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Tubular Bells II
(released 31st August 1992)

Further information:

Richard Carter's Tubular Bells II page

Alan Rickman's IMDB entry

Tom Newman's website

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Next compilations:
Elements: The Best Of Mike Oldfield
Elements: 1973-1991

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Track Listing

1: Sentinel (8:07)
2: Dark Star (2:16)
3: Clear Light (5:48)
4: Blue Saloon (4:43)
5: SunJammer (4:06)
6: Red Dawn (1:49)
7: The Bell (6:57)
8: Weightless (5:43)
9: The Great Plain (4:47)
10: Sunset Door (2:23)
11: Tattoo (4:15)
12: Altered State (5:17)
13: Maya Gold (4:01)
14: Moonshine (1:41)


Mike Oldfield: Electric guitar, Classical guitar, Flamenco guitar, 12 string guitar, Acoustic guitars, Mandolin, Banjo, Double speed guitar, Grand piano, Hammond organ, Synthesisers and programming, Timpani, Glockenspiel, Triangle, Tambourine, Cymbals, Toy percussion, Handclaps, Orchestral bass drum, Tubular bells, Vocals.
John Robinson: Drums
Sally Bradshaw: Vocal solo
Susannah Melvoin, Edie Lehman:
P.D. Scots Pipe Band
Celtic Bevy Band
Jamie Muhoberac:
Additional keyboards, noises and drum loops
Eric Cadieux:
Additional programming and digital sound processing
A Strolling Player [Alan Rickman]:
Master of Ceremonies


Tubular Bells II was recorded between September 1991 and June 1992.

Having left Virgin and signed to the more sympathetic WEA label, Mike was ready for a new beginning. So it was fitting that Mike's first recording for the new label was a reworking of his first album from 1973.

Mike's original idea was to record parts 3 and 4 of Tubular Bells (as he had hinted when promoting Amarok), and planned to use only hand-played instruments and employ the producer of that first album, Tom Newman. Soon, however, the idea evolved into a revision of the first album. (One of the unfinished tracks from this period was given the title Early Stages, and appeared on the b-side of Sentinel Restructure.)

After most of the first 'side' of the album had been recorded, Mike moved to Los Angeles to finish it off and record the second half. From this point, Trevor Horn took over as producer, and this brought about a major change in the album's direction: over the years, Mike had become accustomed to filling every track on the tape with instruments, but Horn persuaded him to cut back in some areas, letting the music speak for itself. This lighter approach gives Tubular Bells II a much more optimistic feel than the original album.

The opening track takes its name from Arthur C Clarke's short story The Sentinel, which was the basis of 2001: A Space Odyssey. (Mike's next album was based on one of Clarke's early novels The Songs Of Distant Earth.)

Sunjammer is another Clarke story title (now known as The Wind From The Sun), although it could also be a reference to Windjammer by The Shadows.

Dark Star is the name of a science fiction film released the same year Tubular Bells was released, and is also the name of the horse that won the Kentucky Derby in 1953, the year Mike was born.

Sally Bradshaw (the vocal soloist on Red Dawn) had previously appeared on the Pet Shop Boys track Left To My Own Devices, which was also produced by Trevor Horn.

Singer Susannah Melvoin co-wrote the song Candy Perfume Girl, which appears on Madonna's 1998 album Ray Of Light.

Credit: Richard Carter, Steve Farrell, Marcus Junglas and Mary-Carol Lindbloom.

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