Jethro Tull


Jethro Tull are a British rock group formed in Luton, Bedfordshire, in December 1967. Their music is characterised by the vocals, acoustic guitar, and flute playing of Ian Anderson, who has led the band since its founding, and the guitar work of Martin Barre, who has been with the band since 1969, after he replaced original guitarist Mick Abrahams. Initially playing blues rock with an experimental flavour, they have also incorporated elements of classical music, folk music, jazz, hard rock and art rock into their music. One of the world's best-selling music artists, the band have sold more than 60 million albums worldwide in a career that has spanned more than forty years.

During the early 1970s, Jethro Tull became one of the largest concert draws in the world. In concert, the band were known for theatricality and long medleys with brief instrumental interludes. While early Jethro Tull shows featured a manic Anderson with bushy hair and beard dressed in tattered overcoats and ragged clothes, as the band became bigger he moved towards varied costumes. Other band members joined in the dress-up and developed stage personae. Bassist Glenn Cornick always appeared in waistcoat and headband, while his successor Jeffrey Hammond eventually adopted a black-and-white diagonally-striped suit (and similarly striped bass guitar, electric guitar, and string bass). It was a 'zebra look', and at one point a two-manned zebra came out excreting ping pong balls into the audience while both performers moved forcefully around their stage areas. Former Carmen bassist John Glascock also wore flamboyant clothes on stage, most of which he sewed himself. Barriemore Barlow's stage attire was a crimson tank-top and matching runner's shorts with rugby foot gear, and his solos were marked by smoke-machines and enormous drumsticks. He also wore a Bucket hat. Martin Barre was the island of calm amongst the madmen, with Anderson (and sometimes Evan) crowding him and making faces during his solos. Anderson often dressed as a country squire on tours in the late 1970s, with the rest of the band adopting the style during their folk phase. Often they were having a song interrupted by a phone call for an audience member and the climactic conclusion of shows included bombastic instrumentals and giant balloons which Anderson would carry over his head and toss into the crowd.

Ian Anderson


HISTORY
1962–68: Origins

Ian Anderson started his first band, The Blades, in Blackpool, England in 1962. The group featured Anderson on vocals and harmonica, Jeffrey Hammond on bass, John Evans on drums, and a guitarist named either Hipgrave or Michael Stephans. Drummer Barrie Barlow became a member in 1963 after Evans had switched from drums to piano. By 1964 the band had developed into a seven-piece soul and rhythm and blues band called The John Evan Band (later The John Evan Smash). By this point Evans had shortened his surname to "Evan" at the insistence of Hammond, who thought it sounded better and more unusual. In 1967 the band moved to the London area, basing themselves in nearby Luton. However, but most of the band quit and headed back north, leaving Anderson and bassist Glenn Cornick (who had replaced Hammond) to join forces with blues guitarist Mick Abrahams and his friend, drummer Clive Bunker, both from the Luton-based band McGregor's Engine. At first, the new band had trouble getting repeat bookings and they took to changing their name frequently to continue playing the London club circuit. Band names were often supplied by their booking agents' staff, one of whom, a history enthusiast, eventually christened them "Jethro Tull" after the 18th-century agriculturist. The name stuck because they happened to be using it the first time a club manager liked their show enough to invite them to return.


They were signed to the blossoming Ellis-Wright agency, and became the third band managed by the soon-to-be Chrysalis empire. It was around this time that Anderson purchased a flute after becoming frustrated with his inability to play guitar like Eric Clapton. Their first single, "Sunshine Day", was released in 1968. Written by Abrahams and produced by Derek Lawrence, it was unsuccessful. On the original UK MGM 45 rpm record label, the group's name was misspelled "Jethro Toe", making it a collector's item. They released their first album This Was in 1968. In addition to music written by Anderson and Abrahams the album included the traditional "Cat's Squirrel", which highlighted Abrahams' blues-rock style. The Rahsaan Roland Kirk-penned jazz piece "Serenade to a Cuckoo" gave Anderson a showcase for his growing talents on the flute, an instrument which he started learning to play only half a year before the release of the album. The overall sound of the group at this time was described in the Record Mirror by Anderson in 1968 as "a sort of progressive blues with a bit of jazz."

Serenade to a Cuckoo

Following this album, Abrahams left after a falling out with Anderson and formed his own band, Blodwyn Pig. There were a number of reasons given for Abrahams' departure: he was a blues purist, while Anderson wanted to branch out into other forms of music; Abrahams was unwilling to travel internationally or play more than three nights a week; or there was simply no way a band could exist with two strong-minded heads (Anderson and Abrahams) pulling it in different directions. Guitarist Tony Iommi, from the group Earth (who would soon change their name to Black Sabbath), took on guitar duties for a short time after the departure of Abrahams. David O'List (who had just left The Nice) also deputised on guitar with Jethro Tull for a few shows.

1969–76: Developing their own style

Martin Barre
After auditions for a replacement guitarist in December 1968, Anderson chose Martin Barre, a former member of Motivation, Penny Peeps, and Gethsemane, who was playing with Noel Redding's Fat Mattress at the time. Barre was so nervous at his first audition that he could hardly play at all, and then showed up for a second audition without an amplifier or a cord to connect his guitar to another amp. Nevertheless, Barre would become Abrahams' permanent replacement on guitar and the second longest-standing member of the band after Anderson. Another contender for the job, Steve Howe, later guitarist with Yes, failed to pass his audition.

This new line-up released Stand Up in 1969, the group's only UK number-one album. The LP unfolded to a photo insert of the band attached to the covers like a pop-up book. Written entirely by Anderson –with the exception of the jazzy rearrangement of J. S. Bach's Bourrée in E minor BWV 996 (fifth movement)– it branched out further from the blues, clearly evidencing a new direction for the group, which would come to be categorised as progressive rock alongside such diverse groups as Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Genesis, Camel, The Nice, Gentle Giant, and Yes


Bourrée

John Evan
A couple of months prior to the sessions for this album, the band recorded one of their best-known songs, "Living in the Past", which was originally issued only as a single. Despite its unconventional 5/4 time signature, the song reached number three in the UK charts. Although most other progressive groups actively resisted issuing singles at the time, Jethro Tull had further success with their other singles, "Sweet Dream" (1969) and "The Witch's Promise" (1970), and a five-track EP, Life Is a Long Song (1971), all of which made the top twenty. In 1970, they added keyboardist John Evan (initially as a guest musician) and released the album Benefit.

Teacher

Jeffrey Hammond
In December 1970, bassist Cornick was "invited to leave" by Jethro Tull manager Terry Ellis, as he had become distanced from the other more reclusive band members, and he formed the band Wild Turkey. He was replaced by Jeffrey Hammond, the childhood friend and former Blades bandmate of Anderson's and Evan's, whose name appeared in the titles of the songs "A Song for Jeffrey", "Jeffrey Goes to Leicester Square", "For Michael Collins, Jeffrey, and Me", and in the lyrics of the Benefit track, "Inside." Hammond was often credited on Jethro Tull albums as "Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond", a reference to the fact that Hammond's mother's maiden name was also Hammond. This line-up released Jethro Tull's best-known work, Aqualung, in 1971. On this album, Anderson's lyrics included strong opinions about religion. The song "Hymn 43" was released as a single, and the album provided plenty of FM radio fodder with the tracks "Aqualung", "Cross-Eyed Mary" and "Locomotive Breath". The Aqualung album would become the band's first to crack the U.S. top ten, reaching No. 7 in June, 1971.

Aqualung

Cross-Eyed Mary

Barrie Barlow
Because of the heavy touring schedule and his wish to spend more time with his family, drummer Bunker quit the group after the Aqualung album and was replaced by Barrie Barlow (who was rechristened "Barriemore" by Anderson) in early 1971. Barlow first recorded with the band for the EP Life Is a Long Song and made his first appearance on a Jethro Tull album with 1972's Thick as a Brick. Disagreeing with the assessment from some music critics that Aqualung had been a concept album, Ian Anderson decided to give them "the mother of all concept albums", including the preposterous idea that the lyrics had been written by an eight-year-old boy. The album consisted of a single track running 43:46 (an innovation previously unheard of in rock music), split over the two sides of the LP, with a number of movements melded together and some repeating themes. The first movement with its distinctive acoustic guitar riff received some airplay on rock stations at the time. Thick as a Brick was the first Tull album to reach number one on the (US) Billboard Pop Albums chart (the following year's A Passion Play being the only other).

Thick as a Brick

This album's quintet –Anderson, Barre, Evan, Hammond, and Barlow– lasted until the end of 1975, and was, in essence, a reunion of The Blades, with Barre being the only member of Jethro Tull who had not been in The Blades. The band's stage theatrics peaked during the Thick As A Brick tour, a performance distinguished by stage hands wearing the tan trench-coat/madras cap ensemble from the album art, extras in rabbit suits running across stage and an extended interlude during which Barre and Barlow entered a beach-tent onstage and swapped pants. Keyboard player John Evan dressed in an all-white suit with a neck-scarf of scarlet with white polka-dots; described as a "sad clown" type with extremely over-sized shoes, he joined in the theatrics by galumphing back and forth between Hammond Organ and grand piano (placed on opposite sides of the stage).


