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25 August 1973

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'Retirement forced by critical abuse'

In a shock announcement this week Jethro Tull joined the rapidly-swelling ranks of the "I quit" brigade. Tull manager Terry Ellis, in a statement describing the decision as an "indefinite retirement" from gigs, appears to lump the blame squarely on the shoulders of the Rock Press and their "critical abuse" of the band's work.

With Jethro's 'Passion Play' at No. 1 in the U.S. charts, the band have cancelled all gigs planned after September 29 — final date on the third section of their record-breaking American tour. Future Jethro activities will be centred around a movie to be made of a musical written by Ian Anderson.

Outlining the reasons, Terry Ellis says in his statement:

"The group have been working continuously for nearly six years, during which time their total recreation from concerts has not been more than one month.

"In particular the effort they have put into preparing their concert appearances has been immense.

"The preparation of the music and production of A Passion Play began a year and a half ago and is, in their opinion, the best they have ever done.

"The abuse heaped upon the show by critics has been bitterly disappointing to the group and, illogical as it may be to identify the opinions of reviewers with those of the public, it has become increasingly difficult for the group to go on stage without worrying whether the audience are enjoying what they are playing."

Ellis continues:

"This has been a great burden and, in the circumstances — with the film already in the planning stages — the group thought it better to cancel all concert plans to concentrate on the film and to reconsider the situation after that."

There will be a subsequent Jethro album featuring mostly songs from the movie, for release early next year. It is planned that the film itself — director and other featured actors have yet to be finalised — will be ready for release around autumn 1974.

Meanwhile the Jethro U.S. tour continues, with the band's New York gigs repeating the phenomenal box-office success in Los Angeles at the Forum. All 70,000 seats for the four N.Y. shows — two at the Nassau Coliseum, two at Madison Square Gardens — have sold out.

In Britain, however, the Passion Play album has had a relatively poor chart showing. This week it drops to No. 24 in the NME albums chart, after achieving highest position of 17.