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And introducing...
April 14, 2011 11:31 PM   Subscribe

A 1970s recording of Mike Oldfield and friends playing Tubular Bells live part 1
Part 2
Part 3
posted by boo_radley (53 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oooh, always loved this song. Good 1973 memories too. This is a wonderful version of it. Thanks for the post.
posted by nickyskye at 12:04 AM on April 15, 2011


Ah, the good old 15/4 time signature... would this be an appropriate time to suggest we replace the overused word "awesome" with "tubular"?
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:23 AM on April 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Of course, I always preferred Ommadawn.
posted by philip-random at 12:28 AM on April 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hey, that's Fred Frith! My fanboy glee is doubled.
posted by doubtfulpalace at 12:55 AM on April 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Aaaand... there's most of the rest of Henry Cow. And a bit of Jade Warrior. And Soft Machine. Awesome.
posted by doubtfulpalace at 1:16 AM on April 15, 2011


Takes me back to the old sixth form common room.

Speaking of Ommadawn, I stil listen to it very occasionally and find I have a conditioned reflex which causes me to leap to my feet near the end of "side two" in order to snatch the needle off before the atrocious final track, even though nowadays I am not listening to an LP and there is, thank God, no final track.

Hey and away I go.
posted by Segundus at 1:17 AM on April 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Jesus, I didn't realise Mark Zuckerberg could play an instrument.
posted by a non e mouse at 1:52 AM on April 15, 2011


philip-random: "Of course, I always preferred Ommadawn "

And not intentionally being contrary, but I've always felt the best of the first three albums was Hergest Ridge... It always felt the most complete work, rather than a number of (great) sketches stuck together like Tubular Bells and Ommadawn.
posted by benzo8 at 2:01 AM on April 15, 2011


Segendus, is that the instrumental folk-like piece? If it is, I'm rather fond of that, actually.
posted by Harald74 at 2:19 AM on April 15, 2011


Harald74: "Segendus, is that the instrumental folk-like piece? If it is, I'm rather fond of that, actually"

No, I imagine Segundus is referring to On Horseback...

"Big round beasty, big round face,
I'd rather be with you than flying through space..."
posted by benzo8 at 2:22 AM on April 15, 2011


I did some online shopping for tubular bells just last night! It turns out they are quite pricey and I guess I won't be getting any. But I really want some.

This song features some tubular bells, but fewer than I was expecting from the title. (I was only familiar with it as far as it's used in The Exorcist.)
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 2:25 AM on April 15, 2011


Thanks for this. Does anybody have any idea when this was originally shown? It must have been pretty expensive to shoot in its time - and of course there was no "special DVD edition" market - so it must have been made to show on TV. A 30 minute long, uninterrupted piece of music or a novel type played live with various interspersed special effects sounds like it must have been a pretty brace commission - then or now.
posted by rongorongo at 3:11 AM on April 15, 2011


I imagine Segundus is referring to On Horseback

Yes - the music's fine, it's the words.
posted by Segundus at 3:38 AM on April 15, 2011


Thank you for that - it's strangely, unexpectedly lovely in its own way. The only disappointment was that Viv Stanshall appears to be on tape rather than live.

It's worth remembering that Tubular Bells is the work of a strangely obsessive teenage folk musician, prodigiously talented, trying to emulate (I think) Delius' Brigg Fair and due to some unique circumstances given the resources of a new brand new recording studio to play with. Listening to it now it's obviously a bunch of bits stuck together, but that's not a bad thing, I think.

I get strangely emotional when I hear Stanshall's voice - is that odd? And I can't find it online, but the original ending-of-side-two is worth hearing - it's Tom Newman and Mike Oldfield playing the hornpipe on acoustic guitar and mandolin while Viv Stanshall wanders around the Manor pointing at things and making comments. They are all prodigiously drunk.
posted by Grangousier at 4:11 AM on April 15, 2011


Here it is.
posted by Grangousier at 4:12 AM on April 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hey! There's Mick Taylor at 3:21 in the first part.
posted by marxchivist at 4:24 AM on April 15, 2011


And not intentionally being contrary, but I've always felt the best of the first three albums was Hergest Ridge

I'd agree with you there. The odd thing about Hergest Ridge is I've heard probably three different pressings of it- the original LP release, a late-70's LP reissue, and the "remastered" CD from 2000. The mixes on them make them sound completely different. In particular, on the CD the mandolin in part one (comes in about 3:00) is pushed out of the mix, and the "dramatic" portion of part two (about 10:00 in) is a muddled mess.

I wish I could find a CD version accurate to the original pressing, because my vinyl is worn out.

I think my favorite release of his is still Incantations. Amarok is a work that I really admire in theory, but have trouble listening to start to finish- it doesn't seem happy with settling with one idea long enough to be interesting. Oldfield's pop-orientated and vocal work has been a guilty pleasure for me as well, but only in small doses.

