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Jethro Tull biography
"I didn`t have to play it all the time, I just had to wave it around and look good" - Ian Anderson 2003.

Eccentric on stage yet rather thoughtful, reserved and even sombre at times when not in the limelight, the Jethro Tull image was the brainchild of flute wielding frontman Ian Anderson. Clad in scruffy vagabond apparel, and looking more like an anachronism out of a Charles Dickens tale, Anderson conveyed an old English aura during the band`s formative years in the late 60`s and early 70`s which would persist throughout the band's 40 year career both visually and musically.

Born on August 10, 1947 in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland, Anderson was augmented by a revolving door of colourful musicians over the years which added to the flamboyance of the Jethro Tull phenomenon. Conceived as a psychedelic blues band in late 1967 the music of Jethro Tull has always been dauntingly intricate embracing many styles including blues, jazz, folk, medieval, classical, hard rock along with forays into electronic music, sometimes referred to as "space age prog". The lyrics were equally as sophisticated and sometimes reached new heights of grandiloquence commenting on depressing world events such as drug abuse, the oil crisis, modernisation, third world troubles and a deteriorating economy.. Other topics included fads, spy novels, environmental and social issues as well as metaphysical musings. With lyrics and music which ran deep Jethro Tull have often been over-analysed by both fans and critics alike and many of their albums have been erroneously interpreted as autobiographical due to the fact that many of their record covers featured artwork which seemed to depict Ian Anderson's likeness, something which he has vehemently denied in numerous interviews.

