An act of self-indulgent folly or the ultimate instrumental piece for the musical connoisseur? In truth, Mike Oldfield's original album, released firstly in 1973, falls somewhere between the two camps. What cannot be denied is that Tubular Bells is a landmark, both for Richard Branson's Virgin records and for introducing the philosophy that not all instrumental albums were easy listening and, well, dull, quite frankly. At the time of its release Oldfield was a mere 19 years old at the time of this creation and yet he could turn his hand to playing guitar, organ, piano and percussion with great, original flair and melody. Divided into two parts ('Part One' and 'Two') each offers excellent moments a-plenty; Oldfield's guitar work on the first half of Part Two being particularly admirable (although the horribly-voiced part in the second half, presumably Piltdown Man, is rather embarrassing). The first part is perhaps most memorable for the end segment where Viv Stanshall introduces each instrument in turn as Oldfield adds layer upon layer of sounds. In many ways, 1992's Tubular Bells II improved on its predecessor but this is where the influence began.