ARTIST: Jethro Tull
YEAR RELEASED: 1971
CHART ACTION: #7 US, #4 UK
SINGLES: Hymn #43 (#91 US), Locomotive Breath
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Aqualung, Cross-Eyed Mary
LINEUP: Ian Anderson, Clive Bunker, Martin Barre, John Evan, Jeffery Hammond
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The one Jethro Tull album everyone knows, but it is definitely worth knowing.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: No matter how many times I’ve heard it, the opening guitar riff by Martin Barre on “Aqualung” always brings a smile to my face. Same with the riffs on most of the other hard rocking tunes. Those tempt you into the building. What keeps you there is the whole of the album.
Though the band has always denied this is a concept album, it is in a sense that Ian Anderson spends a lot of the album venting about God, Man and Religion. But “Aqualung” itself isn’t part of that, it’s only connected to “Cross-Eyed Mary”, not the songs like “My God” and “Hymn 43” on the second side.
This is probably the pinnacle of progressive rock in the 70’s – pleasing hard rock fans, keeping an ear for hooks and riffs, incorporating progressive and classical themes and exploring those without ham-handed long suites.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: The iconic album cover was inspired by a photograph Anderson’s wife took of a homeless man.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, outtakes, alternate cuts, new mixes, BBC cuts.
GRADE: A: Why not an A+. A couple of the quieter songs, while nice, I don’t think flow 100% well (maybe they needed a resequence). Still, gotta have this