Jethro Tull can trace their origins back to 1963 when as a young art student in Blackpool, England Anderson formed a band called THE BLADES (after a club in a James Bond novel). By 1965 as a 7-piece they had changed their name to THE JOHN EVAN BAND and subsequently to THE JOHN EVAN SMASH (his mother supplied their tour van) Evan, whose real name was Evans, would eventually become the band's keyboard player for most of the seventies. The band relocated to London in`67, the centre of the British blues movement of the sixties in search of more lucrative gigs. However the band was gradually dissolved after which Anderson and bass player Glen Cornick joined up...
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Jethro Tull - The String QuartetsJethro Tull - The String Quartets
BMG Rights Management (UK) Ltd 2017
Audio CD$11.99
Stand Up (The Elevated Edition)(Limited Edition)(2CD/DVD)Stand Up (The Elevated Edition)(Limited Edition)(2CD/DVD)
Rhino/Parlophone 2016
Audio CD$25.61
$28.73 (used)
Aqualung (Steven Wilson Mix)Aqualung (Steven Wilson Mix)
Rhino/Parlophone 2015
Audio CD$5.80
$6.03 (used)
Thick As A BrickThick As A Brick
Parlophone 1998
Audio CD$6.85
$4.40 (used)
Very Best of Jethro TullVery Best of Jethro Tull
Parlophone 2001
Audio CD$3.58
$2.98 (used)
Stand Up (Steven Wilson Remix)Stand Up (Steven Wilson Remix)
Rhino/Parlophone 2017
Audio CD$7.96
$6.99 (used)
Aqualung 40th AnniversaryAqualung 40th Anniversary
Parlophone 2011
Audio CD$14.33
$13.33 (used)
Minstrel In The Gallery 40th Anniversary La Grande Édition (2CD/2DVD)Minstrel In The Gallery 40th Anniversary La Grande Édition (2CD/2DVD)
Deluxe Edition
Rhino/Parlophone 2015
Audio CD$29.70
$29.69 (used)
Triple Album Collection (This Was/Stand Up/Benefit) - Jethro TullTriple Album Collection (This Was/Stand Up/Benefit) - Jethro Tull
Chrysalis 2015
Audio CD$8.60
$8.87 (used)
Original Album Series (5CD)Original Album Series (5CD)
Rhino/Parlophone 2014
Audio CD$10.24
$26.17 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Warchild - Jethro Tull (CD Used Very Good) USD $12.86 Buy It Now
Jethro Tull Stand up orig.1969 Reprise 6360 fold out cover USD $7.00 [0 bids]
Jethro Tull Living in the past orig.1972 Chrysalis 1034 2X USD $7.00 [0 bids]
JETHRO TULL "A" RECORD LP CHE 1301 NM+/M- SOUND 1980 Ian Anderson (PROMO) USD $1.00 [1 bids]
JETHRO TULL - NOTHING IS EASY- 2004-CD USD $0.99 [1 bids]
JETHRO TULL Nothing Is Easy LIVE @ Isle of Wight JAPAN '04 Mini LP CD VACM-1256 USD $49.99 Buy It Now
Jethro Tull Benefit LP Reprise Records RS 6400 (JACKET ONLY) USD $1.95 Buy It Now
Jethro Tull - Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970 [CD New] USD $11.31 Buy It Now
Lot of 2 - JETHRO TULL LIVING IN THE PAST 2LP & M.U. Best Of VG+ USD $11.99 Buy It Now
Mick Abrahams - One (Jethro Tull/Blodwyn Pig/Ian Anderson) New Day/AND CD 7/Rare USD $19.00 [0 bids]
Jethro Tull - Rock Island (1989 CD/Chrysalis/Ian Anderson) Sealed Long Box/NOS USD $25.00 [0 bids]
JETHRO TULL In Concert With Willy Porter November 2001 FLYER UK 2001 A5 Flyer USD $6.23 Buy It Now
JETHRO TULL Aqualung POSTER UK Chrysalis 1971 Repro Promo Poster For New Album USD $9.59 Buy It Now
JETHRO TULL a passion play, nm lp on CHRYSALIS, 1973, ATTACHED PLAYBILL USD $9.95 Buy It Now
JETHRO TULL Benefit LP Reprise 1970 Second Pressing PROGRESSIVE ROCK USD $11.95 [0 bids]
JPN w/Obi - Jethro tull - Roots to branches _ TOCP-8660 USD $11.05 [4 bids]
Live at Madison Square Garden [Video] by Jethro Tull (CD, Sep-2009,... USD $13.62 Buy It Now
Original Memeber of Jethro Tull by Mick Abrahams (CD, Aug-2010) USD $5.83 Buy It Now
New Jethro Tull 8-Track Tape Cartridge Stormwatch 1979 Rock Music Classic Rock USD $5.99 Buy It Now
Jethro Tull - The Broadsword And The Beast LP VG+ CHR 1380 Vinyl Record USD $11.25 Buy It Now
Jethro Tull - Stormwatch -LP, CHRYSALIS 1979( chr1238) USD $5.50 Buy It Now
ROCK DOUBLE LP: JETHRO TULL LIVING IN THE PAST 1972 Chrysalis ?2CH 1035 2TS 2106 USD $19.99 Buy It Now
Jethro Tull - Aqualung - LP - THE 1971 ORIGINAL USD $19.99 Buy It Now
JETHRO TULL Catfish Rising CD UK Chrysalis 1991 13 Track (Ccd1886) USD $6.23 Buy It Now
JETHRO TULL Very Best Of CD European Chrysalis 2001 20 Track (5326142) USD $6.23 Buy It Now
JETHRO TULL Ring Out Solstice Bells 7" VINYL UK Chrysalis 1976 4 Track USD $8.47 Buy It Now
JETHRO TULL Through The Years CD UK Emi 1997 13 Track Gold Series (Cdgold1079) USD $5.98 Buy It Now
JETHRO TULL Benefit CD European Chrysalis 2015 15 Track - The Steven Wilson USD $15.58 Buy It Now
JETHRO TULL Broadsword 7" VINYL German Chrysalis 1982 B/W Watching Me Watching USD $29.43 Buy It Now
JETHRO TULL Ring Out Solstice Bells 7" VINYL UK Chrysalis 1976 4 USD $6.23 Buy It Now
JETHRO TULL Sweet Dream 7" VINYL UK Chrysalis 1969 B/W 17 (Wip6070) Number USD $8.47 Buy It Now
80s Rock JETHRO TULL Crest Of A Knave OV-41590 NM- Shrink! EB880 USD $11.99 Buy It Now
JETHRO TULL Rock Island CASSETTE UK Chrysalis 1989 10 Track (Zchr1708) USD $6.23 Buy It Now
Stormwatch by Jethro Tull 8 track tape tested USD $3.95 Buy It Now
JETHRO TULL Living In The Past CD UK Chrysalis 1993 4 Track Part 1 Of 2 In Z USD $16.33 Buy It Now
Minstrel in the Gallery 0825646157181 by Jethro Tull, CD, BRAND NEW FREE P USD $15.67 Buy It Now
JETHRO TULL "A Passion Play - Edited Version For DJ Use Only" WHITE LABEL PROMO USD $10.00 Buy It Now
20 Years of Jethro Tull: The Definitive Collection USD $30.00 Buy It Now
JETHRO TULL - Aqualung LP USD $31.99 Buy It Now
Jethro Tull Stand Up MFSL GOLD CD Mint USD $399.00 Buy It Now
Jethro Tull: Songs from Wood Japan CD Mini-LP TOCP-67185 Mint (ian anderson Q USD $87.50 Buy It Now
JETHRO TULL A Passion Play 1973 VINYL LP Chrysalis 1040 w Program Book PROG USD $5.00 Buy It Now
The Very Best Of [Jethro Tull] [1 disc] [724353261429] New CD USD $7.69 Buy It Now
Jethro Tull - Warchild The 40th Anniversary Theatre Edition ( Remastered)NEW CD USD $15.95 Buy It Now
Jethro Tull Heavy Horses 1978 Sleeve Scratches D87 USD $13.95 Buy It Now
Jethro Tull Repeat: The Best of Jethro Tull Vol. II Chrysalis Rec Cassette Tape USD $6.00 Buy It Now
Jethro Tull - The Broadsword and the Beast (Cassette Tape) USD $3.71 Buy It Now
Thick As a Brick (Steven Wilson Remix) 0825646146468 by Jethro Tull, CD, NEW USD $10.47 Buy It Now 9m 38s
Aqualung - Jethro Tull 724349540125 (CD Used Very Good) USD $9.86 Buy It Now 23m 59s
Stand Up - Jethro Tull Remastered (CD Used Very Good) Remastered USD $6.02 Buy It Now 24m 2s
JETHRO TULL-living in the past '72 UK 2 LP ORIG+BOOK. PROG.GEM STUDIO/LIVE USD $31.19 Buy It Now 49m 28s
JETHRO TULL 40th Anniversary Tour Book Concert Program 2008 Ian Anderson Rock USD $32.50 Buy It Now 50m 36s
Jethro Tull/Aqualung.UK Chrysalis/Island LP USD $62.38 Buy It Now 1h 2m
Jethro Tull - Minstrel In The Gallery Original 1975 Chrysalis Records CD Nice! USD $12.95 Buy It Now 1h 20m
Jethro Tull - War Child - CD Album Damaged Case USD $12.87 Buy It Now 1h 44m
Jethro Tull - Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970 (NEW CD+DVD) USD $17.76 Buy It Now 1h 51m
David Bowie Aladdin Sane English Record Rock Pop Music Mag New Order Jethro Tull USD $19.95 Buy It Now 1h 55m
Jethro Tull magazine Ian Anderson FREDDIE MERCURY QUEEN ENGLISH ROCK PROG MUSIC USD $23.02 Buy It Now 2h 29m
Jethro Tull - A Passion Play Record Rare 1973 USD $3.73 [0 bids]
2h 32m
Rock Roll Music Record Album ~JETHRO TULL~Vintage Vinyl 33 RPM LP w/BOOKLET 1973 USD $22.95 Buy It Now 3h
USD $75.99 Buy It Now
3h 2m
Jethro Tull: Songs From The Wood Vinyl LP. Read Details Before Bidding USD $1.24 [1 bids]
3h 11m
Jethro Tull M.U. + Poster - stickered p/s vinyl LP album record UK CHR1078 USD $42.35 Buy It Now 3h 35m
JETHRO TULL BOUREE 7" French 1969 USD $14.99 Buy It Now 3h 38m
Essential - Jethro Tull 9340650017517 (CD Used Very Good) USD $8.19 Buy It Now 3h 47m
Jethro Tull Bungle In The Jungle Aussie Oz 7" Vinyl Record USD $7.67 Buy It Now 3h 51m
Jethro Tull: Benefit Japan CD Mini-LP [1st] TOCP-65881 w/1st Promo Obi (Q USD $94.50 Buy It Now 4h 14m
Jethro Tull Living In The Past - Softback UK 2-LP vinyl record (Double Album) USD $61.44 Buy It Now 4h 27m
Jethro Tull Sweet Dream Dutch 7" vinyl single record 388860UF ISLAND 1969 USD $53.58 Buy It Now 4h 32m
Living In The Past Jethro Tull Dutch 7" vinyl single record WIP6056 ISLAND USD $84.77 Buy It Now 4h 32m
Jethro Tull 7" vinyl single record Living In The Past French WIP6056 ISLAND USD $34.87 Buy It Now 4h 32m
Jethro Tull A Stitch In Time 7" vinyl single record Australian K7294 CHRYSALIS USD $59.82 Buy It Now 4h 32m
Jethro Tull A Stitch In Time Yugoslavian 7" vinyl single record SL0204 USD $47.34 Buy It Now 4h 32m
A Stitch In Time Jethro Tull 7" vinyl single record Dutch 100049 CHRYSALIS USD $47.34 Buy It Now 4h 32m
Jethro Tull 'A' USA vinyl LP album record CHE1301 CHRYSALIS 1980 USD $23.64 Buy It Now 4h 35m
La Espada Y La Bestia Jethro Tull vinyl LP album record Argentinean AVI-5025 USD $48.59 Buy It Now 4h 37m
'A' Jethro Tull Argentinean vinyl LP album record AVSI-4865 CHRYSALIS 1980 USD $36.12 Buy It Now 4h 37m
Jethro Tull Minstrel In The Gallery - 1st - EX vinyl LP album record UK USD $54.83 Buy It Now 4h 49m
Bungle In The Jungle Jethro Tull German 7" vinyl single record 6155032 USD $41.11 Buy It Now 4h 55m
Jethro Tull Broadsword 7" vinyl single record UK K-8720 CHRYSALIS 1982 USD $53.58 Buy It Now 4h 55m

