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THE HISTORY OF ....
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The History of .....
The first Jethro Tull was an English agricultural writer and farmer who was born at Basildon in 1674. He entered St. John's College, Oxford in 1691 and was called to the Bar at Gray's Inn in 1699, but never practiced. In that year he married and began farming on his father's land at Mowberry near Wallingford, and here, about 1701 he invented and perfected his machine drill, and began experiments in his new system of sowing in drills or rows sufficiently wide apart to allow for tillage by plough and hoe during almost the whole period of growth. In 1709 he moved to a farm near Hungerford and from 1711 to 1714 travelled in France and Italy, making careful observations of the methods of agriculture in those countries which aided and confirmed his theories as to the true use of manure, and the importance of pulverizing the soil. In 1731 he published an account of his theories under the title 'Horse-hoeing Husbandry' and this was followed in 1733 by 'An Essay On The Principles Of Tillage and Vegetation'. He was attacked in the agricultural press and accused of plagiarizing from earlier writers. He died on 21st February 1741.
It was in late 1967 that Ian Anderson abandoned his ambition to become a painter, accepted a shabby overcoat as a leaving-home present from his father, and set off in a clapped-out van for London to become a musician. He had already played guitar with a Blackpool school group, whose repertoire included everything from James Brown to Georgie Fame and Howlin' Wolf. He had traded in his electric guitar for a microphone and a flute because he could put both of them in his pocket.
With other Northern emigrés, Anderson joined a seven-piece combo called variously 'The John Evan Band' and 'The John Evan Smash'. They had no money and very little prospect of work. Loosely described as a blues band, they performed alongside such musicians as Aynsley Dunbar, Fleetwood Mac and John Mayall. They played similar music — all purpose twelve-bar blues with a touch of soul, but their hearts weren't in it and before long everyone drifted home. Except Anderson that is, who stayed on as a cinema sweeper.
Chris Wright, the Evan Band's Manchester agent, had meanwhile moved to London and there met up with Terry Ellis, who was managing Ten Years After (Wright and Ellis would later form Chrysalis Records). Together they persuaded the band to regroup. They had a different name every night because they were so bad that the only way to get re-booked was to keep changing names. Finally, the name Jethro Tull was chosen. Mick Abrahams on guitar, Clive Bunker, drums; Glenn Cornick, bass, with Anderson playing flute and singing, was the official line-up. Early attempts to persuade Anderson to abandon his flute and play rhythm piano were quickly forgotten.
Ellis borrowed £1,000 from his father's bank manager and used the money to record the group's first album This Was. Abrahams left because he didn't like to play more than four nights a week and hated air travel, but was soon replaced by Martin Barre. A short residency at London's Marquee Club and a brief appearance on the never shown TV spectacular 'The Rolling Stones Rock 'n' Roll Circus', however, did little to encourage the group's self-confidence. Nor did a grim US tour as support for, among others, the equally little known British group Led Zeppelin. Jethro Tull's first concert at New York's Fillmore East was a disaster. The equipment had gone to Boston and its rented replacement blew up on stage. By the end of the year the group was £90,000 in debt.
Anderson now views these inconspicuous beginnings with the same philosophical detachment which has always guided him. Deprivation and disappointment are the common lot of most popular musicians, and Jethro Tull were no exception. Anderson used these experiences as the subject matter for his songs, not as part of a squalid moan against the world, but as the beginning of a carefully reasoned and musically adroit exploration of the role and function of popular musicians in contemporary society. Although Jethro Tull's 'theme albums' were still a year or so away, the musical discipline which made them possible was already developing.
Not long after his return from America, Anderson met composer/ arranger David Palmer who had graduated from The Royal Academy of Music but found the work he was doing unrewarding. Palmer heard Anderson playing 'Christmas Song' and realised that both shared a love and knowledge of 16th century English music. Palmer soon became Anderson's arranger and confidante. Two albums followed, Stand Up and Benefit, which despite reasonable sales satisfied neither of them. It was not until 1976 that Palmer became an official member of the group, starting with a European tour on which he played keyboards.
Individual songs continued to demonstrate Anderson's preoccupation with integrated songwriting, but what caught the public's attention was Anderson's increasingly flamboyant stage act. Still wearing the now tatty overcoat his father had given him, brandishing his flute suggestively between his legs, Anderson was a journalist's dream, evincing descriptions such as "Toscanini on speed" and "the deranged flamingo".
When the theatrical element looked like becoming more important then the music Jethro Tull moved towards more prolonged studio recording and the first two concept albums followed. Aqualung and Thick As A Brick were mature works deserving careful attention. The next album Living In The Past was merely a collection of individual songs composed during the years which had never become part of any grander design. When A Passion Play was released in 1973 it was performed as an orchestrated stage show with an integrated film, which was written, directed and edited by Anderson. The presentation was a departure in stage performance from what both the critics and the public were accustomed to. Although the initial London performance brought a critical 'blast' from the music press the album reached No.1 in America and has gone on to become one of the most consistently popular albums in the band's repertoire.
