After last week’s trip down memory lane with an electronic classic, I couldn’t ignore this track / album. Known by many as the theme from The Exorcist, this is a vast, soaring piece of work. It’s remarkable for many reasons, not least of which are that this was Mike Oldfield’s first album, he was a teenager when he originally recorded it, and he played every instrument himself. That’s just exceptional, in my opinion.
Where’s best to listen to this though? I used to have a B&O stereo in my car, and cranking the volume up – particularly with the bass guitar but especially with the church organ – was such a spine tingling time it made sitting in traffic a real pleasure! Perhaps best of all is to lie down in a darkened room and just let the sound wash over you.
I’ve found it to be quite an emotional piece at times, especially when I’ve made a point of doing nothing other than just listening to and losing myself in the music.
Tubular Bells – Mike Oldfield
This track takes back to my school days. I recall the occasions when a TV set would be rolled in to the classroom and we’d sit and watch some programme or other from the Open University or specifically for schools. It would be on the (relatively) new channel of BBC2 – in those days we only had 3 channels in the UK. For some reason this track was often played as a sort of “hold” music while we waited for the programme to begin, this being long before video recorders.
In the past I’ve owned the whole album, but I think this is the best track from it.
Oxygene 4 – Jean Michel Jarre
Towards the end of the punk era there were some fairly bleak films made, like Jubilee. They were gradually replaced – as the music was – by more futuristic, technology driven films and sounds. This track is taken from the film Breaking Glass, which starred Hazel O’Connor. She also sang a large portion of the soundtrack, which in my opinion blends some of the punk ideals with the new (for those days) electronic music.
Hazel O’Connor didn’t have the same commercial success as, say, Toyah, but this track stands the test of time well I think,
Eighth Day – Hazel O’Connor
This is a bit of a classic from the 80s. With its distinctive riff and incredible vocals, it’s instantly recognisable. For me, Steve Harris doesn’t get as much recognition as he deserves as a song writer but also as a musician. His bass lines are brilliant, fluid and galloping. For someone who plays finger style, it’s unusual to use three fingers rather than two. That’s the secret to his sound, and I can’t recreate it as my ring finger won’t work independently!
I wasn’t really a metal fan when growing up, but I used to love this track, and still do. It’s great that the plight of Native Americans was being raised to the general public even in the UK back then. I think more can be done, but recognising that Westerners stole land and resources that wasn’t theirs is a good start.
Iron Maiden – Run to the Hills
There’s been a lot written recently to raise awareness of mental health issues. Earlier this year I posted a couple of these TBT articles because rock stars had taken their own lives due to poor mental health, and I thought I’d include this track featuring Ian Curtis, the late singer of Joy Divison, who committed suicide at the age of 23. After he died, the band carried on with new members and a new name – New Order.
This song came to my attention a few years back when SLF covered it at a gig as one of their encores. I enjoyed it so much I rushed home to listen to this original, and loved it. Any time I hear this song, and Joy Division in general, I think about Ian Curtis, gone too soon.
Joy Division – Transmission
I’ve mentioned before that I often listen to podcasts when travelling, and this track has been used on one of my favourite series for a few months now. The series is called The Social Engineer Podcast and never ceases to be fascinating. They have some really interesting guests talking about a range of aspects around social engineering and psychology, and a while back even had the lead singer of this band on. Oddly enough, there were connections to be made between singing to a crowd and social engineering, and it was an engaging talk. Check out the podcasts, recommended reading and more here.
The band are called Clutch, and from what I can tell have been going for quite a few years. I like the fact that this sounds like it’s quite laid back till you actually listen to the lyrics. Maybe it’s because the riff is repeated so often, but I’ve found it very catchy and draws you in. I hope you like it!
Son of Virginia – Clutch
Try finding this on Spotify or iTunes and I doubt you’ll be able to get the original. But for some reason it’s all over YouTube, which is just as well for us!
As a regular ice cream eater, I thought it would be fun to include a song that has “ice cream van” in the lyrics in my TBT series. The song itself is relatively simple, but has a great riff, and Tammy Wynette’s voice goes perfectly with it. Chill out and enjoy the Kings of the Low Frequency – KLF – who also appeared as The Timelords singing Doctorin the Tardis…
Justified and Ancient – KLF