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JETHRO TULL discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

JETHRO TULL top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.32 | 721 ratings
This Was
4.05 | 1066 ratings
Stand Up
3.91 | 900 ratings
4.33 | 2238 ratings
4.63 | 2883 ratings
Thick As A Brick
4.01 | 1266 ratings
A Passion Play
3.30 | 705 ratings
War Child
4.02 | 1034 ratings
Minstrel In The Gallery
3.08 | 649 ratings
Too Old To Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young To Die!
4.18 | 1219 ratings
Songs From The Wood
4.03 | 991 ratings
Heavy Horses
3.47 | 630 ratings
3.20 | 524 ratings
3.27 | 563 ratings
The Broadsword And The Beast
2.23 | 445 ratings
Under Wraps
3.03 | 130 ratings
A Classic Case
3.23 | 504 ratings
Crest Of A Knave
2.70 | 393 ratings
Rock Island
2.62 | 366 ratings
Catfish Rising
3.65 | 442 ratings
Roots To Branches
3.04 | 373 ratings
J-Tull Dot Com
3.52 | 352 ratings
The Jethro Tull Christmas Album

JETHRO TULL Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.16 | 368 ratings
Live - Bursting Out
2.87 | 48 ratings
Live At Hammersmith '84
3.64 | 164 ratings
A Little Light Music
3.03 | 42 ratings
In Concert
3.63 | 109 ratings
Living With The Past
4.09 | 143 ratings
Nothing Is Easy: Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970
3.46 | 93 ratings
Aqualung Live
3.75 | 81 ratings
Live At Montreux 2003
4.21 | 14 ratings
Live At Carnegie Hall 1970

JETHRO TULL Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.84 | 49 ratings
Slipstream (DVD)
3.73 | 36 ratings
20 Years of Jethro Tull (VHS)
3.41 | 74 ratings
Living With the Past
3.03 | 45 ratings
A New Day Yesterday - The 25th Anniversary Collection
3.83 | 85 ratings
Nothing Is Easy: Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970
3.12 | 60 ratings
Live At Montreux 2003
3.95 | 21 ratings
Slipstream (9 song version)
4.33 | 27 ratings
Classic Artists Series: Jethro Tull
3.32 | 28 ratings
Jack In The Green - Live In Germany
3.75 | 21 ratings
Songs From Bethlehem
4.44 | 93 ratings
Live At Madison Square Garden 1978 (DVD + CD)
3.88 | 32 ratings
Live at AVO Session Basel 2008
4.54 | 28 ratings
Around the World Live (4DVD)

JETHRO TULL Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.13 | 290 ratings
Living In The Past
3.09 | 72 ratings
M.U. - The Best Of Jethro Tull
3.17 | 47 ratings
Repeat - The Best Of Jethro Tull - Vol. II
3.20 | 67 ratings
Original Masters
3.60 | 75 ratings
20 Years Of Jethro Tull Box
4.53 | 74 ratings
20 Years Of Jethro Tull (The Definitive Collection)
3.73 | 46 ratings
20 Years Of Jethro Tull (USA release)
3.63 | 144 ratings
3.81 | 46 ratings
The Best Of Jethro Tull: The Anniversary Collection
4.39 | 72 ratings
25th Anniversary Box Set
2.63 | 23 ratings
A Jethro Tull Collection
1.50 | 28 ratings
Through The Years
2.99 | 65 ratings
The Very Best Of Jethro Tull
2.52 | 14 ratings
Essential Jethro Tull
3.38 | 49 ratings
The Best Of Acoustic Jethro Tull
3.79 | 43 ratings
The Jethro Tull Christmas Album / Live - Christmas At St Bride's 2008
4.67 | 45 ratings
Aqualung - 40th Anniversary Collector's Edition
4.85 | 63 ratings
Thick As A Brick - 40th Anniversary Special Edition
4.89 | 50 ratings
A Passion Play: An Extended Perfomance
4.48 | 31 ratings
War Child - The 40th Anniversary Theatre Edition
4.81 | 33 ratings
Minstrel In The Gallery - 40th Anniversary: La Grande Edition