1972 also saw the release of Living in the Past, a double-album compilation of remixed singles, B-sides and outtakes (including the entirety of the Life Is a Long Song EP, which closes the album), with the third side recorded live in 1970 at New York's Carnegie Hall concert. With this album's release, the "Living in the Past" single gained popularity in the U.S., becoming the band's first Top 20 hit there (reaching No. 11).

Driving song
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In 1973, while in tax exile, the band attempted to produce a double album at France's Château d'Hérouville studios (something The Rolling Stones and Elton John among others were doing at the time), but supposedly they were unhappy with the quality of the recording studio and abandoned the effort, subsequently mocking the studio as the "Chateau d'Isaster". An 11-minute excerpt was released on the 1988's 20 Years of Jethro Tull boxed set, and the complete "Chateau d'Isaster Tapes" were finally released on the 1993 compilation Nightcap, with overdubbed flute lines where the vocal parts were missing. They returned to England and Anderson rewrote, quickly recorded, and released A Passion Play, another single-track concept album, with allegorical lyrics focusing on the afterlife. Just as "Thick as a Brick" had, A Passion Play contained instrumentation rather uncommon in rock music. The album also featured an interlude, "The Story of the Hare Who Lost His Spectacles", which was co-written (along with Anderson and Evan) and narrated by bassist Hammond. A Passion Play sold well but received generally poor reviews.

1974's War Child, originally intended to be a companion piece for a film, it reached number two on the U.S. Billboard charts, received some critical acclaim, and produced the radio mainstays "Bungle in the Jungle" and "Skating Away (On the Thin Ice of the New Day)". It also included a short acoustic song, "Only Solitaire". The War Child tour also featured a female string quartet playing along with the group on the new material. The theatricality of Anderson in concert culminated with the War Child tour's over-sized codpiece and colourful costume.


In 1975, the band released Minstrel in the Gallery, an album which resembled Aqualung in that it contrasted softer, acoustic-guitar-based pieces with lengthier, more bombastic works headlined by Barre's electric guitar. Written and recorded during Anderson's divorce from his first wife Jennie Franks, the album is characterised by introspective, cynical, and sometimes bitter lyrics. Critics gave it mixed reviews, but the album came to be acknowledged as one of the band's best by longtime Jethro Tull fans, even as it generally fell under the radar to listeners familiar only with Aqualung. For the 1975 tour, David Palmer, who had long been the band's orchestra arranger, officially joined the band on keyboards and synthesisers. After the tour, bassist Hammond quit the band to pursue painting. John Glascock, who earlier was playing with flamenco-rock band Carmen, a support band on the previous Jethro Tull tour, became the band's new bassist.

Cold Wind To Valhalla


1976's Too Old to Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young to Die! was another concept album, this time about the life of an ageing rocker (which Anderson insisted was not autobiographical). Anderson, stung by critical reviews (particularly of A Passion Play), responded on Too Old... with more sharply-barbed lyrics.

1977–79: Folk rock trilogy

The band closed the decade with a trio of prog folk albums, Songs from the Wood, Heavy Horses, and Stormwatch. Songs from the Wood was the first Tull album to receive generally positive reviews since the release of Living in the Past.

Songs from the Wood


The band had long ties to folk rockers Steeleye Span and with Fairport Convention. Although not formally considered a part of the folk rock movement (which had actually begun nearly a decade earlier with the advent of Fairport Convention), there was clearly an exchange of musical ideas among Tull and the folk rockers. By this time, Anderson had moved to a farm in the countryside, and his new bucolic lifestyle was clearly reflected on these albums, as in the title track of Heavy Horses, a paean to draught horses. The band continued to tour, and released a live double album in 1978. Recorded during the European leg of the Heavy Horses tour and entitled Bursting Out, it featured dynamic live performances from the line-up that many Jethro Tull fans  consider to comprise the golden era of the band. During the U.S. leg of this tour, John Glascock suffered health problems and was replaced by Anderson's friend and former Stealers Wheel bassist, Tony Williams.

Rover

Their third folk influenced album Stormwatch was released in 1979; this is considered the end of an era for the classic Tull period as Glascock, after having open heart surgery the previous year, died in his home of heart complications. (Anderson completed the bass parts for the unfinished songs on the album, and Dave Pegg of Fairport Convention took the bass responsibilities for the Stormwatch tour.) Barlow, depressed and withdrawn after the death of his "closest friend" Glascock, soon quit the band. Moreover, Palmer and Evan's contracts had expired before the A album. Jethro Tull was left with Anderson (the only original member) and Barre.

