Tubular Bells III

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Tubular Bells III
Mike oldfield tubular bells iii album cover.jpg
Studio album by
Released31 August 1998 (1998-08-31)
RecordedIbiza (December 1996 – March 1998)
London (April 1998 – June 1998)
GenreNew-age,[1] progressive rock, electronic, chill out
LabelWarner Music UK
ProducerMike Oldfield
Mike Oldfield chronology
Tubular Bells III
Tubular Bells series chronology
Tubular Bells II
Tubular Bells III
The Millennium Bell
Singles from Tubular Bells III
  1. "Man in the Rain"
    Released: 5 October 1998
  2. "Far Above the Clouds"
    Released: 12 April 1999

Tubular Bells III is the 18th album by Mike Oldfield, released in 1998 by Warner Music UK. A sequel to Oldfield's 1973 Tubular Bells and his 1992 Tubular Bells II albums, it was released on the 25th anniversary of the first Tubular Bells album.

Oldfield created the album while living in Ibiza, and has said the inspiration for some of its electronic elements came from the styles of music played at the island's bars and clubs.[2]

Unlike Tubular Bells II, Tubular Bells III does not follow the pattern of the two pieces from the original, but instead references some of the music from that album.[3] For example, "The Source of Secrets" references the "Introduction" section of the original album,[4] and "Far Above the Clouds" references the "Finale" section of "Tubular Bells (Part One)".[2]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks by Mike Oldfield.

  1. "The Source of Secrets" – 5:35
  2. "The Watchful Eye" – 2:09
  3. "Jewel in the Crown" – 5:45
  4. "Outcast" – 3:49
  5. "Serpent Dream" – 2:53
  6. "The Inner Child" – 4:41
  7. "Man in the Rain" – 4:03
  8. "The Top of the Morning" – 4:26
  9. "Moonwatch" – 4:25
  10. "Secrets" – 3:20
  11. "Far Above the Clouds" – 5:30

Early versions[edit]

Oldfield has stated that he initially recorded over 70 minutes of music for Tubular Bells III but trimmed it down to the current 46 minutes and 38 seconds. An early version of "Man in the Rain" was written shortly after 1983's "Moonlight Shadow", and is similar in style to the song.[5] An early version of "The Source of Secrets" appears on the compilation Mike Oldfield XXV.

Live performances[edit]

On 4 September 1998, six years to the day after the premiere of Tubular Bells II at Edinburgh Castle, Oldfield held a premiere concert for Tubular Bells III at Horse Guards Parade in London in front of around 7000 people.[6] The live version of the complete album from the premiere concert is available on the double DVD Tubular Bells II/Tubular Bells III.

The Live Then & Now 1999 tour was in promotion of this album and his following album, Guitars.

On 27 July 2012 at the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony Mike Oldfield performed renditions of Tubular Bells, "Far Above the Clouds" and "In Dulci Jubilo" during a segment about the NHS. This track was later released on the Isles of Wonder album and as a limited edition blue/pink vinyl single.


The album artwork is Oldfield's trademark bent tubular bell shape in silver, based upon the original 1973 Tubular Bells album cover, set upon a grey background. The artwork itself does not contain any text and typically a sticker with Oldfield's name and the album title are placed on the outer packaging.

Critical reaction[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic3/5 stars[1]
Q4/5 stars[7]

Tubular Bells III is the least successful of the three main Tubular Bells albums, only attaining No. 4 on the UK chart, unlike its two chart topping predecessors. Critical reaction was mixed. The very distinct similarity of "Man in the Rain" to the hit "Moonlight Shadow" was sometimes interpreted by listeners as Oldfield trying to retread old ground.

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1998) Position
UK Albums Chart 4


The tracks "The Source of Secrets", "Jewel in the Crown", and "Secrets" feature Amar as a vocalist. Oldfield can be heard on "Outcast". "The Inner Child" features Luar Na Lubre vocalist Rosa Cedrón and "Man in the Rain" was sung by Irish folk singer Cara Dillon, credited as "Cara from Polar Star" (which was a short-lived name for a project she was involved in at the time), with additional vocals by Heather Burnett. "Far Above the Clouds" features Clodagh Simonds performing the main vocals while the child's vocals are performed by Francesca Robertson.


Some of the instruments which appear on the album are a Roland D-550, JD-990, JV1080, Clavia Nord Lead, and Korg Trinity synthesisers. The Roland VG8 Guitar synthesiser is used on tracks such as "Man in the Rain".

Oldfield also used sampled drums from his Crises and Ommadawn album on certain tracks. "Man in the Rain" features sampled drums from "Moonlight Shadow", "Outcast" features sampled drums from "Shadow on the Wall" and "Far Above the Clouds" features sampled drums from the end of "Ommadawn part 1". "Far Above the Clouds" also features a sampled guitar rhythm from the "Finale" section of "Tubular Bells (Part 1)", though in this instance it is fairly low in the mix and at a much faster tempo.


Tubular Bells III, along with Tubular Bells II and The Songs of Distant Earth, was reissued on 180g vinyl on 27 April 2015. This follows the recent releases of Tubular Bells, Hergest Ridge, QE2, Five Miles Out and Crises on the same format.


  1. ^ a b Tubular Bells III at AllMusic
  2. ^ a b "Mike Oldfield - "Music doesn't mean anything if it has no soul, no heart."". Carlos Finaly. August 1998. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  3. ^ "The Bells Toll". Dagsavisen. 9 September 1998. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  4. ^ "I know I'm unstable. I accept that". The Daily Telegraph. 31 August 1998. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  5. ^ "The Bag of Secrets". Amadian.net. Retrieved 2010-12-11.
  6. ^ "Oldfield to Turn Heads Again". CNN. 10 July 1998. Retrieved 21 September 2013.
  7. ^ Rib Beattie (October 1998). "He Only Sells Records When He Calls Them Tubular Bells". Q. Retrieved 21 September 2013.

External links[edit]