Tubular Bells

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Tubular Bells is a record album, written and mostly performed by Mike Oldfield. It was the first album to be released by Virgin Records in 1973. It was orchestrated by David Bedford. Vivian Stanshall also contributed to the album (apparently he just happened to be working nearby and Oldfield asked him to help). A remixed version appears in the Mike Oldfield Boxed set, with a longer version of the "Sailor's Hornpipe" coda featuring comic narration by Stanshall.

Part of the opening theme was used in The Exorcist (during one of the movie's less scary moments), gaining the record considerable publicity.

Oldfield frequently returned to Tubular Bells for inspiration. The opening passage of "Crises" on the album of the same name is clearly derived from the opening of "Tubular Bells Part One", and Oldfield used the "Piltdown Man" voice again on the song "Five Miles Out".

The 1990s saw the release of Tubular Bells II (1992), Tubular Bells III (1998) and The Millennium Bell (1999), leading some critics to suggest that Oldfield was like Quasimodo - chained to the "Bells". Finally in 2003 Oldfield released Tubular Bells 2003, a re-recording with digital technology, using the original version as a reference.

Part One

Part Two

  • Mike Oldfield plays: Electric Guitar, Farfisa Organ, Bass Guitar, Acoustic Guitars, Piano, Speed Elec. Guitars, Lowrey Organ, Concert tympani, Guitars sounding like bagpipes, Piltdown Man, Hammond organ, Spanish Guitar, Moribund Chorus
  • Girlie Chorus: Sally Oldfield, Mundy Ellis
  • Bootleg Chorus: Manor Choir conducted by Mike Oldfield
  • Drums: Steve Broughton