JETHRO TULL Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.79 | 14 ratings
Love Story
4.14 | 21 ratings
A Song For Jeffrey
3.12 | 15 ratings
Sunshine Day
4.11 | 26 ratings
Sweet Dream / 17
4.16 | 19 ratings
The Witch's Promise
4.63 | 28 ratings
Living In The Past
3.88 | 16 ratings
4.63 | 32 ratings
Life Is A Long Song
4.13 | 16 ratings
Hymn 43
4.40 | 21 ratings
4.00 | 2 ratings
Locomotive Breath
4.18 | 28 ratings
Living In The Past
3.57 | 23 ratings
Bungle In The Jungle
3.20 | 21 ratings
Ring Out Solstice Bells
4.00 | 3 ratings
Too Old To Rock 'N' Roll; Too Young To Die
4.24 | 25 ratings
The Whistler
3.60 | 5 ratings
A Stitch In Time
4.07 | 26 ratings
3.67 | 6 ratings
Warm Sporran
2.70 | 18 ratings
North Sea Oil
4.44 | 16 ratings
Home E.P.
3.13 | 20 ratings
Working John, Working Joe
3.23 | 20 ratings
Fallen On Hard Times
3.37 | 19 ratings
3.05 | 19 ratings
Lap Of Luxury
4.50 | 2 ratings
3.92 | 13 ratings
3.77 | 13 ratings
Said She Was A Dancer 12''
3.60 | 15 ratings
Steel Monkey 12''
5.00 | 2 ratings
Part Of The Machine
3.74 | 18 ratings
Another Christmas Song
3.58 | 17 ratings
This Is Not Love
3.84 | 16 ratings
Rocks On The Road
3.00 | 14 ratings
Living in the (Slightly More Recent) Past / Living in the Past
2.67 | 18 ratings
Rare And Precious Chain
3.25 | 16 ratings
Bends Like A Willow
3.22 | 9 ratings
The Christmas EP
5.00 | 2 ratings
Living in the Past


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Aqualung by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.33 | 2238 ratings

Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by VianaProghead

5 stars Review Nº 111

'Aqualung' is the fourth studio album of Jethro Tull and was released in 1971. The album is divided into two distinct parts. The first part 'Aqualung' contains a series of themes with six characters, including individuals of questionable reputation and two autobiographical passages. The second part 'My God' contains a message that is generally described as 'pro-God but anti-church', and says that organized religion can actually restrict a person's relationship with his God, instead of improving it. The album had a kind of a split concept where the first side featured songs about poor people and social differences, while the second side was about the problems and evil of organized religion.

The band's lead singer and songwriter Ian Anderson was surprised by the critical reaction to 'Aqualung'. The critics said that 'Aqualung' was a conceptual album, a label he firmly rejected. He said that the album was just a collection of songs and nothing more than that. With their following studio album 'Thick As A Brick', the band set out to create a work that deliberately integrated around one concept, 'the mother of all conceptual albums', such as Anderson said once in an interview, in response to those who deliberately maintained that 'Aqualung' was a conceptual album.

'Aqualung' was recorded at the same time and in the same studio, in Island Studios in December 1970, with the fourth studio album of Led Zeppelin. While recording a section of the album's title song 'Aqualung', lead guitarist Martin Barre was moved to impress his counterpart, Jimmy Page and laid down a solo that was totally unorthodox for his style. The result is now an indelible part of Jethro Tull's legacy, as 'Aqualung' the song and 'Aqualung' the album, are among their most famous musical works, undoubtedly. This little example of Barre's guitar work is one of the things that, for better or for worse, make of 'Aqualung' one of the most unusual (top-notch) albums in all rock history.

'Aqualung' has eleven tracks. All tracks were written and composed by Ian Anderson, except the first track 'Aqualung' that was written and composed by Ian Anderson and Jennie Anderson, his first wife. The first track 'Aqualung', who gave its name to the album is without any doubt the best song on the album and is also, in my opinion, one of the best Jethro Tull's songs. It's a very well known song, heavy and dark, with acoustic elements. This is a perfect song to open this album. The second track 'Cross-Eyed Mary' is also one of the great songs on the album and makes a perfect sequence with the first song. This is a classic Jethro Tull's piece of music with a strong classic rock vein. The third track 'Cheap Day Return' is one of the shortest songs on the album. It's a very beautiful acoustic guitar song, one of the best I've heard. The fourth track 'Mother Goose' is another great song by the band. It's also another classic Jethro Tull's song and one of the best known. It's a nice acoustic folkie melodic oriented song. The fifth track 'Wond'ring Aloud' is the second short song of the album. Like the first, it's also a nice ballad, but this time with acoustic guitar and piano, and is very well orchestrated. The sixth track 'Up To Me' is a song with some interesting moments, but no more than that. Sincerely, besides being the last song of the 'Aqualung' part is also, in my opinion, the weakest song on that part. The seventh track 'My God' is also a great song with cynical and critical lyrics and with beautiful flute parts. Musically, is a song with some complexity and we can notice some more progressive elements than in the most of the albums. The eighth track 'Hymn 43' is a typical and good rock song with powerful riffs and with good combination of piano and flute. The ninth track 'Slipstream' is the third track on 'My God' and the last small song on the album. It's a nice acoustic ballad with a good orchestration. The tenth track 'Locomotive Breath' is another Jethro Tull's legendary track with great piano, guitar and flute works. It's my favourite song on the second part of the record and it's also with 'Aqualung', 'Cross-Eyed Mary' and 'My God', one of the best tracks on the album. The eleventh and last track 'Wind Up' is a great rocking and exciting song of the album. This is a very good way to finish this incredible cult album.

Conclusion: I have 'Aqualung' in my vinyl collection since the 70's. There are so many classic songs on this album like 'Aqualung', 'Locomotive Breath' and 'My God'. But songs like 'Cross-Eyed Mary', 'Mother Goose' and 'Hymn 43' are immediately recognized as well. It's really hard to believe that all this music comes from the singular mind of only a man, Anderson. This was Jethro Tull's first mega-hit album and the one that really broke them all over the world. Deservedly, it's now considered as one of the best prog albums of 1971. This is a very innovating album, filled with hard rock, folk and progressive rock influences all around. The contrast of songs is amazing and each track is very different. If you don't know this album yet, it will stick in your head for weeks. This is undoubtedly one of my favourite albums of all time. If you consider yourself a true classic rock fan, you must own this album. Or if you have any self-respect for your musical taste at all, buy this album. This is really a masterpiece, a must hear album for all progressive rock fans.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 A Passion Play by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.01 | 1266 ratings

A Passion Play
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by CapnBearbossa

5 stars A controversial work in the TULL gallery?

