287. Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells (1973)
1. Part One
2. Part Two
Whatever your opinion on this album it was definitely an important happening in the music world of 1973 and subsequent years. This is one of those albums I discovered in some old tapes of my father when I was about 13 and going through a New Age phase, it made an impression then.
It still makes an impression now but not for the same reasons and not such a positive impression. The album is lacking a centre, it is pretentious and not very competently done. That said you have to admire Oldfield's spurt of originality here, although it was probably his only one as he rehashed the same formula for the next 30 something years, with the exception of the best forgotten pop-period with such hits as To France and Moonlight Shadow. There are moments here which are genuinely beautiful the last part of Part One and the next to last of Part Two come to mind, but it is overall a plodding pretentious work of someone who seems to consider himself a genius, forgetting that Todd Rundgren had already done an album where he played all the instruments in Something/Anything? .
In the end it is worth listening to so you can see where Richard Branson made his first big bucks for Virgin and for some nice parts, you might also like it if you associate the first part of Part One with the Exorcist, but that is extraneous to the music itself which is almost never above middling. Get it at Amazon UK or US.
1. Part One
Tubular Bells is the album most identified with Oldfield and the reverse may be true as well as he has frequently returned to it in later works. The opening passage of the title track on the album Crises is clearly derived from the opening of Tubular Bells. The opening is also quoted directly in the song "Five Miles Out" from the album of the same name and the song also features his "trademark" instrument, "Piltdown Man" (referring to his singing like a caveman, first heard on Tubular Bells).
Tubular Bells stayed in the British charts for over five years, reaching the number 1 spot after more than a year and taking there for one week the place of his second album, Hergest Ridge, thereby becoming one of only three artists in the UK to knock himself off the first spot. It sold more than two million copies in the UK alone and according to some reports 15 to 17 million copies worldwide. The album went gold in the USA and Mike Oldfield received a Grammy Award for the best Instrumental Composition in 1975.
Here you go a bit of Tubular Bells for your enjoyment: