Jethro Tull - Aqualung

Jethro Tull – Aqualung


Nearly five decades after release this album still contains some timeless tracks, it has since became Jethro Tull’s biggest selling LP.

Written by: gdmonline

ARTIST: Jethro Tull
ALBUM: Aqualung
LABEL: Island, Chrysalis
YEAR: 1971
CD REISSUE: Reissue List

LINEUP: Ian Anderson – vocals, acoustic guitar, flute, production * Martin Barre – electric guitar, descant recorder * John Evan – piano, organ, mellotron * Jeffrey Hammond – bass, alto recorder, odd voices, backing vocals on ‘Mother Goose’ * Clive Bunker – drums, percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 Aqualung * 02 Cross Eyed Mary * 03 Cheap Day Return * 04 Mother Goose * 05 Wond’ring Aloud * 06 My God * 07 Hymn 43 * 08 Slipstream * 09 Locomotive Breath * 10 Wind Up



Jethro Tull’s ‘Aqualung’ was one of the earliest rock albums that I was exposed to back in my youth. I was aged 8 when this was released. You can blame my older brother, because he had this in his collection so inevitably, I managed to familiarise myself with ‘Aqualung’ from a very early age. The flute overload from main man Ian Anderson may have been a strange brew for an album like this back in 1971. It covered the progressive rock and folk genres pretty well I reckon.

The Songs

Even now, nearly five decades after it was released this album still has some timeless tracks on it. I’ve just managed to acquire a very pristine Japanese manufactured version of this album, and it sounds so much better than I remember it from those early hazy days of vinyl but a pristine digital copy really does lift the fidelity to new levels. Songs like the title track, ‘Cross-Eyed Mary’ and the entertaining ‘Hymn 43’ have new life breathed into them. I can just imagine Ian Anderson standing at the front of the pulpit singing the latter track.

The essential listening of ‘Locomotive Breath’ sounds incredible. Of course one of the charms of this album were some of the lyrics used in the songs. As an 8 year old this came as an immense curiosity at the time. The album wasn’t without it’s quieter moments though. As evidenced by songs such as ‘Cheap Day Return’, ‘Mother Goose’, ‘Wonderin’ Aloud’, and ‘Slipstream’.

In Summary

Anderson didn’t agree that ‘Aqualung’ was described as a concept album by critics at the time. I would agree with him. To me this is merely a collection of tracks that have some central reference points based on religion and God, but not deliberately themed as such. I think the critics at the time were making a mountain out of a molehill. As it turns out, ‘Aqualung’ became Tull’s biggest selling album over their lengthy career. They are not everyone’s cup of tea, and they did vary their sound and style over the years, but selectively, there are some gems to be found among their vast discography.

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