“Tubular Bells” is an album I want to be buried with

I’m not really sure where I was the first time I heard Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells.  Maybe it was on the radio in a heavily edited 45 RPM version, where it was touted as the theme from The Exorcist.

Or maybe it was in college, when I was a disc jockey for WHCL (88.7 fm), when someone thought it would be a funny idea to play both sides of Tubular Bells as a way to keep the music uninterrupted while they were busy writing a term paper.

Doesn’t matter. I purchased my first copy of Tubular Bells in 1983.  It was a vinyl copy from the local Camelot Music store at Sangertown Square in New Hartford.  Or, as I used to refer to that mall, “Sangerswamp,” in that it was built on swampland and has been sinking into the ground ever since.  But I digress…

There’s never really been an “official” music video for Tubular Bells, although the British music show Old Grey Whistle Test did attempt to solder some stock footage of a cross-country ski trip to the song. Okay, it’s not the same thing as watching The Wizard of Oz with Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon in the background, but you get the idea…

How popular was this record? From what I understand, it stayed on top of the British album charts for an entire year. If you found five random UK residents, chances are that at least one of them had a copy of Tubular Bells in their collection.

Eventually I replaced the LP version with a CD pressing, and after I lost the CD for some unknown reason, I re-acquired Tubular Bells on iTunes.  In later years, I’ve used this album to drive away another type of demon – telemarketers.

As for Mike Oldfield himself, he eventually had other major UK hits, with songs like “Moonlight Shadow” (w/ Maggie Reilly on vocals)…

He also had a Top 10 UK hit with the song “Family Man,” which was covered in the United States by Daryl Hall and John Oates.

I should note that Mike Oldfield eventually returned to the album that launched his career, as he re-interpreted the themes from Tubular Bells in 1992; and then again in 1998 and in 1999.  By 2003, he re-recorded the entire 1973 production with new instrumentation.

But I want to go back to 1973. This album was a cornerstone of new age and art-rock music; it contained sonic innovation, whimsy and awesome melodic excursions.

And just think about this for a second.  Virgin Records, the label that eventually formed an airline, a cell phone company, and a brand of cola… got its start due to the massive sales of this LP 40 years ago.

And as far as I’m concerned, I’m adding it to the afterlife playlist.  Besides, if on some chance occurrence I do run into the Devil himself… I could play this music and it could cause old Satan’s head to start spinning.

I mean… it worked for Linda Blair, right?