Sunday, 13 July 2014

Mike Oldfield: Tubular Bells

Continuing my 70s mega-album theme, we come to Tubular Bells. Anyone who grew up in the 70s knows this album. I think it was mandatory that fathers owned it. My dad did and he used to play it in the car and I loved it. I am listening to it again for the first time in years and I am not sure it's stood the test of time in the way Dark Side Of The Moon has.

I am thoroughly enjoying listening to it again as it reminds me of a very specific period in my childhood and any music that does that is always special. But, how can I say this? It's really a dull album. I was reminded of it as I watched a documentary on Mike Oldfield. I remember imagining that Oldfield was older and heavy black rimmed glasses. A bit like Roy Orbsion if you will. I'll never forget my shock when I saw him and realised he was young and didn't wear any glasses, let alone black ones. Anyway, he really suffered making this, there are many tales of him cracking up, crying a lot and generally having a meltdown. I guess when you are doing everything with no bandmates or backing players, it's all on you.

The best bit is still the last eight minutes or so. I used to love the way he introduced the instruments. Not sure why, it sounds pretentious now in his home counties accent. "Glockenspiel!" "Bass Guitar!" "Two slightly distorted guitars!" "Mandolin!" Why were we all so entranced with this? He has a lot to thank Richard Branson and The Exorcist for.

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