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Music / Thick as a Brick

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"And your wise men don't know how it feels..."
Thick as a Brick is the fifth studio album by Progressive Rock band Jethro Tull, released in 1972 through Chrysalis Records in the UK and Reprise Records in the US. Surprised that critics called Aqualung a concept album, bandleader Ian Anderson sought out to create "the mother of all concept albums" with Thick as a Brick. The album is supposedly an adaptation of an epic poem by a child prodigy named Gerald Bostock, who was disqualified from a poetry competition due to the offensive nature of the poem; in reality, all of the lyrics were written by Ian Anderson. Original copies were packaged with a parody newspaper giving more detail to the concept.


Side One:
  1. Thick as a Brick, Part I (22:40)

Side Two:

  1. Thick as a Brick, Part II (21:06)

25th Anniversary Edition bonus tracks:

  1. Thick as a Brick (1978 live version at Madison Square Garden) (11:50)
  2. Interview with Jethro Tull (16:30)

40th Anniversary Special Edition (Streaming Version) tracklist:

  1. Really Don't Mind / See There, A Son Is Born (5:00)
  2. The Poet and the Painter (5:29)
  3. What Do You Do When the Old Man's Gone / From the Upper Class (5:25)
  4. You Curl Your Toes in Fun / Childhood Heroes / Stabs Instrumental (6:48)
  5. See There, A Man Is Born / Clear White Circles (5:58)
  6. Legends and Believe in the Day (6:34)
  7. Tales of Your Life (5:24)
  8. Childhood Heroes Reprise (2:56)

Bonus Disc (40th Anniversary Release):

  1. Thick as a Brick, Part I (5.1 Surround Mix) (22:44)
  2. Thick as a Brick, Part II (5.1 Surround Mix) (20:54)
  3. Thick as a Brick, Part I (2012 Stereo Mix) (22:44)
  4. Thick as a Brick, Part II (2012 Stereo Mix) (20:54)
  5. Thick as a Brick, Part I (Original Stereo Mix) (22:44)
  6. Thick as a Brick, Part II (Original Stereo Mix) (20:54)
  7. 1972 Radio Ad (1:02)

Thick as a Brick contains examples of:

  • Album Title Drop: The title appears in the chorus of the first section. The chorus is reprised at the end of the last section, making it also a Finale Title Drop.
    "And your wise men don't know how it feels to be thick as a brick."
  • All There in the Manual: The fake newspaper packaged with the original album, which provides an in-universe background to the album and effectively serves as the liner notes.
    • The "Poem" of much controversy is presented in full within the newspaper and acts as the lyric sheet for the piece.
  • Asians Eat Pets: One of the fake stories in the newspaper replicates the urban legend of a couple vacationing in Hong Kong who asks for their dog to be fed, but due to the Language Barrier, the waiter has the dog cooked and served to them.note 
  • Concept Album: A parody of the genre.
  • Epic Rocking: 43 minutes from start to finish, with an interval in the middle to let the listener flip over the record.
  • Longest Song Goes First: The album is usually considered a single 44-minute song, but it had to be split in two for the vinyl pressing, and as a result the first half technically counts, at 22:40.
  • Packaged as Other Medium: The album cover is an elaborate Affectionate Parody of a rural British newspaper called The St. Cleve Chronicle and Linwell Advertiser.
  • Running Gag: Many in the cover newspaper, including penguin hunting and the "non-rabbit".
  • Stealth Parody: Of Progressive Rock and Concept Albums, born out of critics mislabeling Aqualung (Jethro Tull Album) as one.
    • Springtime for Hitler: It's still praised as one of Progressive Rock's greatest achievements and for some even Jethro Tull's masterpiece. Unlike other examples of this trope, Ian Anderson doesn't mind this at all.
  • Title Track: The only track, in fact.note 
    • Subverted on the streaming version of the 40th Anniversary Special Edition, which includes 8 tracks, none of which are title tracks.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: Parodied Trope.