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Discography > Tubular Bells III


Tubular Bells III

Released: August 28, 1998

Recorded: Ibiza, Roughwood Croft

Tubular Bells III cover

I. The Source Of Secrets (5:34)
II. The Watchful Eye
III. Jewell In The Crown
IV. Outcast
V. Serpent Dream
VI. The Inner Child
VII. Man In The Rain
VIII. The Top Of The Morning
IX. Moonwatch
X. Secrets
XI. Far Above The Clouds

Produced and engineered by Mike Oldfield
Assistant engineer: Silvia Müller
Executive producer: Rob Dickins

Recorded at Ibiza Studio: December '96 - March '98
London Studio: April '98 - June '98

"MAN IN THE RAIN" features Cara from Polar Star
"MAN IN THE RAIN" additional vocals: Heather Burnett
"THE INNER CHILD" features Rosa Cedrón (Luar Na Lubre)
"FAR ABOVE THE CLOUDS" features Clodagh Simonds & Francesca Robertson

Special thanks to the island and people of Ibiza, Miriam Felber, Sally Oldfield, Miguel Garcia and Jeremy Parker

Terrible, wonderful, crazy, perfect
Mike Oldfield 1998

Cover by Bill Smith Studio


In the time before the recording of Tubular Bells III, Mike moved to the island of Ibiza. He designed his home there himself, using 3D computer modeling so he was able to get an idea of what the house was like before it was built. Mike picked Ibiza because he felt it was somewhere peaceful to retreat to, but he soon discovered that the island also happened to be the party capital of Europe during the summer, with millions of young clubbers filling the island's beaches and nightclubs during the hot months. It wasn't long before Mike was attracted into this scene and began experimenting with dance music. Mike had been playing around with the piano theme from Tubular Bells for a while, seeking to create a new version (perhaps partly with the original album's 25th anniversary in mind). The new sounds which Mike heard in the clubs were the inspiration he'd been seeking for a while, and he began work on techno-inspired variations on the Tubular Bells theme, which he then encouraged DJs to play, in order to see what the reaction from clubbers would be. When dancers didn't leave the dance floor, Mike judged the music to have been successful, and in time he had created an entire album length piece of dance music based on Tubular Bells. Mike felt, however, that this didn't work. He wanted the album to reflect on life in Ibiza, and so set about composing pieces for the album which reflected the different moods he felt while living there.

The melody of the 'wind' tune found in, amongst other places, 'The Watchful Eye', was written by Mike while sitting inside a giant terracotta olive oil container in the garden of his Ibiza home. Mike found that humming certain notes would make the pot resonate. Mike arranged these notes into a melody, then played it using samples of himself making wind noises inside the container.

As well as elements relating to Ibiza, Tubular Bells III contains elements which relate back to parts of his life and career. The song 'Man in the Rain', for example, is one originally written during the 80s about a split with his family. The drums on the song were sampled from his 1983 hit 'Moonlight Shadow' (from Crises). More sampled drums can be found on 'Outcast', which come from 'Shadow on the Wall' (also from Crises), while African drums sampled from 'Ommadawn' (part 1) can be heard on 'Far Above the Clouds'.

© Richard Carter 2001


Silvia Müller (assistant engineer)

Amar (musician)

Also appears in: Tres Lunas

Heather Burnett (musician)

Cara Dillon (musician)

'Cara from Polar Star' is the Irish folk singer Cara Dillon.

Francesca Robertson (musician)

Goddaughter of executive producer Rob Dickins. The whole idea of using a child's voice 'as an instrument' in 'Far Above the Clouds' was suggested by Rob, who evidently then volunteered Francesca for the job.

Clodagh Simmonds (musician)

Had previously been a member of Irish progressive folk band 'Mellow Candle' as well as having played Harpsicord and Mellotron on the song 'Sarah' on Thin Lizzy's 'Shades of a blue orphanage' in 1972. The group's drummer was Mike's friend William Murray. She also sang with the group Jade Warrior, alongside Jon Field (flute on Tubular Bells).

Also appears in: Hergest Ridge, Ommadawn, Amarok

Bill Smith (cover artwork)

Also appears in: Tubular Bells II, Voyager, Guitars, Tres Lunas


Electric guitars
1961 Fender Stratocaster, fiesta red Mike once said in an interview (The Raft) that this was his favourite guitar and that he'd never sell it. However, he finally decided to part company with it in December 2007 and sold it through Chandler guitars, fetching £30,000.
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PRS Custom 24 Modified by Chandler Guitars and Richard Barrie to include a built-in Roland synth pickup. Sold by Chandler Guitars to an English fan in February 2006.
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PRS Signature A particularly high grade, limited edition, version of the Custom 24. In Vintage Yellow.
Photo Photo Photo
Steel-string acoustic guitars
Martin D-28-12 Serial number 335787. Sold to a German fan through Chandler Guitars in December 2007.
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[?] Most likely the 12 string acoustic guitar used for the rhythm parts on Man in the Rain.
Bass guitars
Wal Custom bass Sold to a German fan via Chandler Guitars in February 2006.
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Guitar effects
Roland VG-8 Guitar modelling processor, able to model the sounds of different guitars and other instruments. It uses a GK-series synth pickup to provide the unit with an uncoloured signal, but the VG-8 is not technically a synthesiser as it purely remodels the signal from the pickup. One was sold via ebay in December 2007, but he lists one as having been used on Tubular Bells 2003, so presumably he had a spare!
Photo Photo
Clavia Nord Lead
Korg Trinity
Roland JD-990 Rackmountable module version of the JD-800, with slightly enhanced synthesis engine, but missing its numerous sliders! [?]
Roland JV-1080 Digital synth module.
Roland XP-50 Digital synthesiser workstation. [?]
Coastal Acoustics Boxer T4
Tape recorders
Sony PCM-3348 48 track digital multitrack tape recorder, recording to Ampex 467 1/2" oxide tape.
Mixing desks
AMS Neve Capricorn 33238 Digital mixing desk.



Mike Oldfield - "Music doesn't mean anything if it has no soul, no heart." (1998)

Tubular Bells III Review - BBC CEEFAX (1998)

Oldfield back with a ravers, Tubular Bells. (1998)

Tubular Bells III Review - The Indepedent (1998)

I know I'm unstable. I accept that. (1998)

As Mike Oldfield Releases A New Album, An Astonishingly Frank Confession (1998)

Swedish reviews (1998)

Mike Oldfield on Tubular Bells III (1998)

Tubular Bells III programme (1998)

Tubular Bells III premiere concert review - The Guardian (1998)

Tubular Bells III press conference (1998)

Tubular Bells III Review - The Daily Telegraph (1998)

For whom the Bells toll (1998)

The Bells Toll (1998)

Mike Oldfield Interview on BBC Radio 2 (1998)

CNN Interview (1998)

Classic FM Tubular Bells III Interview (1998)

Turning a deaf ear to Tubular Bells III (1998)

He Only Sells Records When He Calls Them Tubular Bells (1998)

Villa Of The Week (1999)

Far Above The Clouds Press Release (1999)

Mike Oldfield's strange journey from Tubular Bells to London 2012 (2012)


  • The Source Of Secrets
  • Man In The Rain
  • Far Above The Clouds


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