Tubular Bells

Mercury UK
Release date
17 Sep 2013
Running length
4 tracks
Running time


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    Track     Duration Listeners
1 Tubular Bells Part One 26:04 8,822
2 Tubular Bells Part Two 23:20 5,291
3 Mike Oldfield's Single (Theme From Tubular Bells) 3:56 5,886
4 Sailor's Hornpipe (Viv Stanshall Version) 2:53 2,973

About this album

Tubular Bells is a record album, written and mostly performed by Mike Oldfield, released in . The late Vivian Stanshall provided the voice of the “Master of Ceremonies” who reads off the list of instruments at the end of the first movement. The piece was later orchestrated by David Bedford for The Orchestral Tubular Bells version and it had two sequels in the , Tubular Bells II and Tubular Bells III.


Oldfield approached (and was rejected by) many other established record labels. Some of the rejections were because they believed the piece to be unmarketable. Oldfield then played his demos to some of the Engineers at The Manor; they along with their boss, Richard Branson decided to give Oldfield a chance. Virgin Records released Oldfield’s debut album Tubular Bells as its first album; hence the catalogue number V2001 (although V2002 and V2003 were released on the same date).

Mike Oldfield played most of the instruments on the album (see below), recording them one at a time and layering the recordings to create the finished work. Many of his subsequent albums feature this technique. Though fairly common in the music industry now, at the time of the production of Tubular Bells not many musicians made use of it, preferring multi-musician “session” recordings.

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  • MusicMagic77

    "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 into the nearest police station." (Original text from the Rear Cover of the second edition Vinyl LP) (Virgin Records)

    30 Aug 2:07pm Reply
  • GasmaskAvenger

    "Your mother's in here, Karras. Would you like to leave a message? I'll see that she gets it."

    28 Aug 2:30am Reply
  • mecchaumai

    My favourite piece of music. Every time I listen to it it amazes me.

    28 Apr 4:37pm Reply
  • onthewall2983

    What amazes me even more than the music is the story of how it all came together. It's an underdog story of the industry if there ever was one. A talented but aloof session musician (who composed this all before he turned 18), a struggling young businessman trying to launch a record label. These things just don't happen today, and really didn't much at all then. There's a chance if any one event went sideways we may never have gotten the chance to hear this music, Mike may never have went beyond being a studio musician, and Richard Branson most likely never would have bought his own private island.

    22 Jan 5:50am Reply
  • phillipkilch316

    Such a blend of styles, and such an innovative way it was made. Truly this album is something great. (2)

    9 Jul 2013 Reply
  • BoobyNoobie

    Hard to classify this masterpiece to any existing genre.

    13 Jun 2013 Reply
  • DrSlump7

    Absolutely fantastic. This album defines perfection.

    9 Apr 2013 Reply
  • guipotter4

    Probably one of the best things ever created.

    21 Nov 2012 Reply
  • SatanicWalnut

    This album is indescribably good. It's the very definition of progressive music.

    16 Oct 2012 Reply
  • CamelStrez

    Such a blend of styles, and such an innovative way it was made. Truly this album is something great.

    4 Sep 2012 Reply
  • olebra

    my take on the introduction and the peaceful section of part 2, on the piano and Farfisa http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVvxnTAp_L4

    3 Sep 2012 Reply
  • CodexManesse

    This album contains nearly everything I like about music.

    27 Mar 2012 Reply
  • musicontra

    I love second part.

    23 Dec 2011 Reply
  • artheta

    A timeless masterpiece.

    17 Dec 2011 Reply
  • greg_valou

    I don't see what all the fuss over this album is about.

    25 Jul 2011 Reply
  • Leggy69

    Everybody else has said it for me! The 2009 Remix is astounding!

    13 Jan 2011 Reply
  • banzzai13

    Hell yeah. In freaking 1990 me and a friend, two French 15yo who don't know shit about music and probably listened to some dance at this time, find the vinyl and are sucked in. My friend would always ask me to play it. And years later my new best friend, from Germany, tells me the same story. It's even mystical ! ;)

    19 Nov 2010 Reply
  • killingursoul

    is it weird that im shouting on here and im listening to it on We7 but i have it on CD too??? hmmmmm good stuff :D

    16 Nov 2010 Reply
  • Jacoppin

    The best album ever, i love every minute of it, a masterpiece

    31 Oct 2010 Reply
  • Wildebrand

    A fantastic album with lots of changing themes. I especially like the one at the end of Part One, where all the instruments add up one by one to achieve a real orchestral sound. The growls by Mike on Part Two and the Sailor's Hornpipe are two things I really could laugh at (real funny!), for example on the Sailor's Hornpipe where Viv Stanshall struggles to say anthropology. All in all, I'd recommend it to anyone.

    30 Aug 2010 Reply
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