Probably, but it shouldn't be. The controversy turns almost exclusively on how many times the album has been listened to before the audient decides, "WOW, Great!" or "Ugh, total rubbish...." Those who purchase it on the heels of falling in love with its considerably more celebrated predecessor, Thick As A Brick (TAAB) , may be disappointed upon hearing it the first time; this is an almost universal reaction, and yet there are many out there who have moved past that first listening because of some kernel of value they heard, despite their shocked first impressions. So it was with me - JETHRO TULL fan boy that I am - I must admit to having hated the record on first hearing. IAN ANDERSON's creative output is incredibly varied, and I was used to that, but A PASSION PLAY's histrionic vocal delivery, abstract lyrics, and near tunelessness (as I perceived it at the time) made me think I'd never learn to like it. And what were they thinking with that story interlude about the Hare and his Spectacles, anyway?

A PASSION PLAY (APP)'s instrumental parts definitely avoid giving a cohesive, or even pleasant, impression, at first. The music is as esoteric and hyperactive as the vocals are manic, and it never stays in one place for very long. Though it takes a page from TAAB's playbook in terms of setting up an album-long song in a stunning symphonic web of sound, using an array of different instruments many of us have probably never heard (never mind heard of !), it is really a work of astonishing complexity that puts it beyond TAAB, if not at the absolute pinnacle of Mr. ANDERSON's musical achievements. The flute is given a lesser role than in most other TULL albums - I guess Ian wanted to try his hand at sax a bit instead - and many more rules are broken than would be typical in the cycle of presenting a work of rock music to the listener. Is this really rock'n'roll? No, in fact: We have left that world almost totally behind, and we're coming pretty close to a jazz structure here, even if played with predominantly rock instruments -- in a similar vein to how TAAB appropriates the structural and stylistic attributes of traditional English folk .

APP offers many rewards for a dedicated listener, but those rewards only are yielded with time and attention, so ... there you are. In this day and age how many people entering the fold as newbie prog fans (or fans from other prog lands just giving Tull a try because they've heard it's good) are going to give the time and attention that such a work demands? I write this in 2017, and much of the new work out there that passes for 'progressive' seems to take more cues from the accessible works of Genesis, Yes, and Rush -- the more accessible and pop-oriented bands of the 70's prog scene -- than from anything ambitious like this. And I suspect that the disease of our age, namely the rampant ADHD fuelled by action movies and ultraviolent video games, is driving us away from our ability to appreciate a sublime piece of music that develops itself across a span of 50 minutes. All I can say is this: if one reads reviews that throw shade at A PASSION PLAY, one might be inclined to give up on it immediately, but a better idea would be to play it in the background while reading a good book (oh wait, do we still have those?). Having taken this advice, by time you get done with it I will guarantee you will find its appeal has matured a bit. Or maybe it will have become more selective ... or at least you will have earned the right to pawn the record off on a friend!

 A Passion Play by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.01 | 1266 ratings

A Passion Play
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja
Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

2 stars "Ambitious Concept Albums 2: Electric Boogaloo"

After the smash mega-hit "Thick As A Brick", I suppose that, in an almost Hollywood-like fashion, Ian Anderson was just seeking to one up himself. And, in much the same way that many a blockbuster sequel bombs in comparison to the source material, "A Passion Play" has certainly not maintained nearly as much respect as its predecessor. However, unlike many a b-movie flopper, Jethro Tull's most notorious work isn't quite so crippled in awfulness, and does still have some redeeming features. As with "Thick As A Brick", though, it suffers from many of the same plights.

After "Thick As A Brick" firmly established Tull as a band capable of competing in the world of progressive rock, "A Passion Play" took this prowess a step further. The typical folk influences in Jethro Tull's music are toned down, and the album seems to be the nearest to symphonic prog as they ever got. The playing on here is even more complex and technical than on "Thick As A Brick", and the arrangements even more erratic. However, it seems that, being swept up in chart success, the band didn't think critically on how they could move forward and improve what they did the first time around. Indeed, the technicality is usual for nought. As I've always maintained, technique and virtuosity should only serve to augment already strong music; it should never serve as the be-all, end-all. And just like in "Thick As A Brick", if you look past the concept, the abrupt and erratic musical changes seem to be done more as a sleight of hand, to distract from the fact that the music has no emotional grounding.

Speaking of the concept, "A Passion Play" is a definite step down from "Thick As A Brick". While the latter was actually quite clever, I'm honestly not even sure what this one is supposed to be about. The lyrics are utter nonsense. Normally I don't have any problem with that. Take Yes for instance: Jon Anderson's lyrics may be cryptic and have no literal meaning, but it's very clear how his words and phrases augment the sentiments and mood of the song, and his angelic voice blends with and even carries the music. The same can be said for many other prog bands where the voice serves as just another instrument. This is problematic for Tull, though, because frankly, Ian Anderson just isn't a good singer. In addition to having no charisma in his voice, it sounds like he's straining (even suffering) to sing even the simplest of phrases. As a result, the vocal-driven sections of the album are plain unenjoyable, just as they were on "Thick As A Brick", and virtually all Tull material for that matter.

In all, it's easy to see why prog gets attacked as pretentious when albums like this are being put out. Unnecessarily over-the-top arrangements, with little more charm to go by than flipping through the dictionary to see the longest words they could find (e.g. surreptitiously) and assaulting the listener with unrelenting English-ness. If you're into prog just to appreciate technical performances, or to sit in the den, stroking your chin while admiring how smart you are, then this should be right up your alley. But if you actually enjoy mood, atmosphere, or genuine pathos, then look anywhere else but here. If you're a Jethro Tull fan and loved "Thick As a Brick", you might enjoy this one as the endearing sequel, but there are no guarantees. While the intricate performances on the album demand so much more, I find this one straddling the line between 2 and 3 stars for a rating. I'll be conservative and err towards the lower end of that. There are many Tull fans who consider this work near and dear to their hearts, but this certainly isn't something anyone should go out of their way to get into.

 A Passion Play by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.01 | 1266 ratings

A Passion Play
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by Sgai Friend

5 stars I was surprised to find "A Passion Play" currently rating lower than "Thick As A Brick" and "Aqualung". I was in the (fortuitous?) situation of hearing PP first among JETHRO TULL's albums, in the year of its release. So I have tended to measure their other albums - and in fact all prog rock albums - against this one. For me, ever since, and despite Ian Anderson's embarrassment about it, this has simply stood out as a masterpiece of music.

It is less folky than TAB, less rocky than "Aqualung", with a richer and more varied sonic language than any of JT's other albums. I believe part of this is due to a fortuitous mix of band-members, with the humor of Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond and John Evan, and the bewildering inventiveness of Barriemore Barlow. In addition, I believe that Ian Anderson was more experimental, less inhibited and inhibiting, more concerned with making a parody of "art rock", all the while (perhaps unwittingly) guiding the work to an apotheosis of the same.

