Friday, July 8, 2011

Mike Oldfield: Tubular Bells (Excerpt)

Friday’s flipside comes from 1974 and was the “B” to the more popular “A” side of “Tubular Bells (Now the Original Theme from 'The Exorcist').” While the B side is also named "Tubular Bells (Excerpt)," it is an edit of third movement from the album’s side one. The album’s opening was used for the theme of the Exorcist and was edited by Atlantic Records in the US for the single release.

This edit as well as the whittling down the eight minute segment into the 4:39 single were apparently not approved by Oldfield and the single release for the UK was based on another movement from the album and has more of a traditional flair. Without the association with The Exorcist and the single edit, Oldfield would have largely been unknown in the US.

Although Oldfield was not pleased by the lack of musical control on this side of the Atlantic, the royalties generated by the single charting at #7 and the album at #3 should make up for any lack of artistic control. You may not remember “Tubular Bells (Excerpt),” but it did get some airplay. I remember WAMX in Ashland, KY playing this flip as well as the entire LP on occasion.

The master of ceremonies that introduces the variety of instruments is the late Vivian Stanshall of the Bonzo Dog Band. This post originally had the single edit; however, this has been taken down. We have replaced it with the longer album cut. 

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