Ringing a bell


Tubular Bells was the first album from Mike Oldfield, released in 1973. (Gulp!)

It was one of the first records Richard Branson’s Virgin Records released, and I have heard it said that the LP’s commercial success was pivotal in the success of Virgin.

Branson picked up the rights to Tubular Bells after several other record companies turned it down. (Not the first time a blockbuster has gone that way.) In some respects you can see why it was not wanted. It was essentially two largely instrumental tracks, with no real chorus or hook, and all from an unknown artist.

From my perspective, I know I liked it sufficiently that it was one of the LPs I repurchased as a CD. And it’s also one of those pieces of music where it is easier to hear the difference in sound quality between the two formats. Maybe I am kidding myself, but I much prefer the LP to the CD.


You may know the music featured in the film Exorcist, but I was surprised to see, in relative terms, how rarely it had appeared in other media like film and television. Maybe it is too distinct.

Taking the album out again and playing it – again and again – was another joyous part of rediscovering my record collection. But at the end I was left with one troubling question: why hadn’t I bought any other Mike Oldfield albums?

I may have to do something to rectify that…

[The musical journey of rediscovery through my record collection continues. Click on “Vinyl” in the Categories, or in the following links, to see previous entries.]