The magazine of the photo-essay
May 2018 issue
The making of Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells
“A free, really high quality photo-essay magazine.  Fabulous!” Stephen Fry. British actor, writer and film maker
photography by Simon Heyworth
These photographs were taken by Simon Heyworth during the creation of the classic album, Tubular Bells, in 1973. Tom Newman and Simon Heyworth were busy building the Manor for Richard Branson and subsequently were the engineers in the studio. The Manor was the first residential recording studio, and it was here that Mike Oldfield created this iconic album. The album was the first to be released on Richard Branson’s new ‘Virgin’ Record label. Income generated from this album helped found Branson’s ‘Virgin’ empire. The photographs illustrate Richard Newman’s new book ‘The Making of Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells’, an account of how the album was created, as told to Richard Newman by Mike Oldfield, Tom Newman and Simon
Heyworth. The story is both illuminating and entertaining. The photographs show the technology of the time and add enlightenment to the text. There are pictures of Branson’s Virgin Records van, images of the young Richard Branson larking about on a motorbike and others of the enormous machinery that had to be lifted into the studio. The Making of Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells by Richard Newman, published 26th March 2018 by Storm Music and Images, £20, softback.
Tom Newman: “Richard Branson would come down and be the gay young squire… he would entertain the bands by acting the fool.”
The studio takes shape.
Tom Newman: “It was a little stable with a hayloft above, which I converted into the control room.”
Mike Oldfield: “It was a wonderful place. The Manor; it was a big old, stone house with a lovely great big fireplace ad the whole atmosphere there was really exciting.”
From little acorns….. Richard Branson was later to sell ‘this’ for £560,000,000.
Craning the 16-track tape machine into the control room.
A party at The Manor: Branson (centre) holds a toy aeroplane, perhaps already planning his future strategy.
Jackie Byford and Tom Newman.
The Manor, Shipton-on-Cherwell, Oxfordshire.
Oldfield’s original demo was recorded on a domestic Bang & Olufsen ‘Beocord’. It was then transferred onto Ampex 4-track for better quality. This photograph was taken during that actual process.
The stage is set.
A language developed between Tom Newman and Mike Oldfield which allowed them to communicate ideas about the music during recording.
Phil Newell with the tape tranport, metering and amplification for his 8-track console.
The 8-track recording console was stored at Albion Street until it could be moved to The Manor.
Simon Heyworth.
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