North sea oil

1980–84: Electronic rock

Tull's first album of the 1980s, A, was intended to be Ian Anderson's first solo album. Anderson retained Barre on electric guitar and Dave Pegg on bass, while adding Mark Craney on drums, and special guest keyboardist/violinist Eddie Jobson (ex-Roxy Music, UK, Frank Zappa, and Curved Air). Highlighted by the prominent use of synthesisers, it contrasted sharply with the established "Tull sound". After pressure from Chrysalis Records, Anderson decided to release it as a Jethro Tull album. Entitled A,  it was released in mid-1980. The A tour featured the same white jumpsuit uniforms worn by the band on the album cover.


Jobson and Craney returned to their own work following the A Tour and Jethro Tull entered a period of revolving drummers: Gerry Conway who left after deciding he couldn't be the one to replace Barlow, Phil Collins (as a fill-in for the recently departed Gerry Conway, played with the band at the first Prince's Trust concert in 1982), Paul Burgess (for the US leg of the Broadsword and the Beast tour, who left to settle down with his family) and permanent drummer Doane Perry.  In 1982, Peter-John Vettese joined on keyboards, and the band returned to a somewhat folkier sound –albeit with synthesisers– for 1982's The Broadsword and the Beast. The ensuing concert tour for the album was well attended and the shows featured what was to be one of the group's last indulgences in full-dress theatricality: the stage was built to resemble a Viking longship and the band performed in faux-medieval regalia.

Broadsword

An Anderson solo album (which was in fact an Anderson-Vettese effort) appeared in 1983, in the form of the heavily electronic Walk into Light. Although the album featured electronic soundscapes and synthesiser voicings advanced for its time, as well as cerebral lyrics about the alienating effects of technology, the release failed to resonate with long-time fans or with new listeners. However, as with later solo efforts by Anderson and Barre, some of the Walk Into Light songs, such as "Fly By Night", "Made in England" and "Different Germany", later made their way into Jethro Tull live sets.

In 1984, Jethro Tull released Under Wraps, a heavily electronic album with no "live" drummer (instead, as on Walk into Light, a drum-machine was used). Although the band were reportedly proud of the sound, the album was not well received, particularly in North America. However, the video for "Lap of Luxury" did manage to earn moderate rotation on the newly influential MTV music video channel. Also, the acoustic version of the title track, "Under Wraps 2", found some favour over the years. As a result of the throat problems Anderson developed singing the demanding Under Wraps material on tour, Jethro Tull took a three-year break. Vettese quit the band after the tour, angry at critics for the bad reviews of BSATB, Walk into Light, and Under Wraps.

1987–1994: Hard rock

Jethro Tull returned strongly in 1987 with Crest of a Knave. With Vettese absent (Anderson contributed the synth programming) and the band relying more heavily on Barre's electric guitar than they had since the early 1970s, the album was a critical and commercial success. Shades of their earlier electronic excursions were still present, however, as three of the album's songs again utilised a drum machine. Prior to the Crest Of A Knave tour, keyboardist Don Airey (ex-Rainbow, Ozzy Osbourne, MSG) joined the band. The band won the 1988 Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance Vocal or Instrumental, beating the favourite Metallica and their ...And Justice for All album. The award was particularly controversial as many did not consider Jethro Tull hard rock, much less heavy metal. On the advice of their manager, who told them they had no chance of winning, no one from the band attended the award ceremony. In response to the criticism they received over the award, their label, Chrysalis, took out an advertisement in a British music periodical with a picture of a flute lying amid a pile of iron re-bars and the line, "The flute is a heavy metal instrument." In response to an interview question about the controversy, Ian Anderson quipped, "Well, we do sometimes play our mandolins very loudly." In 2007, the win was named one of the ten biggest upsets in Grammy history by Entertainment Weekly. In 1992, when Metallica finally won the Grammy in the category, Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich joked, "First thing we're going to do is thank Jethro Tull for not putting out an album this year". Two songs in particular –"Farm on the Freeway" and "Steel Monkey"– got heavy radio airplay. The album also contained the popular live song "Budapest", which depicts a backstage scene with a shy local female stagehand. Although "Budapest" was the longest song on that album (at just over ten minutes), "Mountain Men" became more famous in Europe, depicting a scene from World War II in Africa. Ian Anderson referred to the battles of El Alamein and the Falkland Islands, drawing historic parallels of the angst that women left behind by their warrior husbands might have felt. They toured this album with "The Not Quite The World, More The Here And There Tour". It was also the first time in the band's history, when it, even though rarely, had two electric guitar players on stage (Anderson played rhythm guitar).

Jump start


1988 was notable for the release of 20 Years of Jethro Tull, a five-LP themed set consisting largely of rarities and outtakes from throughout the band's history, as well as a variety of live and remastered tracks. It also included a booklet outlining the band's history in detail. Multi-instrumentalist Martin Allcock, who as a member of Fairport Convention, joined the band mainly as keyboard player, starting with the 20th Anniversary tour, replacing the departed Airey. For some numbers Alcock played the second electric guitar (Anderson reverted to playing acoustic), the last time that the band did this live. In 1989, the band released Rock Island, which met with less commercial and critical success than Crest of a Knave. The lead-off track, "Kissing Willie," featured bawdy double-entendre lyrics and over-the-top heavy metal riffing that seemed to take a satiric view of the group's recent Grammy award win. A couple of fan favourites did emerge from the album: "Big Riff and Mando" and "Another Christmas Song", that was re-recorded for the 2003 Jethro Tull Christmas Album release.

1991's Catfish Rising was a more solid album than Rock Island. Despite being labelled as a "return to playing the blues," the album actually is marked by the generous use of mandolin and acoustic guitar and much less use of keyboards than any Tull album of the Eighties. Notable tracks included "Rocks on the Road"  and "Still Loving You Tonight". Allcock, who had played on the Catfish Rising tour, although not the album itself, quit the band at the end of the year to pursue solo work.

1995–2011: World music influences

Following the 1992 tour (which included Fairport drummer Dave Mattacks and was documented with A Little Light Music, band's second official live album), Anderson had re-learned how to play the flute (after his daughter, who took up the flute classes at school, discovered that her father often uses the wrong fingering) and begun writing songs that heavily featured world music influences. However, the first Tull releases containing the "relearned" flute were the 25th Anniversary Box which, above the remixes of classic songs and unreleased live material, included a whole CD of old songs from the band's entire career recorded by the current line-up, and a "Nightcap" album containing unreleased studio material (mainly from the scrapped pre-Passion Play album), with multiple flute parts rerecorded. Dave Pegg left the band wishing to concentrate on Fairport Convention and not being keen on the world-music direction the band chose, and was replaced for 1995's Roots to Branches album by Steve Bailey  and finally by Jonathan Noyce. Roots to Branches and 1999's J-Tull Dot Com were less rock-based than Crest of a Knave or Catfish Rising. Songs on these albums reflect the musical influences of decades of performing all around the globe. In songs such as "Out of the Noise" and "Hot Mango Flush", Anderson paints vivid pictures of third-world street scenes.  

Far Alaska


In 1995, Anderson released his second solo album, Divinities: Twelve Dances with God, an instrumental work composed of twelve flute-heavy pieces pursuing varied themes with an underlying motif. The album was recorded with Jethro Tull keyboard player Andrew Giddings and orchestral musicians. Anderson released two further song-based solo albums, The Secret Language of Birds and Rupi's Dance in 2000 and 2003, respectively. In 2001, Anderson reunited with Cornick, Bunker, and Abrahams for small pub dates. It was the first time the original four members had played together since 1968. "Living With The Past" includes a documentary that features the band on tour, in Britain and America, in 2001. It also has footage of the 2001 reunion of Jethro Tull's first line up filmed playing in a pub. 2003 saw the release of The Jethro Tull Christmas Album, a collection of traditional Christmas songs together with old and new Christmas songs written by Jethro Tull. The album became the band's biggest commercial success since the 1987's Crest Of A Knave. An Ian Anderson live double album and DVD was released in 2005 called Ian Anderson Plays the Orchestral Jethro Tull. The last Jethro Tull's studio album of new material was J-Tull Dot Com in 1999.



DISCOGRAPHY
(studio albums)

This Was (1968)
Stand Up (1969)
Benefit (1970)
Aqualung (1971)
Thick as a Brick (1972)
A Passion Play (1973)
War Child (1974)
Minstrel in the Gallery (1975)
Too Old to Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young to Die! (1976)
Songs from the Wood (1977)
Heavy Horses (1978)
Stormwatch (1979)
A (1980)
The Broadsword and the Beast (1982)
Under Wraps (1984)
Crest of a Knave (1987)
Rock Island (1989)
Catfish Rising (1991)
Roots to Branches (1995)
J-Tull Dot Com (1999)
The Jethro Tull Christmas Album (2003)
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jethro_Tull_(band)