TV Cream


‘Tubular Bells’ by Mike Oldfield

EXORCIST-UNDERPINNING ‘symphonic rock’ side-length shenanigans courtesy of a one-man-free-festival assortment of instruments, as dryly detailed by narrator Viv Stanshall, to the undoubted consternation of many a ‘head’ who had lulled themselves into a mellowed-out sense of false security before the spoken interlude commenced. Chart-topping knocking-himself-off-the-top-spot feat of endurance, assisted by a John Peel-instigated round of panic-buying, established Virgin Records as a viable financial concern, meaning that all of that studio tomfoolery with slightly varispeeded guitars was in a roundabout way responsible for The Sex Pistols, elusive cola drinks, globetrotting hot air balloon ridiculousness and that bloke who was harrassed by British Airways for being a ‘Virgin stooge’. Reviled for many years as the ultimate totem of hippy self-indulgence, not helped by its near-inescapability in the charity shop racks, but the inclusion of flashes of humour and dangerous hints of melody, not to mention Oldfield’s publicity-suspicious DIY-ethic proto-punk credentials, have more recently assured its elevation to the status of The Prog Rock It’s OK To Like. Not least if you’re listening to Radcliffe and Maconie on any random day.



  1. Applemask

    September 23, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    Also featuring: Piltdown Man.

  2. Ste

    September 28, 2009 at 6:47 am

    Or Tubular Socks… Can anyone remember which show spoofed the album cover?

  3. Nick H

    October 28, 2009 at 11:58 pm

    Sex Pistols not The Sex Pistols…

    If it’s proto-punk Oldfield you’re looking for, listen to him on a track called ‘Lunatic’s Lament’ on the superb Kevin Ayers (and the Whole World) album “Shooting at the Moon” – absolutely demented…

  4. TV Cream

    October 29, 2009 at 9:22 am

    There’s an Oldfield-related reason why it says ‘The Sex Pistols’, cheers!

    – Cream Pop

  5. Glenn A

    October 29, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    Also helped his sister to have a moderately successful career, anyone recall the twee Mirrors single from 1978?

  6. Richard Davies

    August 12, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    For the 25th anniversary Q had a very good feature on the making of TB.

    Originally Mike had problems syncing things up, being long before sequencers were available.

    The Piltdown Man voice was provided by Mike after downing a large amount of whiskey.

    There was also an orchestral version, & the quad mix is supposed to be very different.

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