Song of the Day 10/28

Posted: October 28, 2011 in J.C. Personal
Tags: ,

On my way in this morning, I heard a song by a band that I believe is underrated. A British rock band formed in 1967 that initially began as an experimental blues band, they would, unfortunately, become known for one element of their music. Jethro Tull has sold over 60 million albums worldwide and has remained together for over forty years. Known for Ian Anderson’s vocals and flute, Jethro Tull, specifically Anderson, is credited as the man who introduces the flute into rock music and he is the only one (that I’m aware of) to use the flute as a main instrument. Don’t think that’s a big deal? Without Anderson many bands would be without the flute, such as Chicago, The Guess Who, King Crimson, The Moody Blues, Traffic, The Marshall Tucker Band (try to imagine “Can’t You See” without the flute part) and early Genesis.

The song I heard this morning was “Skating Away (On the Thin Ice of a New Day)”, but I thought that too obscure. I chose their best known work “Aqualung”, a disturbing little tune from the 1971 album of the same name. The whole album is an interesting listen with themes of religion and faith at the center of each song, but Anderson states that it is not a concept album, despite widely held belief that it is. Aqualung reached number 4 on the UK Album chart and number 7 on the Billboard Music Chart. “Aqualung” was never released as a single. The album was recorded and released in quadraphonic sound, or what is now referred to as 4.0. This means that the 4 channels are basically independent of one another. It is best listened to with the four speakers equidistant from the listener, positioned in the four corners of the listening space.

The song “Aqualung” was inspired by some photographs taken by Anderson’s wife of the homeless on the Thames Embankment. A particular individual caught their eye. A painting of the man became the album cover and the man became the basis for the song “Aqualung”.

The majority of Jethro Tull’s songs are story songs. “Aqualung” is no different. It tells the story of a dirty, homeless pedophile, not your usual rock music theme. Opening with homage to Beethoven and including a great guitar solo by Martin Barre, “Aqualung” clocks in at six and a half minutes. At the beginning of the song, the title character is watching young girls play, “with bad intent”. The next portion of the song speaks of the pain and loneliness experienced by this man. The song concludes with him “snatch[ing] [his] rattling last breaths with deep-sea-diver sounds”.

This one may not be well known to many of you, but Jethro Tull’s importance to rock music cannot be denied. Just remember Jethro Tull is not a person, it’s a band. This fact may save you from a potentially embarrassing situation someday. You’re welcome.

See ya on the “b” side.

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