Mike Oldfield – 40 Years Of Tubular Bells (2013)

First Published: 26 May 2013Classic Rock Radio (UK)

Mike Oldfield40 Years of Tubular Bells (2013)

By Gary “Uncle G” Brown


Get this, forty years and one day ago, Virgin Records released their debut into the music world, Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells. The record itself (wax) also introduced Roger Dean’s Virgin Record logo. A perfect pair…at least for a little while.

In honor of the occasion, and also in case you just missed it the first time, here’s a column I did about Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells, on July 30th of last year. Hope you enjoy the read, and also that it motivates you to seek out and give Mike’s original Tubular Bells a listen. And in the process try to turn on someone who has not heard this classic, be it they were not born at the time or for whatever other reason.

  • GB *

Uncle G’s FUN Classic Rock CD Collection
Topic: Mike OldfieldTubular Bells (1973)

Imagine my surprise and delight to find out that Mike Oldfield participated in the entertainment section of the finest athlete competition in the World; The 2012 Olympics. While the visuals were not what I would have imagined, just the fact that Mike was playing live at this event, blew me away.

First off, here’s the man whose debut record launched Virgin Records. I am of course referring to; Tubular Bells. In my opinion, one of the absolutely coolest-sounding titles for a record. Words produce imagines. In my mind, the title envisions big shiny things capable of producing the most majestic sounds ever imagined. As I said, it’s cool. The visual given on the album cover is almost alien-like. Look…in the sky, it’s huge silver pipes.

The album itself is an instrumental like no other. Well, there are vocal sounds here and there. Some spoken words are thrown in. Tubular Bells is nowhere near being a traditional rock album in which the band would have a lead vocalist. None of the rubbish here.

To boost the coolness factor to the tenth power, a snippet of Tubular Bells is included in one of my all-time favorite horror films; The Exorcist. I have Linda Blair’s autograph on a poster for this classic horror flick that reads; sweet dreams – Linda Blair. It’s hanging on my dining room wall.

I got turned onto Mike Oldfield at around the same time I was getting acquainted with nudie girl magazines; at age twelve. There are real live people who can back this up, by the way. All a part of normal growing up for me. “Dear Penthouse Forum”…I digress. When I first heard of this masterpiece called Tubular Bells. the source was wax. On the backside of the album sleeve, it actually came with a warning. Towards the bottom it read;

This stereo record cannot be played on old tin boxes no matter what they are fitted with. If you are in possession of such equipment please hand it in to the nearest police station.

Not that I admitted it, but I was somewhat spooked by this. Remember, I was just a kid. Due to being piss-poor, and surrounded by adults that really didn’t give a flying fuck as to what my interests were, or anything along those lines, I had the world’s worse stereo in my room. A record player and cheap speaker wires connected to speakers that were housed in Marlboro cigarette boxes. Worked for me. I would sometimes have to put a penny on the tonearm to keep it from skipping. Not recommended for this for the weight digs the needle into the actual record. Ammonia and an old pair of underwear won’t rub that out.

By age twelve I was already a serious music-holic. As a mere child, I moved up the ranks. From The Partridge Family to Elton John to Led Zeppelin to Yes and Kraftwerk, to Mike Oldfield. something similar to that. A natural progression I imagine. And no cracks about The Partridge Family. I had a crush on Susan Dey. I remember an episode where the family got sprayed by a skunk and after all of them showering (I imagine not together), hanging out, in just bath towels. I think it was then that I realized that Susan had seriously good acting skills, and looks, that were worth checking out more. I was a growing boy back then, and very imaginative. In my already dirty mind, Susan Dey was the mayor of Boner City. Sometimes, and I must be honest, it was Barbi Benton.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

I learned the music from Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells, inside and out. Myself, I wasn’t a musician. Luckily I knew how to tune in a radio. Could whistle along to the whole thing. Was sucked into the whole album. Under the spell of a pair of Sennheiser’s, I was transported anywhere, my mind would take me while listening to both side A and side B of the album. Usually, a desert island with pretty naked women. But like I was saying…Tublular Bells is a superb piece of music that at moments really rocks out. You can wiggle your ass some. That’s a real plus for me. I always liked watching the females wiggle their asses. I kind of like moving around myself sometimes, to the beat of a good song. Not to be confused with dancing. God forbid.

Mike Oldfield’s Tubular BellsIn The News

As a result of the ceremonies, Mike Oldfield’s CD sales have increased. This is according to British music retailer; MHV (dot com). Your Uncle G’s not surprised whatsoever. Besides, it’s time for a new generation to discover the music of Mike Oldfield. New Age Artist…and an honor to place under the classic rockers’ spotlight. Be aware of a new greatest hits, and down the pike a new rock album.

Internet Link: Official Mike Oldfield Website


End of Story

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