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Music: Jethro Tull
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."
— "Aqualung"

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 is named after an 18th century agriculturist, though Ian Anderson hates the name. 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; as Anderson put it, "Jethro Tull is the name we were using when we quit sucking."

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)
  • Homo Erraticus (2014)

Martin Barre's studio album discography is as follows:
  • A Summer Band (1992)
  • A Trick of Memory (1994)
  • The Meeting (1996)
  • Stage Left (2003)
  • Away With Words (2013)


Jethro Tull contains examples of:

  • Added Alliterative Appeal: From A Passion Play: "Here's your ID ideal for identifying one and all."
  • 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.
  • Award Category Fraud: Controversy over Tull winning the 1989 Grammy for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance, with other nominees including the heavily favored Metallica and the highly influential Faith No More, led to the category being split into two separate awards beginning the next year.
  • 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.
  • Buffy Speak: Anderson frequently calls accordions the "squeezy thing."
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: 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.
  • Cluster S-Bomb: Ian screws up the opening to "Baker St. Muse" and says, "Shit, shit, shit. Take two," before starting again. Could also count as Getting Crap Past the Radar since the volume has to be pretty high to make it out.
  • Compliment Backfire: In an early interview, Ian Anderson once attempted to compliment Led Zeppelin (they toured together in 1969) by saying, "With my lyrics and their music we could have a potent combination." This pissed off Robert Plant since he wrote all of Zeppelin's lyrics.
  • 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.
    • Unlike its predecessor, Thick as a Brick 2 is a straight example, as is Homo Erraticus
  • 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. As of 2012, he has singer and actor Ryan O'Donell to sing certain parts for him, resulting in an entertaining Vocal Tag Team.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: In older shows, Ian would often stick his 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 (Depending on your interpretation) A Passion Play are each made up of one long song.
    • To a much lesser extent: "Baker Street Muse" at 16 minutes.
      • An even lesser extent, but a large portion of their songs fall in the 5-10 minute range. Some examples: "Aqualung" (6:34), "To Cry You a Song" (6:09), "Minstrel in the Gallery" (8:13), "Too Old to Rock 'N' Roll: Too Young to Die!" (5:44), "Budapest" (10:05)
  • Excited Show Title!: "Too Old to Rock 'N' Roll: Too Young to Die!" Both the album and the song.
  • Filk Song: "Dot Com" is about a relationship over the Internet. Particularly notable in that it was written in 1999, before that sort of thing became common.
    • Many of the songs on Under Wraps are heavily based around Spy Fiction.
    • "Enter the Uninvited" rattles off a bunch of pop culture references.
  • Four More Measures: The opening riff in Aqualung is played twice.
    • It plays three times to close the song.
    • The acoustic riff that opens "Thick as a Brick" plays at least a dozen times throughout the song.
  • Genre Adultery: "Living in the Past" was their first hit that broke away from their blues sound and towards their prog-folk sound. Allegedly, Anderson wrote it in 5/4 because he didn't want it to be a breakout hit, but the masses ran with it anyway.
  • Green Aesop: "Wond'ring Again"; the Stormwatch album.
    • "The Browning of the Green" from Homo Erraticus.
  • 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
  • Nepotism: A very minor example, but "Enter the Uninvited" ends by mentioning The Walking Dead and specifically mentions "Officer Rick." Rick Grimes is played by Andrew Lincoln, Ian Anderson's son-in-law.
  • New Sound Album: Aqualung marked the full shift away from jazz-blues-rock to Progressive Rock. Songs From The Wood led Tull into a British progressive folk-rock sound, which they sustained for the next two albums. "A" brought synth sounds and '80's technology to their repertoire, while Crest Of A Knave led them into a prog-folk/hard-rock sound with more emphasis on electric guitar. Tull experimented with East Indian and Oriental influences by Roots To Branches.
  • 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..."
  • Self-Deprecation: Despite the popularity of the song, Ian always refers to "Bourée" as a "dreadful piece of lounge jazz."
  • Sophisticated as Hell: God in "A Passion Play."
  • Scotland: Ian Anderson is Scottish.
  • Stalker with a Crush: "Watching Me Watching You". However, this is not a completely straight example, as the protagonist has no idea who the stalker is or what he wants.
  • 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.
  • Vocal Tag Team: Ian Anderson and Ryan O'Donnell do this at concerts now.
  • 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 for a film project.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: Especially on Thick As A Brick.
    • "Mother Goose" is pretty nonsensical, too.

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alternative title(s): Jethro Tull
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