Tubular Bells (studio album) by Mike Oldfield

Tubular Bells
Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield
Year: 1973
Overall rank: 486th   Overall chart historyOverall chart history
Average Rating: 
80/100 (from 555 votes)
  Ratings distributionRatings distribution   Average rating historyAverage rating history
Award Top 20 albums of 1973 (14th)
Award Top albums of the 1970s (113th)
Award Top 500 albums of all time (486th)
Product Details

Mike Oldfield - Theme From Tubular Bells 7" vinyl single RSD 2013 in PS - MINT
Condition: Used
Time left: 19m 36s
Ships to: Worldwide

Condition: Very Good
Time left: 2h 57s
Ships to: Worldwide

Mike Oldfield -The Best Of Tubular Bells (CD 2001)
Condition: Good
Time left: 2h 11m 30s
Ships to: Worldwide

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Mike Oldfield bestography

Tubular Bells is ranked as the best album by Mike Oldfield.

Mike Oldfield album bestography « Higher ranked This album (486th) Lower ranked (1,264th) »
-Tubular BellsOmmadawn

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Tubular Bells track list

  Track ratingsTrack ratings The tracks on this album have an average rating of 86 out of 100 (all tracks have been rated).

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Tubular Bells ratings

Average Rating: 
80/100 (from 555 votes)
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05/02/2021 09:59 DommeDamian  Ratings distributionRatings distribution 2,52063/100
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04/23/2021 00:42 Moondance  Ratings distributionRatings distribution 8,10474/100
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04/15/2021 11:10 MW19704U  Ratings distributionRatings distribution 3,03960/100
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04/15/2021 03:39 drstuey  Ratings distributionRatings distribution 42076/100
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04/07/2021 14:55 black-light  Ratings distributionRatings distribution 60077/100

Rating metrics: Outliers can be removed when calculating a mean average to dampen the effects of ratings outside the normal distribution. This figure is provided as the trimmed mean. A high standard deviation can be legitimate, but can sometimes indicate 'gaming' is occurring. Consider a simplified example* of an item receiving ratings of 100, 50, & 0. The mean average rating would be 50. However, ratings of 55, 50 & 45 could also result in the same average. The second average might be more trusted because there is more consensus around a particular rating (a lower deviation).
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This album is rated in the top 2% of all albums on BestEverAlbums.com. This album has a Bayesian average rating of 79.7/100, a mean average of 79.0/100, and a trimmed mean (excluding outliers) of 79.8/100. The standard deviation for this album is 15.3.

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Tubular Bells comments

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From 12/04/2020 01:29
I purchased Tubular Bells in 1983, ten years after the release of the album but I didn't even have a turntable on which to listen to it. I can't remember exactly why I bought it other than seeing the cover at a record shop and thinking it looked really cool. Perhaps the attendant at the store mentioned "It's the music from The Exorcist" (which of course it isn't true, rather some of the album was chosen by William Friedkin for the centerpiece and soundtrack of the film ... though oddly enough, the creepy part, the "caveman" isn't in the film at all), and maybe I thought that sounded like it might be fun too. But I can't say for sure. I just know that the first time I ever heard the album was during an acid trip party with some friends. It didn't turn out to be such a fun night, especially once Pilty showed up ... but it seems like that horror connection turned into a kind of love affair between Pilty and me, as I get the biggest kick out of singing along with him when his part comes along. And so I can say that I truly enjoy the "caveman"part.

Most of Side One is unparalleled fabulousness. The exception being the finale with Viv Stanshall. For the life of me I cannot understand why people think the finale is so good. It's just a silly self-aggrandizement and annoyingly repetitive. I'm not knocking how impressive it is in how Mike plays all those instruments, nor dismissing the fact that he plays the really fast, finger-bending bass line throughout the finale in a single take! It's just that, with the exception of the last minute or so of that bit, I could totally do without it. In fact, IMHO we could cut everything from 19:45 - 23:16 and finish off with the remnants of the bells (et al), and the ladies voices and that'd be a good Side One.

When Side Two starts out, it sounds like little light creatures dancing upon the clouds, or the sounds of vines growing over the mouth of a jungle cave. Then it goes into all sorts of bits and pieces strung together (similar to how it's done on Side One), and then into the bizarro bagpipes sound, leading up to those creepy tribal/Celtic drums and heeeeere comes Pilty!

The final portion on Side Two (Sailor's Hornpipe) I could kind of complain about as it seems really out of place, and more like a filler, BUT, it also acts as a reprieve from the nightmarish visit of the caveman, even though there's the calm part that immediately follows Pilty. So SH acts as a kind of comic relief in a way. I always refer to it as the Popeye segment.

While the Edgar Winter Group created "Frankenstein" by metaphorically stitching together bits and pieces of disparate, unfinished pieces, Mike Oldfield creates as entire album by such means. And both work very well.

I play this album/CD at least once per year. And when I do play it, I'll often loop it through several times. Either that or I'll play Tubular Bells II next, or maybe Ommadawn ... which I'll end up playing probably 3 or 4 times in a row. And then it'll get stuck in my head ... again.

