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on 6 October 2014
'Tubular Bells' (released in 1973) marked both the launch of Mike Oldfield's highly successful solo career and the fledgling Virgin record label of entrepreneur Richard Branson - a happy coincidence indeed! Essentially, this album combines elements of progressive rock (the dreamy qualities of Pink Floyd on Part 2 are particularly noticeable) with classical music sensibilities - at times, things feel too understated and repetitive, but, this device allows Oldfield to hit us with explosive bursts of power just when we least expect it. Quite simply, 'Tubular Bells' is an impressive debut from a superb composer and multi-instrumentalist; for me, only the scintillating 'Ommadawn' (1975) surpasses it in terms of sheer brilliance.
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on 10 March 2017
A familiar sound from the past, and very please to be able to hear it without hisses or crackles again!
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on 10 March 2004
I just received my long-awaited copy of Tubular Bells 2003 from Amazon.co.uk.
I listened to it last night all the way through. Incidentally, I have never listened to the original 1970s Tubular Bells in my life, so I have nothing to compare it to. (In fact, the only Mike Oldfield I ever heard before was the 80's single "Moonlight Shadow"!)
But as a standalone album, and not knowing what to expect, I must say I was blown away by TB 2003. This Mike Oldfield chap is a musical genius! As for the 24-bit recording, it's simply superb and puts most other multi-channel works to shame.
It embodies clarity, warmth, detail, and it sounds very clean and crisp. In fact, everything I could want in a new recording.
I also think the immersive dynamic surround effects are great, and are a nice creative change to the many "ambience" mixes -- although I think there is a time and a place for both. In this case, as TB2003 is a 'concept' album, and I think Mike's approach fits brilliantly. In short, this disc will definitely feature among my 5.1 'demo' line-up of DVD-Audio titles.
So, if you haven't yet got yourself a proper DVD-Audio player and 5.1 multi-channel setup, then this album is good enough reason to do so.
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on 30 May 2017
Tubular Bells 2003....Yes, I remember this one being released and as a big fan of Mike's music I was unsure as to why he made this one.
It took me 14 years to buy it...I bought it the other month from Amazon (great service as usual!) out of curiosity and have listened to it a few times...and as a body of music it's good...really good, the production is spotless and all the original tunes & themes are still there.
On the whole, it's a nice album to listen to...Mike Oldfield is a craftsman with music and a perfectionist to boot.
But...I still feel uneasy about a re-recording of an album which is so sublime...it didn't need to be done.
Yes, maybe he felt rushed when he finally recorded the definitive album in 1973, perhaps there were things he would have done differently back then, perhaps he wanted to make Tubular Bells again with more time on his hands, with better technology, without the hisses and crackles of the original...we would all do things differently if we could do them again.
But, perhaps he should have kept this for himself...for his own collection and his own listening room.
Mike, I love your music (though some of the 80's albums are a bit iffy) and I think you have an amazing imagination when it comes to writing, playing and recording music.....what you recorded in 1973 was nothing short of genius, an album full of emotion, of angst and of beauty...you opened up your soul in Tubular Bells and proved to the world that you were more than just the bass guitarist from Kevin Ayers And The Whole World, you were...and are a brilliant multi-instrumentalist.
We love the fact that the original Tubular Bells has hisses and crackles, and may not be perfect in your eyes or ears, but it is a thing of beauty....and that's why we love it so much.
Without contradicting myself (hopefully) I can listen to Tubular Bells 2003 for what it is...and enjoy it...there are some nice touches including John Cleese taking over Viv Stanshall's role as MC in the finale of side 1, and keeping Sailors Hornpipe in to finish side 2.
Dividing up the various sections and giving them their own names maybe was what the record company wanted, but you should have just kept it to the '2 sides' of music as per the original...and like you've just done with Return To Ommadawn.
If you like Mike Oldfield like I do, then do buy this album and enjoy it.....but don't compare it to the original, that one stands alone!
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on 12 February 2017
Mike Oldfield's debut album 'Tubular Bells' definitely has a lot to live up to. It put Mr. Oldfield on the map. It made Richard Branson's Virgin Records a household name. It was featured in The Exorcist, one of the most famous horror films of all time. It spent approximately forever in the charts, and a good portion of that forever was the number one spot. It's right up there as one of the most famous, iconic and recognizable albums of all time.

