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Aqualung

4.6 out of 5 stars 405 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 9, 1999
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

JETHRO TULL AQUALUNG.

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After veering sharply from the blues inluences of their debut, This Was, Jethro Tull's sound quickly coalesced around jazz-tinged English folk influences and the antics of frontman/flautist Ian Anderson. But it was guitarist Martin Barre's swaggering riff off the title track of the band's fourth album that would become Tull's indelibly clichéd trademark--and the band's entrée into a long reign as arena-rock perennials. But there's a lot more to Aqualung than the riffage of that cut and its cousins, "Cross-Eyed Mary" and "Locomotive Breath." In an era when pseudo-Christian spirituality was a de rigueur, if cheap, musical commodity (from the overblown operatics of Jesus Christ Superstar to one-hit pop wonders such as "Spirit in the Sky" and "Put Your Hand in the Hand"), Anderson and company openly challenged the value of organized religion with a thematic album savvy enough to layer its thought-provoking lyrics between heavy strata of FM-friendly guitar bedrock. A cliché, perhaps; a landmark, no doubt. And a record many maintain is still Tull's finest hour. --Jerry McCulley

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Aqualung
  2. Cross-Eyed Mary
  3. Cheap Day Return
  4. Mother Goose
  5. Wond'ring Aloud
  6. Up To Me
  7. My God
  8. Hymn 43
  9. Slipstream
  10. Locomotive Breath
  11. Wind-Up
  12. Lick Your Fingers Clean
  13. Wind-Up (Quad Version)
  14. Excerpts From The Ian Anderson Interview
  15. Songs for Jeffrey
  16. Fat Man
  17. Bouree


Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 9, 1999)
  • Original Release Date: 1971
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Parlophone
  • ASIN: B00000GAIW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (405 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,186 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Aqualung is a wonderful, superlative, essentially perfect album. From the day it was released right up to now the record is fresh, exciting, compelling, intelligent, forcefully rhythmic, melodic, brilliantly played, brilliantly sung, and has one of the best ever cover illustrations to boot. After nearly thirty years of wearing out various copies of it, I have yet to tire of this phenomenal artistic tour de force.
I had the great good fortune of seeing Jethro Tull live when they were doing the original Aqualung tour - they were hardly known at the time - and as great as the album is, their performance was even more electrifying. It was at Madison Square Garden and I was up front, a few feet from the performers.
As the show started the house lights went down and the stage went black. Silence. Long pause. Then, hobbling out of the blackness a single spotlight caught Anderson dressed extravagantly like the old man on the album cover, bent over and leaning on his flute, which he used as a cane. Leering maliciously, slowly creeping up front, he finally stopped, silently grinning out at the house as the audience howled with delight. Then he threw his flute straight up, high, and the spotlight went up with the flute, shining and sparkling as it twisted its way up and then down, the only thing visible in the darkness.
When the flute came back down it was met by Anderson's upraised hand, and at the instant he clutched it all the stage lights came up and the band struck the thunderous opening notes of the album. And it got better and better and better as the show went on, Anderson leaping and snarling and playing flute at the same time, a truly athletic performance. Whew! I can still see it.
If you've somehow denied yourself owning this remarkable work of art and music, get it now! I wish you many hours of enjoyment listening to this treasure.
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Format: Audio CD
. . . or choose your own favorite cliche. Whatever you call it, this album was and is of historical importance, for Tull and for 1970s rock.

In part, that's because it was misdescribed. No sooner was it released than the rock press started hailing it as a "concept album" (prompting Ian Anderson to go to work on the surreal and Pythonesque _Thick as a Brick_ so as to give everybody, tongue firmly in cheek, a _real_ "concept album").

"Concept albums" are frowned on these days (although I like them just fine); nevertheless this isn't one of them. Sure, there's a lot of thematic unity; the first half ("album side") involves homelessness and lechery, and the second Anderson's reflections on the religious upbringing of his adolescence. But a "concept album"? Not really.

But it does reflect a critical stage in the development of Jethro Tull. Bassist Glenn Cornick had just departed and been replaced by Anderson's boyhood friend Jeffrey Hammond; as of the next album (TaaB) Barrie Barlow would replace Clive Bunker on drums and percussion. And crucially, two things were happening on this album that would affect Tull's direction for the remainder of its still-ongoing career: Anderson was developing both his songwriting and his acoustic guitar chops, and Martin Barre was successfully finding his "voice" as a guitarist.

It's something of a cliche among Tull fans that Anderson's songwriting had taken a darker, more cynical turn as of _Benefit_ (the album preceding this one). Well, on _Aqualung_ that bitter fruit is really starting to ripen. There's the title track, of course, for which Anderson credits the lyrics to his first wife Jennie (he lifted many of them from her notes on the back sides of her photographs of homeless people). There's "Cross-Eyed Mary".
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Format: Audio CD
Back in the tenement fog of Monday the 31st of October 2011 – I got terribly excited about the 2CD variant of the '40th Anniversary' Reissue of Jethro Tull's "Aqualung". Remastered with real skill and care by Porcupine Tree's STEVE WILSON – compared to the audio dreck we'd had for nearly 30 years – the 2011 2CD set was/is a sonic revelation. Out of my financial reach at the time (and the same for most everyone else I suspect) – there was also a 2011 5-Disc 'Collector's Edition' of "Aqualung" with LP, CDs, DVD and BLU RAY that was pricey then and has become something of an extortionate collectable ever since.

Well along comes Chrysalis in April 2016 and offers up a cheaper alternative - a fully-loaded 'Adapted Version' of that Super Deluxe 'Collector's Edition' Box set – this time with 2CDs and 2DVDs clipped inside a beautifully packaged 80-page Book Pack. It's the same Remastering from 2011 but 'newly' handled in 2016 'only' by Steve Wilson with some multitrack transfers by KRIS BURTON. The Audio is fabulous - it's packaged better and at under a twenty-spot - priced to sell. Here are the snots running down my nose...

UK released Friday 22 April 2016 - "Aqualung: 40th Anniversary Adapted Edition" by JETHRO TULL on Chrysalis 0825646487080 (Barcode is the same) is a 4-Disc REISSUE BOOK SET consisting of 2CDs and 2DVDs (1 is Audio, 2 is Audio and Video) that plays out as follows:

Disc 1 (43:45 minutes):
1. Aqualung
2. Cross-Eyed Mary
3. Cheap Day Return
4. Mother Goose
5. Wond’ring Aloud
6. Up To Me
7. My God [Side 2]
8. Hymn 43
9. Slipstream
10. Locomotive Breath
11.
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