(released 25th May 1973)
1: Tubular Bells Part One (25:34)
Master of Ceremonies: Vivian Stanshall
While Mike was a member of Kevin Ayers And The Whole World, he borrowed a tape recorder from Kevin to record demos of pieces of music he had composed. This tape (having been rejected by practically every record label) caught the interest of Richard Branson, who decided to release it as the first album on his new Virgin label. (The demos can be heard on the DVD-Audio version of Tubular Bells 2003.)
Part One was recorded in a week during September 1972, and Part Two was recorded over the next few months up to Spring 1973 (and finishing touches were added to Part One).
The 'Master of Ceremonies' section saw Viv Stanshall reprise his role from The Intro And The Outro, a track from The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band's debut album New Tricks.
The Caveman Song in Part Two was written in the 1960s, when Mike was in a folk group with his brother Terry. The tune had lyrics at that time, but Mike preferred to leave it instrumental. After Virgin persuaded him to include vocals on the album, he added growling sounds to this section.
The section at the end of Part Two (before the Sailor's Hornpipe) had previously been incorporated into Why Are We Sleeping? when Mike was in Kevin Ayers And The Whole World. A recording of this is available on Too Old To Die Young.
Trevor Key designed a cover for the album based on Richard Branson's suggested title Breakfast In Bed (a modified version of this appears on Heaven's Open). However, as Mike disliked the title, he made another suggestion. Having dented one of the tubular bells by using too large a hammer, Mike wanted the cover to have a bell that had been smashed or twisted by a gorilla. Trevor then built a twisted bell, and superimposed it over a photograph of burning bones on a beach. His fee was £100.
Versions of Tubular Bells
The original album (May 25th 1973)
Quadrophonic Remix (July 28th 1974)
The Sailor's Hornpipe is followed by the sound of a model aeroplane to demonstrate the capabilities of Quadrophonic sound (the aeroplane was flown around the studio by Mike and Tom Newman when they got bored with remixing).
Boxed Remix (26th October 1976)
Mike more or less destroyed the original set of Tubular Bells (and they were sonically distorted on the original recording), so a new set was bought and played on the Boxed remix. The Reed and Pipe Organ was also re-recorded, sounding less "buzzy" than on the original version. The Sailor's Hornpipe, featuring a commentary by Viv Stanshall, was cut from the original album, but reinstated on this version.
Quadrophonic Remix Picture Disc - alternative pressing (1978)
CD version - first pressing (1983)
CD version - corrected (1983)
Elements version (November 1993)
25th Anniversary Edition (25th May 1998)
On some pressings, the stereo channels on Part Two have been reversed.
HDCD Remaster (29th May 2000)
SACD Remaster (5th February 2001)
This was the first SACD released by Virgin.
Credit: David Porter of The Mike Oldfield Information Service, Richard Carter, Philip Bendall, Chris Worland, Bob Angilly, Martin Bartosik.
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