One thing which struck me was the oddly operatic, absurd-dramatic sense pervading the "scenes". I admire the way the lyrics don't quite describe anything directly, but still convey curious vignettes. This was true of TAB as well, but in PP I feel more a sense of the archetypal and mythical. But then tinged with the class-system gutter V courtyard style of many of Anderson's lyrics. I find many prog epics in the list are way too pedestrian in their texts, let alone subtexts, by comparison.

Of course there are stunning instrumental passages and interesting changes of flavor throughout the two-sided epic. And I really enjoy the Interlude story, a brilliantly scored musical cartoon. But, being a drummer myself, what struck me most among the good performances on this album was Barlow's contribution. His drum parts on this album are among the most "musical" applications of a drum kit I have ever come across (his work on the shorter tracks for "Minstrel In The Gallery" is also excellent).

After many years of listening to this record, I still find it enthralling. It may lose a half-star for a slight lack of momentum in the final scenes, but I found that lack was even more noticeable in its popular sibling "Thick As A Brick". In any case, this for me has everything I seek in prog rock - or "art rock" as it was once called.

 Thick As A Brick by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.63 | 2883 ratings

Thick As A Brick
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by Luqueasaur

5 stars I'll begin by citing Rolling Stone's commentary on THICK AS A BRICK, which I find absolutely curious: "Miffed that many critics mistook 1971's Aqualung for a concept album, Tull leader Ian Anderson decided to follow it up by parodying the entire concept-album concept. [...] It was a brilliant prank ? one so seamlessly executed, in fact, that most people didn't get the joke. Not that they needed to in order to enjoy it." (from 50 Greatest Prog Rock Albums of All Time)

When one meets the eerie THICK AS A BRICK and its famed lengthiness (although, honestly, it's no shocker for prog rock veterans) they might become apprehensive. For comparative purposes, we have THE DEVIL GLITCH, by CHRIS BUTLER, which is an hour long alt/pop-rock epic, which possibly has all the flaws our aforementioned "one" fears: repetitiveness and incapability to keep you focused the entire song. Well, if THE DEVIL GLITCH have those characteristics, then it's the perfect antithesis of THICK AS A BRICK.

The album is ever changing from mellow to ecstatic pieces; from flute-ridden solos to keyboard-guitar duos (especially the magnificent Pt. I outro); from guitar solos to vocal-drums-keyboard accompaniment. There's constant tempo and time signature changes, emphasis on the constant. Another point to compare to THE DEVIL GLITCH is the lyrically superb production. You get rich, vast, often satirical, often acid, often philosophical, often metalinguistic, often metaphorical lines. JETHRO TULL utilizes a wide array of literary features to bring a vast experience, lyrically speaking.

THICK AS A BRICK is - as many hundreds of thousands of people agree, and a few thousand attest publically through nominal reviews - a masterpiece of the progressive genre. Literally one of the gems of the "progressive genre" crown.


 Under Wraps by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1984
2.23 | 445 ratings

Under Wraps
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by johntetrad

5 stars I have never understood what Tull fans have against Under Wraps. It's arguably, in performance terms, the finest album in the whole of the Tull catalogue, with Anderson's voice never better, Barre's guitar thoughtful and Vetesse's keyboard arrangements always inventive and amusing. Anderson embraced the technology of the earaly 80s and truly mastered it, his drum programming and use of the Fairlight being particularly skilful. Now, yes, this album owes a deep debt to some other contemporary LPs of the time, not least The Golden Age of Wireless by Thomas Dolby and those by the post-John Foxx Ultravox (Chrysalis label mates of course). But these new influences refresh the Tull sound greatly and the whole band sound enthused and engaged.

The full 15 track CD version is the version to seek out. Highlights include the superbly brooding "Later That Same Evening", the thuggish strut of "Saboteur", the rollercoaster ride of "Heat" and the earworm riff of "Paparazzi". Had any of these songs appeared on "Warchild", "Stormwatch" or even "Broadsword and the Beast", with a 'real drummer', they would have stuck in the Tull live set for years. As things turned out, the Tull fan base took its collective ball home and refused to play, which was a real shame. The 1984 live renditions of the UW material (with added 'real drummer'!) are spirited and infectious. Sadly, the band seemed to lose confidence in the material and by the time Tull returned in 1987, they had all been dropped. True, Anderson struggled to sing much of the material live, contributing to the throat problems which have plagued him ever since (although I can't help musing that a 24/7 pipe smoking habit probably wasn't the best idea for the lead vocalist of a rock band), but the material could have been re-arranged, lowered in pitch, played instrumentally and so forth.

Under Wraps is not my favourite Tull album - that would be A Passion Play. But I enjoy UW almost as much... the different sound, instruments and arrangements are just part and parcel of the eclecticism of JT - and truly great progressive artists generally. The album rewards repeated, non-judgemental listening. Don't approach this LP with an insatiable craving for soprano sax and hammond organ; just enjoy it for what it is - an album of fantastically enjoyable progressive pop.

 The Jethro Tull Christmas Album by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.52 | 352 ratings

The Jethro Tull Christmas Album
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars In the era of extreme over-commercialization of the Christmas holidays, it seems that everyone and their mother has capitalized on releasing a musical album that commemorates one of the world's most popular holiday seasons which every single year gets pushed harder and earlier in the hope that Santa will be kind to the stock markets. It's all gotten a little too much and with albums being released by everyone from Dolly Parton to Twisted Sister, it can be a little difficult to find that true Christmas spirit. Well, what in the world is a progressive rock lover to do? It seems that the only game in town for the longest time was the Yuletide alter ego of the progressive metal outfit Savatage when they put on their Santa hats and took on their Trans-Siberian Orchestra identity to give the world a true taste of "Jingle Bell Rock." Well, at long last in 2003 one of progressive rocks most revered cohorts came through and delivered us their own take on Christianity's most consecrated occasions. I speak of course of the great JETHRO TULL and with their final album as an official band they went out in the most interesting way by giving us THE JETHRO TULL CHRISTMAS ALBUM and bestowing upon their fans a new way to add some class to their holiday listening season when listening to "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" just won't cut it any more.

