Saturday, March 19, 2011


Jethro Tull mixed folk and hard rock and found mainstream success with this album of deep, dark, whimsical wanderlust. The themes and characters of 'Aqualung' ran the gamut from homelessness and prostitution to childhood alienation to the conflict between faith and organized religion.

Ian Anderson insists "I always said at the time that this is not a concept album; this is just an album of varied songs of varied instrumentation and intensity in which three or four are the kind of keynote pieces for the album but it doesn't make it a concept album. In my mind when it came to writing the next album, 'Thick as a Brick', was done very much in the sense of: 'Whuh, if they thought 'Aqualung' was a concept album, OOOO-K, we'll show you a concept album.' And it was done as a kind of spoof, a send-up, of the concept album genre. ... But 'Aqualung' itself, in my mind was never a concept album. Just a bunch of songs."

The mini-epic 'Aqualung' has become a rock classic. Ian Anderson wrote it with his wife Jennie, who had shown him photos she had taken of homeless men.

"Sun streaking cold --
an old man wandering lonely.
Taking time
the only way he knows.
Leg hurting bad,
as he bends to pick a dog-end --
he goes down to the bog
and warms his feet."

'Hymn 43'

"Oh father high in heaven -- smile down upon your son
who's busy with his money games -- his women and his gun.
Oh Jesus save me!"

'Locomotive Breath'

"Old Charlie stole the handle
And the train, it won't stop going
No way to slow down"


full  album:

All tracks written by Ian Anderson, except where noted.

Side one: Aqualung
1. "Aqualung" (Ian Anderson, Jennie Anderson) 6:34
2. "Cross-Eyed Mary" 4:06
3. "Cheap Day Return" 1:21
4. "Mother Goose" 3:51
5. "Wond'ring Aloud" 1:53
6. "Up to Me" 3:15
Side two: My God
1. "My God" 7:08
2. "Hymn 43" 3:14
3. "Slipstream" 1:13
4. "Locomotive Breath" 4:23

5. "Wind-Up" 6:01

1 comment:

  1. A landmark album, to be certain. It's also noteworthy that, in a strictly anecdotal sense, this album was recorded at the same time Led Zeppelin was recording "IV." More interestingly, Martin Barre, lead guitarist for Tull since their second album ("Stand Up", 1969) was laying down the guitar solo for the title song on this album when Jimmy Page came into the control room while on a break from his own recording duties. According to the story, Page waved at Barre, who was faced with a choice: wave back...or continue playing? In Barre's own words:

    “While I was playing the solo, which was really going well, Jimmy Page walked into the control room and started waving. I thought, ‘Should I wave back and mess up the solo or should I just grin and carry on?’ Being a professional to the end, I just grinned.”

    According to legend, it was the first and only take recorded for the session. Whether true or false, that guitar solo ranks at #25 on Guitar World's 100 Greatest Guitar Solos of All Time.

    Great album choice, great write up.