Jethro Tull's eight album was War Child which went platinum in America, selling over one million copies. During the group's subsequent 1975 tour Jethro Tull broke their own existing record for audience attendance, selling out 100,000 seats over five nights at the Los Angeles Forum. In the last four years Jethro Tull have become established in the United States as being among the most successful groups of all time.
Subsequent albums — Minstrel In The Gallery, M.U. and Too Old To Rock 'n' Roll, Too Young To Die — take their inspiration from Anderson's uncompromising outlook. They cover a wide subject matter and the music is firmly rooted in the English tradition, while Songs From The Wood, Heavy Horses and Stormwatch celebrate the pleasures of English country life and Anderson's involvement with ecology.
In November 1978 Jethro Tull made rock history when they stepped out on stage in front of 20,000 people at New York's Madison Square Garden and the concert was simultaneously broadcast around the world by satellite.
In 1979 the Scottish Ballet Company celebrated its 10th Anniversary by including a specially commissioned piece from Anderson and fellow Jethro Tull members Martin Barre and David Palmer. Titled 'The Water's Edge' it dealt with the extraordinary world of Scottish legend and was premiered in Glasgow at the Theatre Royal in August 1979 and was also performed at the Sadler's Wells Theatre in London the following November.
Following the completion of the 1979/ 80 world tour, the band settled down to a well-earned rest and major personnel changes took place, as several band members decided to pursue projects outside the group format.
Anderson started to record a solo project that he had wanted to do for some time, but it was subsequently decided that it should become the next Jethro Tull album — 'A' was released in September 1980, and a world tour featuring the musicians who played on the album was set for October 1980.
The Players — Past and Present
Originally from Luton, Abrahams joined Jethro Tull in November 1967 as lead guitarist. He played on the debut album This Was and also made an appearance on Living In The Past. Since leaving the band in late 1968, Abrahams formed Blodwyn Pig, which then became known as The Mick Abrahams Band. He currently performs occasional gigs promoting Yamaha guitars while not working as a swimming instructor in Luton.
Born in Barrow-in-Furness, Cornick joined The John Evan Band in 1966, which one year later became known as Jethro Tull. Leaving Jethro Tull in late 1970 after performing on This Was, Stand Up and Benefit as bassist, Cornick formed the group Wild Turkey which recorded two albums. He then went on to play with west coast band Paris.
Serving as Jethro Tull's drummer and percussionist up to and including Aqualung, Bunker formed the band Jude in 1971, which included such musicians as Frankie Miller, Robin Trower and Jimmy Dewar.
Born in Edinburgh, Anderson joined with Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond and John Evan to form The John Evan Band at the age of 17, playing the northern club circuit. By November 1967, the band had expanded to seven members, including Barriemore Barlow and Glenn Cornick. In November 1967 five of the members returned to Blackpool to earn some money, leaving Anderson and Cornick in Luton. It was at this time that they met up with Abrahams and Bunker and formed an unnamed group which would become known as Jethro Tull in February 1968. Like the first Jethro Tull, Anderson has a great love of the land. When not working with the group he splits his time between his farms in Buckinghamshire and Scotland.
From Birmingham-based group Earth, Iommi joined the group for a ten-day period, replacing Mick Abrahams. He also performed with Jethro Tull on the now famous 'Rolling Stones Rock 'n' Roll Circus' which has never been aired on television. Earth later became known as Black Sabbath.
Coming in as Iommi's replacement, but lasting only several days, O'List had previously played with legendary rockers Nice.
Next to Anderson, Barre is the longest surviving Jethro Tull member, having joined the group around the time of the second LP Stand Up. An architecture student at Lancaster Polytechnic, Barre joined the group in December 1968 as lead guitarist.
One of the members of The John Evan Band, Evan left to attend college at Chelsea in 1968, studying pharmaceutical chemistry, and earning 'top of the class' status for his academics. Evan did session work on the third Jethro Tull LP Benefit and joined the group as a permanent member around Easter 1970, leaving again in August 1980 to pursue other projects.
Performed as bassist for Jethro Tull from Aqualung through Minstrel In The Gallery, having replaced Cornick in 1970. Hammond-Hammond left the band in 1975 to become a painter and pursue other personal interests.
An original member of The John Evan Band, Barlow left the group in 1967 to work as a tool maker in Blackpool. At the same time, however, he played in local clubs and was acknowledged as the best drummer in the north-west of England. Barlow Joined Jethro Tull in 1971 as the replacement for Bunker, but left in 1980 to form another band.