This final and fairly unique album in the band's canon is a mix of completely new material and re-recordings of previously released tracks. While most of these tracks were created for the special occasion, Ian Anderson found it appropriate to simply adapt oldies but goodies to the occasion and as a result "A Christmas Song," "Another Christmas Song," "Jack And The Hooded Crow," "Weathercock," "Fire At Midnight" and "Ring Out Solstice Bells" find themselves newly recorded and given a holiday makeover to sit side by side with the newly constructed tracks. And also on board is the long time classic "Bourée" which was given a complete identity change and now feels as it was totally created for holiday cheer in the first place. Although it was originally a Johann Sebastian Bach creation that was originally the fifth movement from "Suite In E Minor For Lute, BWV 996," Anderson deliveries it in his famous style and by attaching an "F" to the lute part. He flautist skills shine on this one and the track is much more upbeat and contains other key arrangements.

THE JETHRO TULL CHRISTMAS ALBUM is a bit surprising in that it doesn't sound like a holiday tribute really. It sounds like a one of the laid back folkier albums such as "Songs Of The Wood" plus extra symphonic and instrumental embellishments. In addition to the standard TULL lineup there are a number of extras on board offering mandolin, violin, viola, cello, accordion and choral vocals adding a very refined frosting to the band's acoustic folk rock foundation. The tracks are as catchy as anything JT has dished out in the past and although Ian Anderson's vocals may be showing signs of being past their prime, his flautist flair has never been better as he takes on the role of melodist in chief and like a pied-piper of Christmas leads his musical assemblage to add the twists and turns of their established sound to bring it into holiday mode. While many of the tracks clearly have a wintery solstice feel to them, very few actually convey the holiday season in a blatant way other than the occasional lyrical content that clearly depicts certain aspects. There are key moments like at the beginning of "A Christmas Song" that have sleigh bells which is clearly brings Christmas to mind but they soon subside and allow the mandolin based folk track to shine.

When all is said and done, THE JETHRO TULL CHRISTMAS ALBUM sounds to me exactly like what Christmas would have been like in the English countryside long before the commercialization machine so successfully infiltrated every aspect of the holiday season. The folk rock mixed with acoustic symphonic touches very much corresponds to the wintery grey sky world as depicted by the album cover. This is the kind of album that you could rightfully put on any time of the year as it doesn't sound significantly different from the lighter and airier offerings by JT but should best be experienced with mulled wine, good friends and family as a nice supplement and more serious soundtrack to interrupt the regularly scheduled program of stale kids' songs and cheesy parodies that have outstayed their welcome for quite some time. While this will probably never achieve any top status in the JT canon, it certainly does attain a true respectful and non-commercial representation of the Christmas season and a brilliant way to end a most successful career and for the listener a most stressful year. Highly recommended for those who find themselves not digging the holiday music scene very much. This just might work for you.

 Live - Bursting Out by JETHRO TULL album cover Live, 1978
4.16 | 368 ratings

Live - Bursting Out
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars As much success as JETHRO TULL had releasing one huge successful album after another throughout the 1970s, it wasn't until 1978 that they put out their first official live release in the form of the double album BURSTING OUT which would only come out after the release and tour of their eleventh studio album "Heavy Horses". As a result of waiting so long the playlist is quite the sampling of the band's entire canon up to the point that this particular live release only contains two tracks from that album. The performances are from the European segment of their tour although the individual tracks remain uncredited for any specific venues so it's likely that instead of an accurate representation of any given night, this is sort of a compilation of the best tracks of the lot and then were compiled and tidied up for this special 93 minute and 31 second celebration of their energetic live performances as an offering to those who were unable to attend their fantastic fun filled folk rock parties in the flesh. As with many albums of the period, this one happens to be one of those that was released differently across the pond having one double album release in the UK originally and once released on CD in the US omitted three tracks ("Quatrain," "Sweet Dream," "Conundrum.") in order to be cheap and throw it all on one disc. This has since been corrected with newer double CD versions retaining the original song listing.

BURSTING OUT begins the festivities with a welcoming introduction in a few European languages before the band members jump right into action on the hard rockin' "No Lullaby" which serves as a sort of warm up practice where they improv around the basic melody on their instruments before Ian Anderson finally kicks in his poetic singing bearded bard persona with his unmistakable vocal signature and then never lets up for the entirety of the double album. BURSTING OUT jumps all over the place as far as representation of their career is concerned. While it does begin with a "Heavy Horses" track, it jumps into the past with the non-album single "Sweet Dream" all the way back from the "Stand Up" days and then into the unavailable anywhere else track "Jack In The Green." The album continues cranking a track or two from almost every album except for "This Was" and "A Passion Play." There is even an outstanding performance of "Thick As A Brick" although it is wisely edited it down to a manageable 12 and a half minutes but nonetheless a power display of their majesty and their ability to pull off all their studio antics in a live setting.

While the band pretty much play together in cooperative and intricate symbiosis there are moments where the occasion allows the performers strut their stuff as when Anderson dishes out a beautifully compelling flute solo on the "Bourée" Medley and Barriemore Barlow is allowed to demonstrate his drums and glockenspiel talents that wouldn't be appropriate on the studio recordings. The band generally play together quite organically and sound on top of their game which at this time they were. This album could also be considered the last of the good old days since shortly after this release, bassist John Glascock would quickly deteriorate from a congenital heart defect, leave the band and pass away only a year later. The band's popularity would begin to wane after BURSTING OUT although they would continue on in new uncharted folk rock directions and never really wash out. Despite the release of BURSTING OUT, JT would not overindulge in the release in a flood of live albums and it wouldn't be until 1990 that they released another live offering in the form of "LIve At Hammersmith '84." Luckily there have been quite a few stellar JT live offerings since then but this is the best of the lot and one of the most important live recordings of their 70s appearances.

 Aqualung by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.33 | 2238 ratings

Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by ProgMirage1974

4 stars REVIEW #2 - "Aqualung" by Jethro Tull (1971)

Having been a vehemently blues rock band, Jethro Tull sought a new direction after recording of their 1970 album "Benefit", as bassist Glenn Cornick left the band - replaced by Jeffrey Hammond (subject of a few Tull songs) and John Evan joined the band on keyboards. Their next album would take them out of their comfort zone; ditching the upbeat and careless tones of folk in favor of the serious themes of prog. Band leader Ian Anderson spearheaded this lyrical approach, providing lyrical insights on issues from homelessness to the Church of England. The result is a transitional album that features infectious riffs and thought-provoking lyrics.

