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Jethro Tull's Aqualung (33 1/3) Paperback – August 10, 2004


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Product Details

  • Series: 33 1/3 (Book 14)
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic (August 10, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826416195
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826416193
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 5.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #861,400 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Though Tull is far from classic rock's most accessible band, and Ian Anderson's lead singer/flutist role is certainly an anomaly, Moore (Professor of Popular Music and Music Dept. Head at University of Surrey) deftly-with clear and consice exposition-picks Aqualung apart piece by piece. It's not meant to make you like the record as much as it is meant to dissect it. Moore's proper prose fluctuates from a childish love for the record and the memories associated with that adoration to meticulous charting of the musical movements within songs. Meant for the Tull lover that doesn't live within all of us, this is still a great take on a challenging band's signature record." —Zack Adcock, The Hub Weekly, 1/13/05 (Zack Adcock)

"Though Tull is far from classic rock's most accessible band, and Ian Anderson's lead singer/flutist role is certainly an anomaly, Moore (Professor of Popular Music and Music Dept. Head at University of Surrey) deftly-with clear and consice exposition-picks Aqualung apart piece by piece. It's not meant to make you like the record as much as it is meant to dissect it. Moore's proper prose fluctuates from a childish love for the record and the memories associated with that adoration to meticulous charting of the musical movements within songs. Meant for the Tull lover that doesn't live within all of us, this is still a great take on a challenging band's signature record." —Zack Adcock, The Hub Weekly, 1/13/05 (Sanford Lakoff)

About the Author

Allan Moore is Professor of Popular Music and Head of the Department of Music and Sound Recording at the University of Surrey.

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Customer Reviews

3.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Where do I begin? on March 27, 2006
Format: Paperback
The author, the head of the Department of Music of Surrey, is both knowledgable of music, Jethro Tull and of the era in which Aqualung was created. For me, it was a true joy to read this -albeit too short- book. The music and lyrics are discussed with the same seriousness one might expect in reading about a significant symphony.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Up The Stairs on March 24, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Reading this book sent me into a Jethro Tull whirlpool. While reading the book I listened to Aqualung non-stop, and the song in particular. The author, Allan F. Moore, wrote a bit too high brow for the subject matter, but I suppose he did that to give the album literary credibility, or perhaps that is the only manner in which he knows to write. Nonetheless, it is a great and fun read. In fact, it made me want to read more of the series, something I have yet to do. In Aqualung, Moore dissects each and every song, and spends a great deal of time writing about "Aqualung" and "My God." He also divides the album in halves by its original lp sides, and discusses them as separate themes, something I'd toyed with when listening to the album in the early seventies, but never could delineate such as Moore did. I found myself wanting to listen to each song as I read about it, and try to get a good grip about the themes he discussed. Sometimes I agreed, sometimes I thought he was a bit adrift. At slightly over 100 pages, it went fast and since I had great interest in the topic, it went particularly fast for me. It works well to listen to the album first, then read the book all the way through, then read it and listen to each song as he discusses them.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Siriam on June 23, 2007
Format: Paperback
Unless you are both a music student/professor and a diehard Jethro Tull fan, I fear that like me you will discover this book is likely to be very hard going. Allan Moore is both and that style permeates the whole analysis of this 1971 breakthrough album by Tull.

The interesting thing about the 33 1/3 series is how variable and eclectic the variety of writers are. The thing that hits one most about this specific book is that unless you really know the album inside out and Tull's greater musical history, you are hampered from the outset and the greater part of the book proves pretty unfathomable. Every song gets dissected with a musical surgery analysis that drains any desire to go and listen to the album further and the numerous footnotes to other books, articles and websites (including a fair number by the author) leaves you wondering if you have ended up in some heavy version of a music pseuds corner.

One of the least enjoyable of the series I have read so far!
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By J. Eric Smith on June 25, 2009
Format: Paperback
How can you write a book length treatise about a landmark album like "Aqualung," and never mention two members of a five-person band (Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond and Clive Bunker) while doing so?

Answer: by treating the recording as if it exists in an intellectual vacuum, and was not crafted by real, sweaty, spontaneous human beings, who often do their best work by gut or accident, not in response to some over-arching creative construct.

While well researched and referenced, I suppose, (there certainly are a lot of footnotes anyway), this book sucks the lifeblood and soul out of a visceral album by chopping it into the littlest bits possible, then analyzing those bits and creating a new whole out of them that bears no recognizable resemblance to the original (now deceased) beast.

Anyone who has ever written a song will recognize that the connections made here between words, meaning and chords are ludicrous in practice, and could only have been fabricated and applied after the fact.

The most egregious offense in this book, however, is in the author's creation of a character being portrayed by singer-songwriter Ian Anderson through the bulk of the album's first side, a character that the author names (cringe!!!) "Jethro." That's laughable bordering on pitiful.

While I agree with the author that everyone is entitled to their own opinions and interpretations of a work of art, it's galling that this particular one, seven standard deviations removed what most folks might experience while listening to "Aqualung," is the one that is preserved in perpetuity in book form.

People who have any emotional response to the music of Jethro Tull, the songs of Ian Anderson, and the other musicians who have brought them to life over the years, are highly unlikely to connect with the pretentious twaddle offered in this book.

And I say that as a music critic, with an extremely high tolerance for such stuff . . .
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having just finished reading the "Court and Spark" (Joni Mitchell) installment in this series, by Sean Nelson, I find myself in an interesting position to comment on this one on "Aqualung".

This is a nice treatise on the great Tull album, and offered some cool insights which, while subjective, were fascinating to us die-hard Tull fans who are more than happy to absorb and ponder any deep and appreciative discussions of Tull's work. But, in comparison to Sean Nelson's treatment of Joni's "Court and Spark", it left me cold. In mulling the issue over, I think I've figured out why.

Mr. Moore, as the bio tells us, is a Professor of Music at a respectable institution of higher learning. Reading his work, I get the distinct feeling that he has never written or played rock and roll in his life, only analyzed it. Much like rock critics, whom I for the most part despise, because they typically seem more interested in showing off their wit and sarcasm while tearing down that which they themselves cannot accomplish (like petty and jealous schoolchildren). As a result, the book comes across as what it is - a work by an academic rather than a musician, or music lover. The analysis is good, and as I said, illuminating at times, but felt wanting in the "passion" department. At least Mr. Moore didn't make the mistake that others in this series have, which is to spend so much time rambling on about context and axe-grinding that the songs got the left-overs. But, the book felt to me a bit too much like a college course.

Contrast this with Mr. Nelson. His bio? A working musician who has a pretty cool and diverse list of credits vis a vis the folks he's worked with.
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