Played with local bands throughout his earlier days, until joining Carmen who toured as Jethro Tull's support band during the War Child days. He joined Jethro Tull with Too Old To Rock 'n' Roll, Too Young To Die, taking the place of Hammond-Hammond. Early in 1979 Glascock underwent major heart surgery, but was back with the band in the summer to complete recording on the Stormwatch album. On the advice of his doctor, he decided not to undertake the autumn world tour and left the band in August, being replaced by Dave Pegg. It was with great sadness that the group learned of Glascock's untimely death on 16th November 1979 while they were in the United States.
Wrote orchestration for every Jethro Tull album from Aqualung to Stormwatch. After attending school at the Royal Academy of Music he became Musical Director for the Cambridge Footlights Review which featured John Cleese and Graham Chapman of Monty Python's Flying Circus. From 1964 through 1968 he worked as a commercial composer for television and films. Palmer increased his involvement with Jethro Tull on Too Old To Rock 'n' Roll, Too Young To Die by playing saxophone in addition to orchestrating, and officially became a member of the group in 1976, playing piano, portative pipe organ and string synthesiser. He left in August 1980 to pursue other interests.
Born in Birmingham. After seeking a career in insurance he decided that the life of a musician was more suitable for him. He began playing with local bands and with many artists including John Bonham, Cozy Powell and Clem Clempson. He then left the rock scene and spent 18 months with the Ian Campbell Folk Group playing traditional English and Scottish music. In 1970 he joined the folk/ rock band Fairport Convention and recorded and toured the world with them until they split up in August 1979. He then joined Jethro Tull, replacing John Glascock for the 1979/ 80 world tour.
The newest recruit to the Jethro Tull ranks replacing Barriemore Barlow in August 1980. Born in South Dakota, USA, he started playing drums at 14. He has toured with French jazz/ rock violinist Jean Luc Ponty and made his first major recording debut on Ponty's 1976 LP 'Imaginary Voyage'. Late 1976 saw Craney's versatile technique in more of a heavy rock setting and he toured the States with ex-James Gang/ Deep Purple axeman Tommy Bolin and then joined The Mark Almond Band to record and undertake a major tour. By 1978 Craney had established himself as a top session man. He was recruited into Gino Vanelli's band after playing on his 'Brother to Brother' album and spent two years on the road with him. Eddie Jobson, who had recorded with Craney in Los Angeles, recommended him for Jethro Tull when the drum seat became vacant, and he plays on the new 'A' album.
Born in County Durham and started piano studies at the age of 7 and violin at 8. He continued his classical studies and played in some of the top orchestras in the North of England until 1971 when he co-founded his first professional rock band. At the age of 17 he joined Curved Air and left a year later to join Roxy Music. It was more than 3 years and some five albums later that Jobson filled the keyboards and violin role in Frank Zappa's band. 1978 saw the formation of the British-based quartet U.K. which Jobson co-founded with Bruford, Wetton and Holdsworth. The following year the band was restructured into a trio with ex-Zappa alumni Bozzio filling the drum position, and it was this version of U.K. which supported Jethro Tull on their two American tours of 1979. Jobson became good friends with Anderson, which in turn led to his participation on the new Jethro Tull 'A' album. To promote the release of 'A', Jobson agreed to guest on a world tour with Jethro Tull, but it is his intention to form his own band in the spring of 1981.
IAN ANDERSON TALKS ABOUT THE NEW 'A' ALBUM AND THE NEW JETHRO TULL LINE-UP
Most of the songs were specifically written for the new album. Some were written in the three weeks between the last Jethro Tull tour and starting work on the album, and quite a lot of them were written in the rehearsal room while the album was being recorded. Although I had some material in hand, I wanted to have enough flexibility and freedom to move into other sorts of musical fields after I had started to work with the people on the album.
In the past quite a lot of material has been written on tour. But this time I think only about four songs written this way appear on this album, because I found that working with these particular elements of the band it was quite refreshing to be able to write a song in the morning, rehearse it in the afternoon and record it at night. This album is not arranged in that it has more spontaneity than previous Jethro Tull albums. The musical line-up on this particular album is one that allows for that approach.
With the song Crossfire I had the title with some idea about the lyrics and we were actually rehearsing the track when my wife Shona came rushing in and said that the Iranian Embassy in London had been seiged. We all stopped rehearsing and came to watch it on the television. Then the next morning before the others arrived for rehearsal I wrote all the lyrics. So although it was kind of aimed in that direction anyway, when this particular thing happened on the news I filled in the missing words.
