VK 41044 Aqualung
Produced by Ian Anderson and Terry Ellis
Released on March 1971
UK CHART POSITION #4 . . . US CHART POSITION #7 . . . GOLD RECORD
Find it at GEMM
VK 41044 cover  

A qualung explodes like Jesus Christ Superstar sitting on a keg of dynamite, here starring Ian Anderson as our self-appointed conscience. Not everyone wanted to be preached to by a rock star, however, and the album found Tull losing some of their original fans even as they attracted new ones. The light and dark tones of Benefit are put into sharper relief this time by alternating disarming acoustic songs with a theosophical din of diabolical intent. The addition of Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond on bass (yes, the very same “Jeffrey” chronicled on their earlier albums) doesn’t change the sound of Tull much, nor does the full-time addition of John Evan, who gets buried in the band’s sonic onslaught most of the time. The blurring of Ian Anderson the performer and Aqualung the character may be alarming to some, but wasn’t it just a natural outcropping of the rock opera movement? Music fans proved they were interested in the persona as much as the player, and Anderson gave them something to think about: a composite sketch of a demigod drawn from Jesus, Loki, and Merlin among others. Of course, no album could stand up to that sort of scrutiny, so take my enthusiasm with a grain of salt. It’s just that songs like “Aqualung,” “Cross-Eyed Mary, “Hymn #43” and “Locomotive Breath” are such epic clashes of morality and reality that Aqualung assumes the scale of a Greek tragedy. The acoustic breaks are sometimes no more than lovely little bits of fluff (“Cheap Day Return,” “Wond’ring Aloud”) and sometimes a mortal analysis of the world around us (“Mother Goose,” “Wind-Up”). Yet I won’t proffer an explanation of Aqualung. The album clearly takes umbrage with institutionalized religion and reintroduces the Aqualung character on “Cross-Eyed Mary,” but it’s hard to say what it all means. (Unlike musicals, which are designed to juggle different players, rock bands just don’t have a closet full of characters at their disposal.) Aqualung is a great leap from songwriter to storyteller, though some felt Tull slipped too far into the fabled woods for the inscrutable Brick and Passion. Me, I’d say this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship between music and one man’s illimitable fancy.

TRACK LISTING

    Aqualung (side one)
  1. AQUALUNG    (Jennie Anderson)    6:31
  2. CROSS-EYED MARY    4:06
  3. CHEAP DAY RETURN    1:21
  4. MOTHER GOOSE    3:51
  5. WOND'RING ALOUD    1:53
  6. UP TO ME    3:14

    My God (side two)
  7. MY GOD    7:08
  8. HYMN 43    3:15
  9. SLIPSTREAM    1:12
  10. LOCOMOTIVE BREATH    4:23
  11. WIND-UP    6:01

    CD reissue bonus tracks
  12. LICK YOUR FINGERS CLEAN
  13. WIND-UP (QUAD VERSION)
  14. EXCERPTS FROM THE IAN ANDERSON INTERVIEW
  15. SONG FOR JEFFREY (BBC SESSION)

    All songs written by Ian Anderson unless noted

CREDITS

IAN ANDERSON -- flute, acoustic guitar and voice
MARTIN BARRE -- electric guitar and descant recorder
CLIVE BUNKER -- a thousand drums and percussion
JOHN EVAN -- piano, organ and mellotron
JEFFREY HAMMOND-HAMMOND -- bass guitar, alto recorder and odd voices

return to JETHRO TULL discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK March 1971 Island LP ILPS 9145 gatefold cover
US/CAN March 1971 Reprise LP MS 2035 gatefold cover
SWE 1971 Sonet LP SLP-3007 gatefold cover
GER   Chrysalis LP 6307 515  
US 1973 Chrysalis LP/8T CHR/M8C 1044 green label
UK   Chrysalis LP CHR 1044 blue label
BRA 1980 Chrysalis LP 1108004 gatefold cover
US 1984 Chrysalis LP/CD FV/VK 41044  
US January 26, 1999 Chrysalis CDX 95401 20-bit digital remaster w. bonus tracks,
lyric booklet
EUR 2000 Chrysalis CDX 495401 20-bit digital remaster w. bonus tracks,
lyric booklet

 

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