Here's a bit of trivia I just found out! On Platinum, the track listed as Sally isn't really Sally.
posted by Dr-Baa at 4:26 AM on April 15, 2011


Hey, that's Fred Frith! My fanboy glee is doubled.

Steve Hillage is also pretty groovy if you like psychedelia.

And a bit of Jade Warrior. And Soft Machine.

& The Rolling Stones?
posted by ovvl at 4:32 AM on April 15, 2011


And Endtroducing...
posted by Conductor71 at 4:38 AM on April 15, 2011


This version of Tubular Bells by the Brooklyn Organ Synth Orchestra came out last month. Done by 20+ NYC musicians using vintage synths, I think it's wonderful.

It inspired me to pull out the old keyboard. Finding a full version of the music was a challenge but I finally located it in an online music trading society called Pianofiles.
posted by notmtwain at 4:52 AM on April 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Totally tubular.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:54 AM on April 15, 2011


Always loved the part in Tubular Bells where the instruments are verbally introduced and added one by one in a swelling crescendo.
posted by fairmettle at 4:56 AM on April 15, 2011


I'd forgotten just how trippy this thing was. My copy of the album spun for some pretty crispy parties back in the day... thanks for posting.
posted by kinnakeet at 5:12 AM on April 15, 2011


I wish I could find a CD version accurate to the original pressing, because my vinyl is worn out.

You'll be wanting the 2010 Deluxe Edition.

(This post is like worlds colliding for me... my main online hangout in the 1990s was the Mike Oldfield mailing list.)
posted by rory at 5:25 AM on April 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Dr-Baa:

I wish I could find a CD version accurate to the original pressing, because my vinyl is worn out.


He released a remixed version of Hergest Ridge last year, with Yet Another mix differing form the original vinyl and from the boxed set/CD remastered version. The deluxe version of that has the 2010 remix, the original vinyl mix, and a demo version. Amazon has it. Ommadawn got the same treatment, rumor has it other albums will as well.
posted by a person of few words at 5:41 AM on April 15, 2011


Steve Hillage is also pretty groovy if you like psychedelia.

He's not so bad on the electronica side either.
posted by pashdown at 5:58 AM on April 15, 2011


Tubular bells are, well, metal tubes. Every time I go to the plumbing department at Home Depot, I pick up one of the 4' lengths of big copper pipe and whack on it. Okay, yeah, copper pipe ain't cheap but oh the sound. Oh the sound.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:42 AM on April 15, 2011


One other thing I find fascinating about this album is that it was the start of Sir Richard Branson's empire. There's a lot of interesting discussion in Branson's autobiography. From the wikipedia:
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).

The significance of this album to the Virgin empire is not lost on Richard Branson, who named one of his first Virgin America aircraft, an Airbus A319-112, N527VA Tubular Belle.
posted by inigo2 at 6:42 AM on April 15, 2011


Further, Branson initially had to bribe Oldfield into performing this album publicly: "Following the release of his debut solo album in 1973, Tubular Bells, Oldfield performed a premiere concert in London. The founder of Virgin Records, Richard Branson, gave Oldfield a Bentley motor car to entice him into playing."
posted by inigo2 at 6:46 AM on April 15, 2011


I'm not sure I've even thought about Mike Oldfield in years, but my ex was a huge Oldfield fan and now I'm craving some of his back catalog. Thanks to the folks recommending the deluxe CD editions above, because I need to go buy some.
posted by immlass at 6:48 AM on April 15, 2011


Hi there! nice to be with you. . . glad you could stick around!

And for all the pop culture reference fans, here's why the overdubbed multi-instrumentalist showcase section was recorded that way and why it had to be Viv Stanshall who played Master of Ceremonies.
Count Basie Orchestra on triangle:

Ting!

Thanks, guys. . .
Details here.

Man, there's a wp page for everything.
posted by Herodios at 7:19 AM on April 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


How did this come to be used in the Exorcist, and why? Seems odd.
posted by Liquidwolf at 7:23 AM on April 15, 2011


Oh, thanks for the sleepless nights I shall have now...

(I was 13 when the film was released, and I knew Linda Blair casually. To say I was "damaged" by viewing it would be an understatement... I didn't personally throw up, but the girl at the end of my row did. To this day, I have no idea why I didn't just get up and leave.)

(Oh, and I went with a CHURCH YOUTH GROUP to see it...)

Liquidwolf: I know that composer Lalo Schifrin composed a full score for the film that was rejected by director William Friedkin, just weeks before it was to premiere. The soundtrack ended up being bit-and-pieced together from existing recordings. How he came upon Tubular Bells, I'm not sure, but the story is he personally selected it as the "theme" of the film. The Director's Cut version has more of a "score," but it was composed much, much later.
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 7:33 AM on April 15, 2011


I love this, but I'm confused by it.

