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1 February 1969


Ian Anderson is exceptionally hairy around the face, wears the most tattered old clothes you could possibly imagine and is also fully involved with pop — pop as the most important art form happening NOW, not pop as a multi-million pound industry from which vast riches are to be made.

Ian is also lead singer, flautist and harp-player with Jethro Tull, the group which rose from nowhere to the upper reaches of the LP chart and a coveted spot on the Stones' 'Rock and Roll Circus' TV show within a few months.

And now — the week before they leave for their first, two-month long tour of America — Jethro Tull show every sign of becoming a singles chart name, too, as their 'Love Story' bubbles hopefully under the 30.

Whether it actually makes it is, as they say, in the lap of the gods (and you, the record-buying public). But it's ample excuse for Ian to verbally chastise all those mostly 'progressive' groups and musicians who have dismissed the singles chart as being completely unrepresentative of what's happening in pop:

"It's such a shame that no one bothers about getting down to making good singles. people go on about what a drag the singles chart is but look at the LP chart — it's a gas!

"Which is wrong, because it's the responsibility of everyone concerned with making progressive music to make good, catchy commercial singles which appeal to 13-year-old girls.

"It can be done. Canned Heat did it, with a beautiful song which also happened to be pure blues. And we've done it to a certain extent, even though our single isn't particularly good.

"If people bothered about it a bit though, we'd have a good singles chart rather than all these decadent ballad singers in our midst!"

So before they left Jethro Tull taped a film of 'Love Story' for Top Of The Pops, just in case it does make the chart.

"Before we went on the guy from Top Of The Pops was saying, 'I'm not having that long-haired dirty band on my show,' but when we'd done it he liked the song so much he said he'd like to use it.

"Which would make it all worthwhile — even makes it worth losing a night's sleep, because we had to go straight off to a date in Birmingham after the show.

"But I don't mind at all, because it's Top Of The Pops, which means exposure to people who may have bought the single but have never seen us play — most of them probably don't even KNOW we had a top five album!

"We really need that exposure, and so do groups like the Nice and the Family. Engelbert and Malcolm Roberts and Dusty don't need it, because they've been seen so many times before. The Marmalade don't need it either, after being at the top for five weeks!"

Ever since appearing on the still-to-be-screened Stones' TV show, Ian has been a keen supporter (if not a fan) of the Rolling Stones' music — in fact the day the show finished he went out and bought Beggar's Banquet.

"They knocked me out! I just sat and smiled and jogged along with Mick Jagger. And they're nice people, despite the 'star' bit, which obviously means they're not the same as the man in the street.

"In fact, Charlie Watts knew more about us than I knew about the Stones!"

Jethro Tull's friendship with the Stones may yet bear fruit, in the shape of a ten-city tour of the States with the Stones and the Who (also on the TV show).

More impressive yet is the news that, along with Julie Driscoll and the Brian Auger Trinity, Jeff Beck, Ten Years After and New York's Blood, Sweat and Tears, J. Tull have been asked to appear at this year's Newport Jazz Festival — for years the exclusive province of ethnic jazz musicians.

But imagine — six months ago no one had even HEARD of Jethro Tull! We've heard of success stories, but this is getting ridiculous. But then there's not many guys, hairy and dirty or not, we'd rather have it happen to than the excellent Mr. Anderson.


Note: Ian, Martin and Glenn have no memory of this first Top Of The Pops filming session, which, from the story above, would have taken place on Thursday 16 January 1969 before the gig at the Lafayette Club in Wolverhampton. The film was certainly never shown.

Thanks to Mike Wain for this article.