With all that hype behind it, I felt a little underwhelmed when I heard it for the first time (probably around 35 years after its release). I felt the production hadn't aged well, and the compositions just weren't exciting enough to pique my interest.

Don't worry, it grew on me.

Of course, this isn't the sort of record you put on and memorize after one listen. It takes a bit of time and perseverance to get into, but once you do, there's some pretty good stuff to be heard. At times the music is very random and creative, at others it's simple and elegant. It's just a whole new musical experience, and a great starting point for progressive, world or new age music (although, wouldn't it now be... "old age"?).

That's not to say that this is the best album I've ever heard, because it is nowhere near. Nor would I consider it Mike Oldfield's finest work. But I can understand its cultural significance. It’s just one of those iconic albums that everyone should own. Michael Jackson's 'Thriller'. Pink Floyd's 'The Wall'. The Beatles' 'Sgt. Pepper...'. Mike Oldfield's 'Tubular Bells'. It's up there in that handful of elite releases that no music collection in the world should be without.

Oh yeah, and Oldfield wrote and recorded the whole damn thing by himself, at just 19 years of age. Bloody 'ell. .
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on 18 July 2017
I accidentally ordered this vinyl, thinking it was TB3. So now I have four of them... but I'm not sending it back - the original 70s and 80s vinyl pressings sound far better than the brand-new, digitally-sourced vinyls that are flooding the market.

If you have a decent* turntable with a good amp and speakers, you'll appreciate the superior quality of the older vinyls, provided they are in good nick. Normally, if it doesn't say "Analogue Remastered" or some such, then it's a digital master, and not worth the extra money, as was the case with TB3, which I did get in the end.

*If it has a USB port, plastic tone arm or plastic platter, it doesn't qualify
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on 19 January 2014
This is so disappointing, I'm gutted. Why do "remakes" have to be done?

The original was perfect, all I wanted was the same, exactly, on CD, this version fails totally.

This remake is very irritating, the wonderful subtleties of the original are gone, lost, the intricate guitar work is no more. Sounds like a cheap copy by not so talented musicians. I can't believe Mike Oldfield would ruin his original in this way.

Such a waste of money; the case was smashed, the CD is scratched, it took weeks to arrive, and it is not worth listening to.

If you value the amazing sounds of the original 1973 LP, DO NOT BUY THIS CD, you will be sorely disappointed.

One star is too good for it.
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on 17 October 2013
If you want to listen to Tubular Bells in it's brilliant original form then please do not buy this!
Oldfield has added so much dreadful nonesense to this it totally detracts from the wonderful original version and when Basil Fawlty a.k.a. John Cleese takes Viv Stanshall's place in announcing the instruments, then I couldn't turn it off quickly enough!
This version is such a disappointment.
Thank you Amazon for refunding my money for this.
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on 5 June 2003
This is an interesting 'remix', which is worth a listen as the music, although fairly similar to the original is played differently enough for it to be fresh. However im not sure that it lives up to the original. I thought that it might have been a jazzed up and more powerful version of tubular bells but instead it is more subtle and probably musically more complex. I think I would choose the live performance or the Tubular Bells II DVD over this. The instruments seem to blend together a little too much and the guitars are present throughout but dont seem to stand out as much as in the original. Despite this it is still tubular bells and the introduction is particularly very good.
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on 19 April 2008
Alone amongst the arts, music has the ability to reach inside our weather beaten shells, grab our soul by the scruff of the neck and beat us to death in a darkened room. This album does just that. Stick it in the CD player, turn off the lights and be transported.

From the quiet, mesmerising start to the glorious finish Oldfield weaves in all sorts of themes and rythmns, whirling them around in sublimely a co-ordinated composition. The whole thing last over 45 mins and you never once get bored. The fact that he was only 19 and yet managed to play dozens of instruments from the guitar to the percussion, without it being really dreadful, speaks volumes.

Sure it was created in a hurry by people who didn't know what they were doing. But they sure learned fast. Yes, it has odd, sometimes crazed bits, but no the Sailor's Hornpipe is not just 'tacked on'. Oldfield had a party trick in his folk days - playing the Hornpipe faster and faster - and it is brilliant, it ends the album on a high.

Incidently, why this man has been not being knighted escapes me, especially when you think of some of the muppets from the music world that get gongs. But then politicians don't have souls so will not appreciate this delight!

Buy it. Buy it now , don't be a politician - feed your soul!
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