Fylingdale Flyer was also provided by a news story about the last time the Americans had a slight hitch with one of their early warning systems and they thought the Russians had provoked an attack. It's sung from the point of view of those guys at the Fylingdale Early Warning Station in Yorkshire. They think, well there's a missile coming across but it's only half way to America, we've still got a bit of time left to work out whether it's serious or not and "time for a last game of bowls" which is just what Sir Francis Drake did in 1588 when he was told that the Spanish Armada has been sighted off Plymouth Hoe!
Working John, Working Joe is one of the songs that's about 2 or 3 years old and which was written at the time when a lot of flak was being thrown at the middle class by the Unions. This is a slightly tongue-in-cheek song suggesting that the chap who is the white collar worker, a director of a company, has the same hard slog day to day as the chap on the shop floor. He may drive to work, but he gets stuck in traffic jams just the same, and the price he has to pay for his greater degree of wealth is ulcers and heart disease.
I wrote the lyrics to Black Sunday just before I went on tour, which is the sort of sound it has, although I tried to write it in the kind of way that anybody would feel if they were going off to work and always wondering if, when they come back, they will find things the way they left them. It is just full of the kind of images that I see when I travel.
Protect And Survive is a title taken from the Government pamphlet of the same name which, in the event of a nuclear attack, gives a very skeletal rundown on what to do. It is a slightly tongue-in-cheek dig at the Government for not having given us enough information and for treating us in a very down-market way. The sentiments of the song are not necessarily my own, but the way I would expect the average person to react upon reading that sort of pamphlet, especially in the aftermath of a nuclear attack.
Batteries Not Included is a bit macabre really. A child wakes up on Christmas morning to find this fabulous mechanical toy at the bottom of his bed, but it doesn't work because the batteries were not included. During the period of time that he is assessing its lack of life as being due to that fact, he identifies with the toy so strongly that when his parents wake up they find he has become like the toy and he's switched off as well. On this track my son Jamie makes his recording debut.
The Pine Marten's Jig is a traditional sounding piece of music, but it employs a lot of fairly tricky little time signature pieces, and the instrumentation — mandolins and violin — although fairly traditional, here have an end result of being quite an electric thing.
The song Uniforms is again a slightly tongue-in-cheek comment on the fact that we all dress up, we all undertake roles in society according to the clothes we wear. There are not many people who tend to express their individuality in terms of dress: they tend to conform to various social groupings, and they are severely in uniforms just as much as a soldier or a policeman.
4.W.D. (Low Ratio) is just about having an affinity for four-wheel drive vehicles. I thought it nice to have a song about that, and it's spelt that way to avoid confusion with another song on the same subject which is nothing like ours musically.
And Further On is one of those ambiguous, wistful things that have a private and personal connotation for the author, but broad enough imagery, hopefully, to work in different ways for different listeners. To specifically explain my understanding of the lyric would be to rob the individual of his right to a personal interpretation! I suppose it really serves as a musical and lyrical postscript to the rest of the songs on the album.
On tour we'll obviously be playing the songs that are well known Jethro Tull classics that people expect us to play. If I went to see the Kinks, Led Zeppelin, The Who or Frank Sinatra, I'd be upset if they didn't play those one or two songs that to me are 'the ones' and that are still magic no matter how many times I hear them. So I assume people feel the same way about Jethro Tull.
To two of the band it's a completely new show. In the past we have had the core of the material from the past and rehearsing it was just sort of stimulating the memory buds again, but this time we're going to have to put a lot more work into rehearsing the show. Two-thirds of the show will be relatively new material. There might be half an hour to 40 minutes' worth of material that people are familiar with from previous Jethro Tull line-ups, but there will be all of the new album, and there will be some more new material specially written for the tour, plus members of the band doing solo spots which are their contribution pieces which they will have written or put together.
I am sure that in terms of our presentation on stage we'll probably move a little bit away from the kind of thing Jethro Tull has been doing in the past and which tends to be a bit historical. It's always felt, and I am sure it looked like, we were low-key 'Village People' on stage being dressed up in very definitive styles of clothing that had nothing to do with each other. With this album being a tight and quickly put together affair, there is a validity in presenting this in a more uniform sort of basis, since the group does play well as a group and will make more of a contribution as a group on stage. Once we get up there, my part of the thing is just one of the group. I may be more to the fore than the others, but it's still a group entity, and it's all a great irony considering the fact that the album was supposed to be a solo album in the first place. It's turned out to be more of a group album than many of the previous Jethro Tull albums.
London — July 1980
..... and finally, for all those people who have written over the years to ask, and to settle all those outstanding wagers — M.U. stands for 'Musicians Union', a title suggested by record boss Terry Ellis, since this best-of album incorporated a getting-together, on vinyl at least, of various ex-members of the group.
Note: Bachman Turner Overdrive released an album in 1975 entitled 'Four Wheel Drive', which contained a song of the same name.