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Saved by a bell (Mike Oldfield)

A hit from the album "Discovery", released in 1984 by Mike Oldfield, featuring Barry Palmer.

Won't you like to look through my telescope?
The Milky Way's a fine sight to see
All around our universe, we try so hard to view
What's new

Make a trip down to Sagittarius
And take a spin by some nebula
I hope the sky stays clear for us
Tonight goes on so far
In Stars

Saved by a bell
Suffering hell
But you were too blind to tell
Saved by a bell
Suffering hell
And you made it through so well

Shining like bright diamonds, the galaxies
Jupiter and Saturn spin by
Passing by companions, they all go drifting by
They fly!

Carry me down to see Aquarius
We're hoping to meet a shooting star
I can see there's going to be a message from afar
How close we are

Saved by a bell
Suffering hell
But you were too blind to tell
Saved by a bell
Suffering hell
And you made it through so well

Saved by a bell
Suffering hell
But you were too blind to tell
Saved by a bell
Suffering hell
And you made it through so well

Saved by a bell
Suffering hell
But you were too blind to tell
Saved by a bell
Suffering hell
And you made it through so well

Saved by a bell
Suffering hell
But you were too blind to tell
Saved by a bell ...

In the song he mentions a couple of CONSTELLATIONS, which are groups of stars that make a design. The most important ones are the 12 constellations that the sun crosses along the year and some people think they have an influence on us. They are called THE ZODIAC; they all have Latin names and are: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpius, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces.

He also mentions a couple of planets. The name of the planets are Roman gods (except our planet, the Earth): Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.

And he also mentions a few other celestial objects: galaxies (and specifically The Milky Way), a nebula, stars, a shooting star.

WON'T YOU LIKE...?= Do you want to...?
To make an invitation we can say "will you...?" or "won't you...?". We can also say "Would you...?" or, less common, "wouldn't you...?". WOULD for invitations is more polite than WILL or WON'T. The subtitles on the video transcribe "would you" but it's not correct, the song says "won't you".
- Will you come to my party tomorrow? (= do you want to come to my party? = Please, come to my party)
- Won't you like some more tea? (= Please, have some more tea if you want)
- Would you like a coffee? (= Do you want a coffee?)

TELESCOPE= A device to look at the stars (see picture).

THE MILKY WAY= (a literal translation of the original Latin name 'Via Lactea') A concentration of stars that can be seen lighting a path across the sky (which is actually an arm of our own spiral galaxy). (See picture)

A FINE SIGHT TO SEE= A nice view; something that looks very nice.
SIGHT= What you can see.

WE TRY SO HARD= We make a very big effort to do it.

TAKE A SPIN= (coll.) Go for a ride; travel around there.

NEBULA= A concentration of stardust in space. (see picture)

GOES ON= Continues, expands.
Tonight goes on so far in stars= Tonight the sky looks like an infinite space full of stars and more stars, never ending.

SAVED BY A BELL= (expression) saved by the timely intervention of someone or something at the last minute, just before it was too late. (This expression comes from boxing, where a bell marks the end of a round. When a boxer is knocked down, the referee counts down and if he gets to 0 and the boxer does not stand up, he loses (then we say that he was Knocked Out, or K.O. for short), but if the bell rings before the end of the countdown, then he is "saved by the bell" and he can rest for a while before going back to the fight)


SUFFERING HELL= Suffering a lot, having a really bad time.

TOO BLIND TO TELL= This sentence may have a literal meaning (you didn't say anything because you were too blind) or another meaning where TELL=REALIZE, "tell the difference" (you were too blind to know the truth). The second meaning makes more sense.

YOU MADE IT THROUGH= You survived a terrible situation or a big problem.

SHINING LIKE...= The normal order of this sentence would be: The galaxies are shining like bright diamonds.

SPIN BY= The verb SPIN is to rotate rapidly around an axis. The particle BY expresses the idea of "passing", as in "to walk by" (to pass walking: it comes here and then it continues and goes away in the opposite direction).

PASSING BY COMPANIONS= They are companions (they go together) and they "pass by" (see above for this use of "by").

DRIFTING BY= Something drifting is carried along by currents of air or water (like a leaf floating on a river). The particle BY expresses the idea of passing along (see "spin by" above).

A SHOOTING STAR= A meteorite (it looks like a star that suddenly appears in the sky, it quickly flies by drawing a line of light and then disappears).

FROM AFAR= From far away, from a remote place.

The original expression is "saved by the bell", and it means to be saved by the timely intervention of someone or something at the last minute, just before it was too late.

So what is this song talking about? It seems to be a very personal experience, but I found someone talking about it on the Net. They were quoting a person who explained it (though they didn't mention who it was), so I simply copy the quotes:

One possibility is that the line "Saved by a bell" refers to Mike's career fortunes being turned around by the success of Tubular Bells. From that, we could infer that the "suffer in hell/but you were too blind to tell" couplet is a reference to the mental problems that his success exacerbated [i.e. made worse], and the fact that he was in a kind of denial about them until forced to confront them - and the fact that he did successfully confront them is covered by "But you made it through so well".

Another possibility: that "Saved By A Bell" is Mike having a rant at Richard Branson [Virgin head]. Hearing it and reading the lyrics, it makes perfect sense. Particularly since the lyrics talk about constellations etc., but don't include "Taurus" (Mike is a Taurus). Then of course the Chorus is pretty overt: "Saved by a bell, suffer in hell"...

What about all those astronomical elements? Well, there is a contrast because that celestial harmony (a trip around a peaceful universe) and the suffering hell down below. If this is about a confrontation with Richard Branson, maybe that sky high up is simbolizing him, the distant boss over it all, and then this line would refer to him: "I can see there's gonna be a message from afar. How close we are" (like a ray of hope, maybe sarcastical?). Impossible to know without some information from Mike Oldfield himself.

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