#4 Tubular Bells/On Horseback* – Mike Oldfield


There aren’t many people who would choose to play the theme music for The Exorcist to their children, but my dad did. Long car journeys were always made interesting by Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells. We’d all take it in turns to air play the different instruments, especially at the end when all the instruments are listed by Viv Stanshall ‘Grand piano; reed and pipe organ; glockenspiel; bass guitar; double speed guitar; two slightly distorted guitars; mandolin; Spanish guitar, and introducing acoustic guitar,’ before reaching a crescendo and announcing ‘At last! Tubular bells!’ where we’d all bash the air in front of us with our fists. I had no idea the music was associated with spinning-headed demonized girls until I was into my twenties and now it’s too late.

It was my first encounter with prog rock and although I’m not really a big fan, I do have a soft spot for Mike Oldfield which was enough to make me go out and buy Ommadawn when I was a student and play ‘On Horseback’ the final ‘hidden’ track on that album over and over. Perhaps because it’s more random folk than prog rock. Still it’s a sweet tune and the first two lines I can sing with wholehearted conviction.
ommadawnI like beer, and I like cheese
I like the smell of a westerly breeze
But what I like more than all of these
Is to be on horseback.
Hey and away we go
Through the grass, across the snow
Big brown beastie, big brown face
I’d rather be with you than flying through space.

*I know this constitutes two tracks but they’re in one category in my head


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