Jethro Tull - The A New Day Tapes Volume One, Part Two

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IA, as he signs himself, introduced flute to rock and rocks the instrument like nobody else. The Jimi Hendrix of flautists, his merry-making minstrel act included rollicking runs, flutter-tongue trills, even snorts. Anderson nimbly played strings, too. Original band member Martin Barre still wails on lead guitar. On the Rocks, Tull demonstrated why their odd albums have sold more than 50 million copies.

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Sign up for our Now You Know emails to get breaking entertainment news and weekend plans sent right to your inbox. More from The Know. It was essentially a bar-blues—derived piece, but lyrically it was a little unusual. It was a relatively successful attempt to take the essence of black American blues and turn it into some middle-class white boy [music] — not too far from being a clone, just to be influenced by that style and have that mood. It had a kind of slightly jazzy feel going on in it as well.

Jethro Tull Skating Away, Live 1977 - The Minstrel Looks Back 1969-1977 2-DVD

Ones of my influences back then was a peer act that we sometimes appeared with. It was doing something else with it that I think was peculiarly British, really. Because he just would have brought his particular touch to it. I remember walking past a pawn shop and seeing an instrument hanging in the window and buying it.

Letras de Jethro Tull

It was a small, Russian, three-stringed balalaika. It had nothing to do with the blues anymore. It had a sort quirky, English feel with this strange little balalaika played through a Leslie cabinet or some kind of vibrato unit to give it a wobbly sound. But that was one of those more original and unusual pieces that I think caught the fancy of British fans who catapulted the Stand Up album into the charts at Number One. When that happened, Joe Cocker came to announce it to me over breakfast at the Loews Midtown hotel in Manhattan, in the summer of I just heard your album went to Number One in England.

Interestingly, our manager is convinced to this day that this is actually a song I wrote about him and that he is the teacher, which is complete bollocks. In fact, what I was singing about was more those creepy guru figures that would mislead innocent young minds like those of the Beatles. They would suck in people and use the power of persuasion to bend their will and lead them on a spiritual path to enlightenment.

And a lot of the time, of course, it was just about getting your money and driving around in a big, white Rolls Royce, which struck me as worthy of writing a song about. The Aqualung album was somewhat uneasy in terms of actually making the record because we were working in a new studio that Island Records had built in a converted church in London. We were in the big room, which was the body of the church, and it was just so echoey and horrible and cold and really quite a creepy as a place to work. Led Zeppelin were in the nice cozy basement studio that had been the crypt, which was a moderate, modest size place.

So we struggled a bit with the sound, trying to get something that was going to work for the more intimate singer-songwriter songs. Because it was a departure, I went in without the guys and just recorded myself. And then maybe they would come in and add a little bit afterwards. I think John Evan recorded the piano intro, then I went out into the studio with two drum sticks and clicked them together because this was in the days before click tracks, and then I went out and played to with a hi-hat and bass drum. Then Clive [Bunker] went out and added the tom-toms and the cymbals.

And then I played the electric-guitar rhythm part all the way through.

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So it should click-clack in time. It was about the runaway train of population growth and capitalism, it was based on those sorts of unstoppable ideas. Where is it going? And is happening even more to this day. Without putting it into too much literal detail, that was what lay behind that song. Well, the character Aqualung was based on a photograph that my first wife had taken.

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She was studying photography in some college in London and she went off on some student assignment to shoot photographs of homeless people living in south London under the railway arches. She came back with some pictures and one particular character caught my eyes.

He was someone who had a defiance about him, maybe even a little bit of anger, but at the same time, he was uncomfortable, slightly fearful, particularly of being photographed by a young woman. I suppose in a way, it made him feel like an object of curiosity or a little ashamed.

Some of the lines were definitely not lines I would have written. I remember sitting in a hotel room somewhere in America with my guitar, and I came up with the opening riff of the song. You take a few notes and you come up with some motif, which is powerful, and it establishes the whole nature of the song. I knew in writing a spoof prog-rock piece, maybe half the people would get the joke and half the people would just get pissed off. It was taking something rather surreal and preposterous and then putting it before you and making you believe in the improbable, like an eight-year-old, precocious schoolboy has written these lyrics.

It went on like that for about 10 days until we had the whole album written and rehearsed.