Tubular Bells is one of my top ten favourite albums ever.

* An oddball note: For some reason, almost every time, during the Side One finale, which I still let run through even though I don't give a hoot about it (I just like continuity) when Viv Stanshall says "Grand piano" my left cheek, just under my eye, jumps a little -- like a nervous twitch. Strange, eh?
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | +2 votes (2 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
From 09/13/2020 02:02
You either love it or not. I absolutely love it. Not one that's on regular rotation but every time I pull this out for a listen, always a joy and never disappoints. This and 'Ommadawn' are his best pieces of work.
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | 0 votes (0 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
From 04/21/2020 16:41
A great album to study to. The ending of Tubular bells 1 is fantastic.
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | 0 votes (0 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
From 09/02/2019 15:03
Favorite Tracks:Tubular Bells Part 1, Tubular Bells Part 2
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | +4 votes (5 helpful | 1 unhelpful)
From 05/06/2019 12:45
A classic album that I've had for ages. Inventive and tuneful. No extra points for playing all the instruments himself, but still, kudos for doing that.
Falls just outside my top 100
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | 0 votes (0 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
From 04/15/2019 05:15
I'm an Oldfield fan and Ommadawn is my fave Oldfield album, but I like the big finalé of side 1. Side 2 starts with the Celtic music, Mike Oldfield may not have invented new age music(Pink Floyd's "Echoes" from Meddle in 1971 sounds Oldfieldish at one point), but Celtic melodies became a key part of new age music in the '80s and '90s e.g Clannad, Enya, Loreena McKennit. The caveman part is strange, but interesting and I'm kind of entertained and amused by those big long screams. As for "Sailor's Hornpipe", I'm not sure if that is actually part of Tubular Bells or something extra like "On Horseback" at the end of Ommadawn, but it's a fun way of finishing the album and of course Mike would have a hit with a recording of "Portsmouth" a few years after. I think Tubular Bells is a little more "rock" than his next few albums, which may be part of why it's preferred, but I'm much more thrilled by the climaxes at the ends of sides 1 and 2 of Ommadawn than anything on Tubular Bells.
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | +1 votes (1 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
From 01/17/2019 19:43
Outstanding musicianship. Fun to listen to. Still don't like the Caveman section. Otherwise,an excellent piece of work.
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | 0 votes (0 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
From 07/09/2018 22:31
This album represents a high point of the prog rock scene the 70s did so well. It is unlike almost anything else available at the time (though check out Louis Clark's (per-spek-'tiv) if you like this), and deals in unusual instruments and time signatures, rapidly changing dynamics and tempos, and sparkling melodies. In short, listen with an open mind and you won't be disappointed.
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | 0 votes (0 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
From 05/26/2018 01:57
Think about this for a moment ...when Mike Oldfield wrote , composed and recorded 'Tubular Bells' he was 19 . 19 ! . It blows my mind that some one so young can produce a piece as mature as this

I completely disagree with many of the comments below and find 'Tubular Bells' outstanding and far from boring

Highlights for me include "Introduction" , the 8 minute Finale closing side 1 with Viv Stanshall introducing the instruments and the quartet of tracks to close side 2 in "Bagpipe Guitars" / "Caveman" / "Ambient Guitars" (which sounds 100% like Mark Knoffler) & the quaint "The Sailors Hornpipe".

And to clear up the "Grunting" section which apparently many users hate . This section is known as the "Caveman" part and came about when Richard Branson was pressuring Mike Oldfield to include some lyrics on the album , so an angry and drunken MO declared "I'll give him some lyrics" and screamed into the microphone to the point of loosing his voice - this recording was then overdubbed and mixed to create the unusual sound we now know . And for the record I love this section and am glad it was included , knowing the back ground gives it a completely perspective

Finally the extended version has a hilarious track called "Sailors Hornpipe- Viv Stanshall" featuring a heavily intoxicated Stanshall conducting a tour of the Mansion where 'Tubular Bells' was recorded . If you can track it down its highly recommended

Side 1: 70 /100
Side 2: 80/100


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From 01/15/2018 14:52
I agree with Mehran great musicianship but boring!
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | -1 votes (0 helpful | 1 unhelpful)

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Best Albums of 1973
1. The Dark Side Of The Moon by Pink Floyd
2. Houses Of The Holy by Led Zeppelin
3. Innervisions by Stevie Wonder
4. Selling England By The Pound by Genesis
5. Quadrophenia by The Who
6. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road by Elton John
7. Band On The Run by Paul McCartney & Wings
8. Raw Power by Iggy And The Stooges
9. Aladdin Sane by David Bowie
10. Future Days by Can
11. (pronounced 'lĕh-'nérd 'skin-'nérd) by Lynyrd Skynyrd
12. Head Hunters by Herbie Hancock
13. Berlin by Lou Reed
14. Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield
15. For Your Pleasure by Roxy Music
16. Closing Time by Tom Waits
17. The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle by Bruce Springsteen
18. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath by Black Sabbath
19. Larks' Tongues In Aspic by King Crimson
20. Artaud by Pescado Rabioso
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