeared on its debut; i.e Two songs, entitled Part 1 and Part 2.

It really is hard to describe the beautiful emotions one experiences whilst listening to Tubular Bells. From the sense of something large and ponderous one gets at that delightful bass tune around 5 minutes into Part 1, to the whimsical pirate jig that closes Part 2, you feel swept away by the images of love, happiness and disdain, by the rich landscapes portrayed by the music; marching armies, a werewolf in the forest, a laughingminstrel on a mountaintop. Really, there are no words to describe the artistry, the skill, the emotion poured into this music by Oldfield, that in turn affects everyone that listens to it. I highly recommend this album to anyone who enjoys amalgamations of different genres, and isn’t turned away by long song lengths.

Listen to it, and judge for yourself. I can only offer a poor description of this album. I feel the proof will be most assuredly in the pudding, however. A rich chocolate pudding, perhaps topped with your favourite flavour of fudge. Indeed, there is no reason not to compare Tubular Bells to a rich chocolate pudding topped with some sort of delicious, non-fattening fudge. And Mike Oldfield is the wise, friendly chef with a twinkle in his eye that invites you to enjoy his creations, and reminds you to sample everything in his menu.

Oh, did I mention he plays, in this album alone, Acoustic guitar, bass guitar, electric guitar, Farfisa, Hammond, and Lowrey organs; flageolet, fuzz guitars, glockenspiel, "honky tonk" piano (piano with detuned strings), mandolin, piano, percussion, Spanish guitar, speed guitar, taped motor drive amplifier organ chord, timpani, violin, vocals, tubular bells and provides some rather interesting vocals on Part Two?

Do yourself a favour. Buy Tubular Bells, and sit on a mountain top/curl up in bed/walk through a clichéd field of wheat, anything at all, just listen and appreciate this marvelous artwork. Go on, I dare you.

Recent reviews by this author
Mike Oldfield Tubular Bells IIDream Evil The Book of Heavy Metal
Mike Oldfield Light + ShadeLost Horizon Awakening the World
Aakon Keetreh Journey into the Depths of NightRunning Wild Black Hand Inn
user ratings (486)
other reviews of this album
LepreCon (5)
A dazzling masterpiece ahead of its time, Tubular Bells stands even today as a monumental work of pr...

Comments:Add a Comment 
January 19th 2006


Album Rating: 5.0

Hehe. I hope you don't mind the hopelessly idiotic metaphor and cliched conclusion.

January 19th 2006


Good job Riva. I've heard about this album from a lot of people and I'm thinking I should check it out. Sounds right down my alley.

January 19th 2006


I think I need to hear this.
Stellar work on the review, good sir.

Storm In A Teacup
January 19th 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

:eek: I looooooooooooooooooooooooooooove this! It's an absolute claaaaaaaaaaaasic!

I think I actually requested this to be reviewed in the request a review once, and after all this time it's finally done.

Thank you for a great review of a classic.

January 19th 2006


Sweet review
Sweet album

January 19th 2006


Nice review. After reading it I dug through my dads cd colection and managed to find a copy.
It's brillaint, I'm listening to it at the moment.

January 19th 2006


Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Nice review, I really liked the kangaroo reference.

This album is niceness, as are the three following ones (Hergest Ridge, Ommadawn & Incantations). After those he stopped making completely instrumental albums, and got more pop and all. I have two of his 80s albums of which one is decent (mostly for the beautiful instrumental track at the end) and one plain bad (because there is no instrumental at all on it). I have this album on vinyl, CD, DCC, Casette and 8-track and I even have the orchestral version (which is nothing too special actually, the original is way better), I only bought the vinyl tho, I inherited the rest from my father who loves this album to death as well. Definitive classic.

Saxon Priest
April 28th 2006


Album Rating: 5.0

This is musical excellence.

May 7th 2006


Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

One of the best albums that has ever graced my ears. Totally amazing.

May 11th 2006


Album Rating: 5.0

Yeah, this is it, my most favourite album. When I feel bad, I listen to it. When I don't know what to listen to, I play Tubular Bells. We even studied and played Tubular Bells live with friends...

May 17th 2006


Album Rating: 5.0

I always listen to it when I'm studying.

October 15th 2006


Any album that has 2 songs is interesting.

January 13th 2007


i keep getting reccomended this by people, is it a good listen?

January 13th 2007


How come I've never heard of you, and yet your reviews are so good? Maybe I havn't been around for long enough. Anyway, sweeet review.
I might buy this (if I can find it).

March 17th 2007


I really hate his "vocal work" on Part 2. That said, this album is both impressive and interesting.

March 17th 2007


I just discovered a while ago that my dad has this on vinyl. Ive listened to bits and parts of it, but I am definately going to check the rest out soon.

June 18th 2007


Album Rating: 4.5

this record is just amazing. I can'T that it is a one man creation. This guy is a god.

October 29th 2007


Album Rating: 4.5

i love how this starts off really haunting, then just builds and gets progressively lighter. Then it just gets nuts again.

I could easily see this hitting a 5.

October 29th 2007


Album Rating: 4.0

This is one of those albums that I just never get tired of. For some reason I tend to take a lengthy hiatus from Tubular Bells and I'm never sure why because everytime I listen to it I hear something new.

December 8th 2007


Album Rating: 4.5

The ending of Pt. I is pure genius. Grand Piano!

You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile


Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Site Copyright 2005-2019 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy