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Ian Anderson delivers a blistering flute solo.


"Aqualung my friend, don't you start away uneasy

You poor old sod, you see, it's only me."

Folk-rock group, formed in 1968, and mostly known for their 70s output, particularly their albums Aqualung and Thick As A Brick. Made up of lead-singer/flautist Ian Anderson, guitarist Martin Barre (who joined in 1969), and one of rock's most frequently revolving line-ups.

The band's studio album discography is as follows:

  • 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 And 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)

Ian Anderson's studio album discography is as follows:

  • Walk into Light (1983)
  • Divinities: Twelve Dances with God (1995)
  • The Secret Language of Birds (2000)
  • Rupi's Dance (2003)
  • Thick as a Brick 2 (2012)

Martin Barre's studio album discography is as follows:

  • A Summer Band (1992)
  • A Trick of Memory (1994)
  • The Meeting (1996)
  • Stage Left (2003)

Jethro Tull contains examples of:

  • Anti-Christmas Song: "A Christmas Song".
    • Also "Jack Frost and the Hooded Crow." Subverted with "Another Christmas Song."
  • Anti-Love Song: The album Minstrel in the Gallery is all over this, though you have to know what to listen for.
  • Bawdy Song: A number of songs here and there, particularly on Songs From The Wood and Heavy Horses.
  • Be Yourself: Many of his songs discouraged conformism and uniformity, even between members of the counterculture. Ian wore long hair and flamboyant clothes, was identified with the countercuture, and held many liberal-ish or free-thinking ideals, but he hated hippies and drug culture. Many of Tull's songs (including, and especially Thick As A Brick) encouraged others to find their own way and think for themselves.
    • Nothing to Say is essentially Ian voicing annoyance over being asked for some kind of guidance now that he's a celebrity.
  • Bonnie Scotland: Ian Anderson is Scottish.
  • Buffy-Speak: Anderson frequently calls accordions the "squeezy thing."
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Just from the page image, you can tell Ian Anderson is insane.
    • Subverted, in that Ian is possibly one of rock's most intellectual and well-spoken stars. His persona onstage, however, is deliberately absurdist.
      • Cut him some slack, he chose to play the goddamn flute.
  • Concept Album: Believe it or not, but A Passion Play is the only straight example, but there is also Thick as a Brick, which is an over the top parody created because the media kept calling Aqualung a concept album, despite Anderson's constant claims otherwise.
    • And, like Don Quixote, it ends up being better than most of the things he's parodying.
  • Creator Backlash: Ian finds the below album, along with A Passion Play, too dark and unfocused for his tastes, but they remain popular among hardcore fans. "Teacher" (allegedly mistaken by Jethro Tull's then-record company co-founder to be about him, much to Ian's annoyance) and "Bungle In The Jungle", two attempts to write a commercial pop single, often come up for criticism too.
  • Creator Breakdown: The Minstrel In The Gallery album is filled with equal measures of reflection, regret, sarcasm, sadness, Self-Deprecation and regret; it reflected Ian Anderson's then-recent divorce and the pressures of stardom, as well the the splintering and unfocus of the lineup of the band that recorded it.
    • Stand Up had a lot of this, too, as Anderson was having a hard time adjusting to touring and being away from his girlfriend at the time.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Ian onstage, and often during interviews. Blends this with a lot of Self-Deprecation, too.
  • Dented Iron: While on the Under Wraps tour, Ian Anderson suffered numerous throat problems, including multiple cases of laryngitis. He returned to recording and touring after a couple years off (his first break since the band began touring regularly), but his voice had lost its trademark fullness. Also, he now sings in a limited range in a higher key then on his older material.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: In older shows, Ian would often stick is flute on his crotch while dancing around.
  • Drunken Song: Quite a few references to drinking.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Their first album, This Was, sounds like yet another Cream rip-off. This began to change with their second album, Stand Up, when original guitarist Mick Abrahams left, and Ian Anderson started to monopolize the band's song-writing duties.
    • A lot of it had to do with their manager at the time (as well was singer/guitarist Mick Abrahams) wanting the band to be purely blues-rock. The singles released after This Was, especially A Christmas Song, were the first glimpses of what the band would become.
  • Echoing Acoustics: Very well done by them, particularly in songs such as "Pibroch (Cap In Hand)", "No Lullaby", and "Dark Ages".
  • Epic Rocking: Thick As A Brick and A Passion Play are each made up of one long song.
    • Actually, A Passion Play is 16 songs.
    • To a much lesser extent: "Baker Street Muse" at 16 minutes.
  • Excited Show Title: "Too Young to Rock 'N' Roll: Too Young to Die!" Both the album and the song.
  • Filk Song
  • Four More Measures: The opening riff in Aqualung is played twice.
    • It plays three times to close the song.
  • A Good Name for a Rock Band: Named after an 18th century agriculturist.
    • Subverted in that Ian Anderson hates the name 'Jethro'.
      • During their early days, their manager would change the name of the band so that they could be booked at places they had flopped at.

 Jethro Tull is the name we were using when we quit sucking.

  • Grief Song: "Pibroch (Cap In Hand)", among many others.
  • Heavy Meta: Minstrel In The Gallery, and a number of other songs.
  • Heavy Mithril: Along with Led Zeppelin, pretty much the Trope Maker.
  • I Am the Band: Ian Anderson is the only founding member still in the band. To a lesser extent, Martin Barre has been with the band since Stand Up.
    • Doane Perry's been around since the eighties.
  • Intercourse with You: An awful lot of songs.
  • Just for Pun: In response to the criticism the band received after winning the first Grammy for hard rock/heavy metal album, they put out an ad showing Ian's flute on a scale, stating that the flute is a "heavy, metal instrument."
  • Large Ham: Saying that Anderson is one is quite the understatement.
    • On stage, at least. Off stage he's rather quiet and reserved, though he does keep his sense of humor.
  • Listeners Are Geniuses
  • Lyrical Dissonance
  • Not Using the Z Word: See Concept Album.
  • Oop North: The band is from Blackpool, inspiring their song "Up The Pool".
  • Progressive Rock
  • Protest Song: From about a third to a half of their catalog.
    • The majority of their protests were against conformity and living up to others' expectations. Organized religion (a result of the attempts to raise Anderson Catholic) are another popular subject.
  • Scare Chord: In the "Hare Who Lost His Spectacles" section of A Passion Play. "But Owl had been sitting on the fence, scOWLing..."
  • Stealth Parody: "Thick As A Brick".
  • Studio Chatter: Egregrious on Aqualung, War Child and Minstrel In The Gallery.
  • The End Is Nigh: Pretty much the theme of Stormwatch.
  • Unkempt Beauty: A lyric from Fires at Midnight is the page quote.
  • What Could Have Been: Both A Passion Play and Too Old to Rock 'N' Roll: Too Young to Die! were originally planned to be stage musicals. Sadly, neither turned out that way.
    • The songs that eventually became War Child were created or a film project.
  • What Do You Mean It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: Quite a few commentaries about the band's history like to imply that Anderson was on drugs of some kind. The fact is that Anderson doesn't do any drugs at all and only rarely drinks. In fact, he has claimed that his few experiments with drugs hindered his creative process.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: Especially on Thick As A Brick.