Mike Oldfield

Tubular Bells, Pt. 1

Composed by Mike Oldfield

Song Review by

The stellar success of Mike Oldfield's instrumental debut album, Tubular Bells, rested on many factors, but few were so pertinent as the music's abduction for use in the opening credits of the hit movie The Exorcist.

For listeners familiar with the full album, the movie offers a disconcerting listen, a mini-medley that opens with a brusque edit of the opening passage swings briefly into the so-evocative spectral merry-go-round sequence and then dives in and out of the distorted guitar and bass sections before returning to the opening theme. Thus is the entire 40-minute experience condensed down to a little over three, but any sacrifice of tension and artistry was surely vindicated as a single of the edit, not unnaturally entitled "Tubular Bells (Now the Original Theme From The Exorcist)," soared into the American Top Ten.

Oldfield himself never saw the movie itself. "I was much too frightened to go and see it," he admitted. "Judging from what I've read in the papers, I don't wanna know. The thing nobody realizes," he continued, "is that I knew absolutely nothing at all about this." It transpired that although he was aware that an American film company wanted to excerpt Tubular Bells for a soundtrack, Oldfield himself was not even consulted before his music was grafted onto what became widely regarded as among the most horrific horror films ever made. And, while he was swift to add, "...not that I minded," one got the impression that, deep down, he did.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Tubular Bells 1973 Island/Def Jam 26:01
Exposed 1979 Virgin EMI
No Image 1980 Virgin
No Image 1987
Various Artists
Rhythm Safari
Elements: Mike Oldfield 1973-1991 1993 Virgin 25:28
No Image 1996
Various Artists
Asian 4:18
Pure Moods 1997
Various Artists
Virgin 4:59
Moods Box Set 1999
Various Artists
Virgin 4:59
The Best of Tubular Bells 2001 Virgin / EMI Music Distribution 8:29
Pure Chillout 2002
Various Artists
Virgin 4:43
The Best Prog Rock Album in the World...Ever 2003
Various Artists
Virgin 4:59
Exposed [DVD] 2005 EMI/Virgin Records
Live at Montreux 1981 [DVD] 2006 Eagle Vision
Relaxing Songs [EMI] 2006
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 4:41
Mike Oldfield: The Collection 2009 Universal 26:01
Classic Album Selection (Six Albums 1973-1980) 2012 Mercury 25:58
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