Mike Oldfield and Spain

February 13, 1993
Howell Llewellyn

MADRID - Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells" album mirrored its spectacular British performance by going straight to the top of the Spanish album charts in its first week of release-to the joy of not just his new record company, Warner Music, but his old one, Virgin.

The album spent two weeks at No. 1 in Britain but a startling nine weeks at the top in Spain, selling 250,000 copies from its September release through mid-December. Warner Music Spain was expecting to increase that to well over 300,000 following a major Christmas campaign.

Nobody was happier than Oldfield's Spanish wife, Rosa, whom he met a couple of years ago in the rainswept northwestern region of Galicia while researching the Gaelic instruments they play in that part of the world, far removed from the flamenco-flavored hot south.

Oldfield's working relationship with former label Virgin had broken down some time before the release of his final album for them, the unsuccessful "Heaven's Open." It might be expected, therefore, that Virgin would be somewhat miffed at his commercial rebirth following his transfer to Warner. But they are quietly delighted. With no advertising campaign at all, the original 1973 "Tubular Bells" crept back into the charts a full 20 years after its release, entirely on the strength of its sequel.

"Nothing like that has happened before, especially as the two records are on different labels," says Julian Huntley, Virgin's international product manager in Madrid. "We did encourage some stores to rack the two records together, but there was no campaign. In fact, all of Mike's Virgin back catalog is selling well thanks to "Tubular Bells II."

Inigo Zabala, marketing director at Warner Music Spain, says "Tubular Bells II" is successful for two main reasons: "a great record and a great campaign. From July, we had a two-month pre-campaign with spots in the press, and then we started on television a week before the release."

In September, Oldfield came to Spain and did press interviews, spoke on the new in-vogue formula station, Cadena 100, and appeared on Spain's most popular comedy-variety show, "Marty y Trece". The Christmas campaign revived the advertising onslaught and means that, with eventual sales that could hit 400,000, a planned Oldfield tour of Spain in April is a guaranteed sell-out.

Mike Oldfield Tubular.net
Mike Oldfield Tubular.net