Mike Oldfield's "In Dulci Jubilo" is an instrumental version of the traditional Christmas carol "Good Christian Men Rejoice". The carol is traditionally sung to a German tune of the same name as Oldfield's tune. Mike Oldfield had recorded another version of this song as the B-side to his previous single, "Don Alfonso", which did not chart, playing all instruments himself. Later, he felt a better version could be done, and re-recorded it in October 1975 at the Manor, but incorporating some of the previous version's backing tracks recorded November 1974 at the Beacon, his home studio.
The new version features Leslie Penning on 2 recorders (probably tenor and sopranino) and kortholt, Mike Oldfield on acoustic and electric guitars, piano and ARP string synthesiser, and William Murray on snare drum. Oldfield's decision to re-record the song proved to be a good move; it appeared in Christmas season playlists on radio across Europe, charting at number 4 in the UK, and is one of his most re-issued short songs. It also charted at number 7 in the Irish Singles Chart.
The song's authorship shown in the track listing below is how it appears on a recent compilation CD. Most editions from the 1970s and 1980s credit it to R. L. Pearsall, arr. Oldfield. Bach and Pearsall both wrote arrangements of it, but the song dates further back than either composer. Italian pressings of the single from 1975 credit it to J. S. Bach.
"On Horseback" features Mike Oldfield on vocals, accompanied by a children's chorus credited as the Penrhos kids. It previously appeared as an untitled song at the end of Oldfield's 1975 album Ommadawn, banded separately but merely listed as part of "Ommadawn part two" on the label. The album's liner notes refer to it as "the horse song on side two". Virgin Records recognised this song could also be a contender as a Christmas hit, and was already being played on radio before it was issued as a single; therefore the UK single's label bore a large "A" on each side to encourage radio play of both sides. A large "A" is often used to mark promo records, and copies are often mis-identified as promos, but all have this mark.
This record's success as a Christmas single encouraged Oldfield to issue a similar instrumental piece, usually with recorder as the lead instrument, as a single every year's Christmas season up to 1980.
The UK edition has both sides marked as side "A". It was also issued in other European countries, excluding France.
Side 2 is actually "On Horseback". Issued in a generic cover for promo records.
Virgin (dist. CBS) ZS8-9505
Also issued in Canada.
Virgin (dist. CBS) ZS8-9509
Re-issue with alternate B-side.
This may not be the same excerpt from Ommadawn used on North American singles.
Released in 1993 on CD.