SIDE ONE: "Aqualung"

The album's title-track opener (5/5) is arguably the most famous song of Jethro Tull in general, and still receives radio airplay to this day on classic rock stations. Inspired by a photograph Anderson's wife took of a homeless man, it deals with a lonely old vagabond and his pedophilic tendencies. A strong track with a powerful message, it also features great guitar work by Martin Barre - especially the guitar solo, which is one of the best in prog. Following this impressive track is another piece of hard rock "Cross-Eyed Mary" (4/5), which is a slight continuation on the theme of the opener. Referencing "Aqualung" in passing (a move that spurred speculation that the album was a concept, which Anderson and Barre denied), a schoolgirl prostitute is now the protagonist. With abstract lyricism, the track can be childish lyrically, but is a great example of heavy classic rock, as the track has been covered by heavy metal bands Metallica and Iron Maiden among others. The rest of side one is a collection of lighter, acoustic pieces, beginning with the beautiful "Cheap Day Return" (5/5), a one-minute piece about Anderson visiting his sick father in the hospital. Save the similarly short and beautiful "Wond'ring Aloud" (5/5), the rest of the material on the first side is unfortunately mediocre, with "Mother Goose" (3/5) being average and "Up to Me" (2/5) being forgettable and a weak closing track. With the inclusion of unreleased material on the 40th Anniv. deluxe edition, it is odd that there was not stronger material on the final product, such as the longer edition of "Wond'ring Aloud" and "Lick Your Fingers Clean", which would eventually be drastically reworked and included on the album "War Child."

SIDE TWO: "My God" (A collection of songs critical of organized religion - very conceptual in nature.)

The first track of side two, "My God" (5/5) is equally as strong as the title track. With inflammatory lyrics critical of Christianity and very strong guitar work by Barre, this song is an instant classic. The serious lyrics of this track thrust the band onto a new plateau, out of the realm of blues rock and into prog. Followed by the hard rock staple "Hymn 43" (4/5), which would be the band's sole single off the album, the second side already reigns superior over the first - featuring a cohesive theme that borders on conceptual. A beautiful intercalary titled "Slipstream" (5/5) follows before leading up to another seminal work by the band, the behemoth "Locomotive Breath" (3/5), which, despite being regarded as a classic for the band, does not resonate with me very well. It strikes me as an average and even boring track, and I consider it over-rated as a result. Closing out the album is the track "Wind Up" (4/5) - the last great stab at organized religion on the album. Drifting between quiet and loud, this track also does well at capturing the listener due to Anderson's lyrical ability. It also is a fitting choice to end the album, as the ending lyrics are delivered powerfully and emotionally.

"Aqualung" walks the line between prog and blues rock. In some cases it is groggy (Aqualung, My God), and in some cases it can be more folk-based (Cheap Day Return, Mother Goose). There are even elements of contemporary classic rock (Cross-Eyed Mary, Hymn 43). The overall product is a very musically diverse album, consisting of both abstract lyricism and serious concepts that attract the intellectual prog fan. This album would shoot Jethro Tull into the mainstream and establish it as one of the seminal rock bands of the seventies. Its tendencies to behave like a concept album also drove the band to mockingly work on their next album, a parody of pretentious prog rock that would ironically become their most loved (at least on this site) album. A great step forward by the band, and one of the essential albums in the genre due to the title track alone, but it is barred from perfection by its weak ending to side one and a couple boring songs.

OVERALL: 4.1/5 (B-)

 A Passion Play: An Extended Perfomance by JETHRO TULL album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2014
4.89 | 50 ratings

A Passion Play: An Extended Perfomance
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Depending on your mood at any given moment, Jethro Tull's lofty 1973 LP represents either a) the nadir of self-indulgent Prog Rock pretension, or b) an underappreciated masterpiece. It's of course entirely possible the album was both, simultaneously: a flawed epic of high-minded musical imagination that aimed too high and overshot its target. You may love it or hate it, but either way the year 2014 "Extended Performance" draws a welcome silver lining around a cloudy historical legacy, adding so much invaluable hindsight and clarity that it has to be rated as an essential five-star experience.

The original 1973 album shouldn't require any introduction here. Suffice to say it arrived at the moment when Progressive Rock had reached its apex of grandiose ambition, followed within months by "Tales from Topographic Oceans" and ELP's "Brain Salad Surgery" (and, only a year later, by the Genesis "Lamb Lies Down" saga). Some sort of shared contagion must have been in the air at the time: check out Martin Barre's unmistakably Steve Howe-inspired guitar licks in the "Magus Perdé" curtain call of the Play.

The album was a lot to swallow in a single sitting, not least because of the pompous concept behind it: a meditation of Life (and the Afterlife) as theater, complete with gatefold proscenium cover layout and mock-program insert. The earlier "Thick as a Brick", likewise presenting an unbroken 40-minute suite, was designed in part as a concept album parody; this one demanded to be heard seriously, despite the oddball comic intermission about a Hare Who Lost His Spectacles.

Another divisive issue may have been Ian Anderson's over-reliance on synths and saxophone, instead of the more traditional guitar and flute. The results were predictably vilified in the pages of an increasingly conservative music press, expressing a (stupid) sense of betrayal by a group that had strayed too far from its Blues Rock roots.

But the passage of time has been generous to the album, and this lavish package makes it easier now to recognize the classic in the clutter. Besides a sympathetic stereo remix of the original LP by (who else?) Steven Wilson, you'll find copious essays, photos, and production notes in an 80-page (!) digibook, plus the inevitable surround-sound DVD, plus video clips of "The Story of the Hare Who Lost His Spectacles" (crude, but amusing), plus an indispensable second CD with the aborted 1972 Château d'Hérouville sessions, unabridged and undoctored but again remixed by Wilson.

You may already be familiar with some the so-called Château d'Isaster tapes, previously featured (with belated Ian Anderson overdubs) on the late '90s "Nightcap" compilation. But hearing the full set in tandem with its final "Passion Play" realization adds essential perspective to a difficult and misunderstood chapter in Tull history, which would extend to the 1974 "War Child" album: another beneficiary of the scrapped Château sessions.

Hindsight is 20-20, of course, even to hares without their spectacles. But the bottom line to this overlong appraisal is simple: "A Passion Play" has never sounded better, and with all the bonus material has never made as much sense.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to E&O Team for the last updates

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