Including Mike Oldfield Tubular Bells in a list of “musical masterpieces” is not a particularly bold step. Few would argue that this timeless masterpiece was created by a hugely talented artist who was still a teenager at the time of its conception. Using Richard Branson’s Manor studio during times when it was not booked out to other artists, Mike Oldfield was able to painstakingly piece together multiple instrumental tracks, (all of the instruments being played by him), and end up with something the like of which had not been heard before.
Branson was, allegedly, reluctant to release Tubular Bells because it didn’t have any lyrics. With the exception of the grunting caveman on side two and Viv Stanshall’s elegant roll-call of the various instruments used in the piece, (well, some of them anyway), this is a completely instrumental piece. A mesmerizing, journey full of high points – magical. The world had never heard its like before, or since.
DJ Jon Peel reviewed the album for The Listener magazine and described it as follows: “a new recording of such strength and beauty that to me it represents the first break-through into history that any musician has made” Jon knew a great album when he heard one and the above quote from his review sums it up perfectly.
Yes, Mike has released many more albums, some of which further develop the Tubular Bells theme, but he could never surpass the tingling, mind expanding wonder that you experience when listening to this masterpiece.