Posted in 1970's Albums

Tubular Bells – Mike Oldfield (1973)

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Virgin Records V2001

This is probably the album that got me really interested in music. I know it was a Christmas present because I remember pestering my Mother for it. This isn’t a pressing from its release date in 1973, but I’d say its no later than 1975. After school I attended a couple of the clubs the teachers ran for something to do. Drama was one, and I ended up in a couple of school plays. Another night we were introduced to records. This album had me right from the beginning. It was so different from all the types of music in the singles charts at the time, and I also felt I was learning about instruments from it. It was later on that I discovered what an icon of a record it actually is.

Mike Oldfield was born in Reading, Berkshire, England in 1953. This is his debut album which was recorded when he was 19. It was issued on the brand new “Virgin Records” label launched by Richard Branson.

Pentax Digital Camera
Side One

Side One opens with a piano section which was featured in the motion picture “The Exorcist”. The music becomes more edgy with electric guitars, organ and then moves to a variation theme. Towards the end of the first side, a master of ceremonies, Viv Stansall, starts to read off the list of instruments. A choral section ends the movement. This includes vocals by Mike Oldfield’s sister Sally Oldfield and Mundy Ellis. I have made a video featuring the ending of side one.

Instruments included are: Grand Piano, Glokenspiel, Farfisa Organ, Bass, Speed, Fuzz, Acoustic and Electric Guitars, Taped motor drive amplifier organ chord, Mandolin, Assorted percussion, Flageolet, Honky Tonk, Lowrey Organ and Tubular Bells.

Pentax Digital Camera
Side Two

Side Two carries on from side 1, during the middle it becomes more rock and edgy, then bagpipe sounds enter. The piece then builds and moves into unusual sounds described as Piltdown Man section. It then moves in to a quieter section. The album ends where the composition merges into “Sailor’s Hornpipe” (Trad.) and begins with a mandolin playing at a moderately slow tempo, but quickly mutates into a gradually accented piece with multiple instruments ending with two loud, accented notes.

Instruments included are: Electric, Bass, Acoustic, Speed and Spanish Guitars, Farfisa, Hammond and Lowrey Organs, Piano, Concert Tympani, Guitar sounding like bagpipes, and chorus featuring Sally Oldfield and Mundy Ellis.

On the back sleeve is the following statement “This stereo record cannot be played on old tin boxes no matter what they are fitted with. If you are in possession of such equipment, please hand it into the nearest Police station.”

This album is said to have sold between 15 and 17 million, 2.65 million of these in the UK, 700,000 in Australia, and 500,000 in the US. Tubular Bells topped the charts in both the UK and Australia and made #2 in The Netherlands. In the UK Tubular Bells has charted for an incredible 278 weeks.

Posted in 1980's Singles

Turn Back The Clock – Johnny Hates Jazz (1987)

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              Virgin Records VS 1017

Johnny Hates Jazz were an English pop band, formed in London in 1985 by Clark Datchler (vocals, keyboards, guitar), Mike Nocito (bass, guitar), and Calvin Hayes (keyboards, drums). In their short chart career they were producing good solid pop music with tracks like “Shattered Dreams” and “I don’t want to be a hero” which both achieved international status.

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Picture sleeve for single

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I believe it doesn’t matter if the days back in the 80’s were better or not, I’d actually like to go back for just one day. I’d tell my young self you’re going to turn out fine. Wouldn’t it have been great to know then, what I know in life now? The opening lyrics of this track, sums everything up for me.

“Another day is ended and I still can’t sleep, remembering my yesterdays, I begin to weep, if I could have it over, live my life again, I wouldn’t change a single day. I wish I could turn back the clock, bring the wheels of time to stop, back to the days, when life was so much better”

Brit winning female vocalist Kim Wilde did backing vocals on the song. “Turn Back The Clock “, was released towards the end of 1987 and reached #12 and charted in the UK for 11 weeks. They also found success in Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium and New Zealand.