JETHRO TULL: AQUALUNG (1971)
Aqualung was Jethro Tull's 4rth studio album and most successful one by far. It is considered as a concept album, featuring a central theme of ‘the distinction between religion and God’. Aqualung was a turning point in the band's career, that went on to become a major radio and touring act.
After the release of their first 2 albums (Stand Up & This Was) which seemed to be influenced mostly by the Blues, the band tried to change their sound with the release of Benefit in 1970; and with the release of Aqualung the transformation was completed.
Aqualung was the first album including John Evan as a full-time member, and also Jeffrey Hammond as the band’s new bass player. It was also the last album including Clive Bunker on drums.
The painting on the cover was inspired from pictures of homeless people that were living around Thames, and were taken by Ian Anderson's wife. Aqualung, the main character, is one of those people, and on the first side of the album we listen to his story.
The music style is Rock (in Jethro Tull's point of view), which on many occasions is "flirting" with Progressive Rock. Also, influences from Blues and Folk can be found here.
It is Jethro Tull's best selling album with more than 7.000.000 copies sold worldwide. In the years to come it would inspire many artists and bands, such as Iron Maiden for example, who recorded a cover version of Cross-Eyed Mary in 1993 and released it as a B-side on the single Trooper.
Upon it's release, it received very good critics, climbed at the charts both in USA and UK, but failed to reach at the top. (Best chart position was No.4 in UK). The first single that was came out from this album, was Hymn 43, but it failed to reach to the high positions of the charts. With the passing years two songs that became the trademarks of Jethro Tull, both included in this album: Aqualung and Locomotive Breath.
Aqualung was re-released on 2011 at the album's 40th anniversary. This release contains a new stereo and a surround 5.1 mix, made by Steve Wilson of Porcupine Tree. Definitely a 'must have' for any Rock music collection.
Other Jethro Tull albums I recommend: Thick as a Brick, Minstrell in the Gallery, Songs from the Wood.
In the following YT links you can listen to a couple of songs from this album if you want.