The book “The making of Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells” by Richard Newman, originally published in 1993, has been rereleased as a softback by Storm Music & Images. It is a great read for any New Age music fan!
This book contains an important interview given to author, Richard Newman in 1993, by Mike Oldfield, Simon Heyworth and Tom Newman. It was the first time the three people that created “Tubular Bells’ got together in the same time frame, to talk to an independent journalist about the making of the album.
To inspire you to read the book, here’s the legendary 1973 BBC live performance of Tubular Bells:
“…everything I had lived, all adolescence, childhood, happiness, disappointment, laughter and tears, was all encapsulated in that piece of music.”
Mike Oldfield, speaking to Richard Newman
The book begins with a prologue, where Richard Newman sets the scene and describes the music industry of the time.
The interview is enlightening and intriguing. It tells of Tom Newman’s ingenuity. With the help and support of Simon Heyworth, they developed The Manor for Richard Branson as the first residential recording studio. The interview tells the truth behind the development of ‘Tubular Bells’. It was Tom and Simon that recognised Mike Oldfield’s genius and helped him complete the album, retaining the mythological essence of his sound. The interview illustrates the persistence and passion, the technical skill and the artistry. Richard Branson was not musical himself and was rarely present. It was Tom Newman who advised Richard Branson to create the Virgin record label. The first album released on the Virgin label was Tubular Bells. Richard Branson has acknowledged its importance many times for creating the cash flow to expand the Virgin empire.
“I had completely given up hope. I had taken these tapes around to the record companies who looked at me as if I was mad. They all said that because there were no vocals, no words, no drums or anything, it was not marketable”.
“I got nothing until the mid-‘80s. When Michael renegotiated his deal with Richard (Branson) and gave me 1% from then onwards, which gives me between six and eight grand a year, which I am very grateful. Thank you, Michael, very much.”
“Mike had some basic ideas; he had the riff at the front of side one and the ‘caveman’ idea. He had other bits of melody, but they weren’t properly connected, and he wasn’t sure which bits would follow which.”
The album ‘Tubular Bells’ has become much more famous than Mike Oldfield himself. This book is for the fans of the album. It has never been available in bookstores before now.
‘Tubular Bells’ is one of the most significant selling records of all time and has sold more than 20 million copies.
The book is beautifully produced using tactile, uncoated paper. It is illustrated with black and white photographs by Simon Heyworth, taken at the time of the recording and atmospheric landscape photographs, by Fran May to represent the mythological forces of nature and the emotional content perceived in the music.
You may purchase the book here.