I'm used to watching musicians looking excited or stressed while they play. These guys just look bored...
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 7:52 AM on April 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


These guys just look bored...
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 3:52 PM on April 15


And who could blame them?

Some pieces of music I simply never, ever need to hear again.
posted by Decani at 8:13 AM on April 15, 2011


I'm working on a piece inspired by this. I'm calling it Bubular Tells.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:36 AM on April 15, 2011


I'm working on a piece inspired by this. I'm calling it Bubular Tells.

Well in that case you need this picture on the cover.
posted by Anything at 8:57 AM on April 15, 2011


Excellent! Thanks boo_radley.
posted by Daddy-O at 9:00 AM on April 15, 2011


sodium lights the horizon: "I'm used to watching musicians looking excited or stressed while they play. These guys just look bored"

I think they're just into it? They have the same sort of focused middle stare as a lot of martial artists I've played with. Maybe it comes with being in what's essentially a small orchestra (to my untrained, non-musician eye)? Or maybe they're all high.
posted by boo_radley at 9:00 AM on April 15, 2011


Did I mention that this version of Tubular Bells by the Brooklyn Organ Synth Orchestra came out last month was done by cute women 20+ NYC musicians using vintage synths and other unusual keyboard instruments?

I think it's wonderful.
posted by notmtwain at 9:27 AM on April 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


And then there's this version, for those who like that kind of thing....
posted by hippybear at 9:35 AM on April 15, 2011


Count Basie Orchestra on triangle:

Ting!


Not to forget Adolph Hitler on vibes
posted by philip-random at 9:39 AM on April 15, 2011


And yeah! to that Brooklyn Organ Synth Orchestra version. Worth it's own FPP?
posted by philip-random at 9:40 AM on April 15, 2011


And introducing.. two slightly distorted guitars!

Thanks for the wonderful flashback - I listened to Tubular Bells non-stop in my adolescence in the 80s, thanks to my dad's music collection. I always adored the announcement of the different instruments, and how it starts off rather dispassionately, and builds up to such excitement. Such a treat to revisit!
posted by Neely O'Hara at 9:41 AM on April 15, 2011


As Neely O'Hara said - Thank you for this post! . . . slightly distorted guitars!
posted by nostrada at 9:49 AM on April 15, 2011


And the first suggestion from youtube is "Lady Gaga - Bad Romance" with 400 million views! Sigh
posted by nostrada at 9:53 AM on April 15, 2011


I think they're just into it? They have the same sort of focused middle stare as a lot of martial artists I've played with. Maybe it comes with being in what's essentially a small orchestra (to my untrained, non-musician eye)? Or maybe they're all high.

I think they are just into it and they're high. The two are not mutually exclusive, and this was the early 1970s when, I believe, it's accepted historical fact now that everybody who was cool was high pretty much all the time ... except Ian Anderson from Jethro Tull who was dropped into a vat of liquid DRUGS as a baby.
posted by philip-random at 9:54 AM on April 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ah, the good old 15/4 time signature... would this be an appropriate time to suggest we replace the overused word "awesome" with "tubular"?

Totally.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:34 AM on April 15, 2011


How'd they do the background visuals? (Obviously chroma) But, how'd they keep the first part static and then switch to a chroma on it?
posted by wcfields at 11:19 AM on April 15, 2011


I move that we strip the "rock" from prog rock. I mean, you just can't ROCK when you're sitting in a chair wearing a sweater. There are rules.
posted by TheCoug at 11:53 AM on April 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I move that we strip the "rock" from prog rock. I mean, you just can't ROCK when you're sitting in a chair wearing a sweater. There are rules.
posted by TheCoug


You're right. It's not rock and roll. I'll bet you noticed the absence of a drum kit too.

But it's really good music, so try listening to it instead of watching it.
posted by notmtwain at 12:21 PM on April 15, 2011


The bored look could be a result of having to endure however many takes were required to get a complex,30 minute long, piece of music and- it's filming - perfect.
posted by rongorongo at 1:20 PM on April 15, 2011


These guys just look bored...

It's called "relaxed concentration." It's how people used to perform complex real-time tasks before Ritalin was invented.

OK, more seriously: neither being "excited" or "stressed" is really optimal for music performance (especially the latter). Check out a good orchestral performance: the conductor will probably look excited because his role is visual, but the musicians will look a lot like these guys, only with less hair and more tuxedos.

Nothing wrong with putting on a show, I hasten to add, but it means dividing your attention, so the music will have to be simpler than it would otherwise be. (Nothing wrong with simplicity, either!)

As someone once said: "Music is never difficult. It is either easy or impossible."
posted by doubtfulpalace at 1:59 PM on April 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


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