According to Stephen Fry's autobiography Moab Is My Washpot, Jethro Tull invented the seed-planting drill in 1701 (this comes up because Fry knew this fact before he'd ever heard of the band, making the sentence "The Incredible String Band is better than Jethro Tull" a little cryptic to hear.)

British agriculturalist, 1674-1741; he was among the first to promote modern farming methods in Britain, including the use the of the iron plow. Around the turn of the century, he invented a horse-drawn automatic seed drill with an iron plow (the fore-runner of the improved cast-iron plow, invented in the 1790's), which furrowed the fields and deposited the seeds in linear rows to an acceptable depth, where they would not be picked off by birds and beasts and still have enough soil to grow well. This automation, accompanied by the beginnings of wide-spread use of fertilizer and crop rotation, significantly reduced the amount of seed and labour necessary, allowed weeding around the linear furrows, and increased England's crop yield, paving the way for the population growth and later projects of the industrial revolution.

To my knowledge, Ian Anderson chose the name because it sounded cool, without any particular reference to Mr. Tull's historical importance.

Ian Anderson didn't pick the name Jethro Tull, his agent did, and it was for no other reason than that they needed a name for that night in order to get re-booked at that club. Their agent had studied history and Jethro Tull was the name of the inventor of the seed drill as others have mentioned above.

That same night the club owner offered them a regular spot at the club and by that time it was too late to change their name.
Jethro Tull are a British rock band that have been going since 1967, and produced many albums. They have a very distinctive style, and never have sold out to commercialism.

Ian Anderson's manic antics on stage, brandishing his flute, or some prop relating to an album or track the band is performing, makes their concerts always entertaining.

The band started out with a single: Aeroplane / Sunshine Day, which I believe is quite rare (Aeroplane and Sunshine Day have subsequently turned up as bonus tracks on one of their early album CD releases). The sound of Aeroplane is quite psychedelic, and very much in keeping with the music of 1967. However, in many sleeve note and music press interviews, Ian Anderson has stated that Jethro Tull are completely anti drugs.

Their first two albums were This Was and Stand Up. The music here is a pleasant blend of rhythm and blues, folk and art rock - ballads, blues and mellotrons. Ian's crooning style at this point would not be out of place in the English folk music scene.

Both these albums dedicate a track to a person called Jeffrey. According to cover notes of the time, he was a kind of male groupie - a hanger on, that they enjoyed taking the mickey out of. Subsequently, he did play bass guitar for the band for a while. They do continue to play A Song For Jeffrey at live concerts, which goes down well with the fans.

Their third album, Benefit was more art rock, borrowing different melodies from classical music.

It was the fourth album, Aqualung, which broke the mold. The sound is much more heavy rock, and Ian's flute playing is quite outstanding. This album took our notions of faith, hope and charity, and turned them upside down.1 This is the first album we see with really biting lyrics and social commentary.

Not to let things cool down, this album was followed by another iconoclastic one called Thick as a Brick, challenging our notions on the media, censorship and floccinaucinihilipilification.

Since this time, the band have continued to produce many albums, many of which are concept albums.

Discography2

  • This Was (1968)
  • Stand up (1969)
  • Benefit (1970)
  • Aqualung (1971)
  • Thick as a Brick (1972)
  • A Passion Play (1973)
  • War Child (1974)
  • Minstrel in the Gallery (1975)
  • Too Old to Rock And Roll, Too Young to Die (1976)
  • Songs from the Wood (1977)
  • Heavy Horses (1978)
  • Bursting out (Live) (1978)
  • Stormwatch (1979)
  • [A] (1980)
  • Broadsword and the Beast (1982)
  • Under Wraps (1984)
  • Crest of a Knave (1987)
  • Rock Island (1989)
  • Catfish Rising (1991)
  • A Little Light Music (1992)
  • Nightcap (1993)
  • Roots to Branches (1995)
  • JTull.Com (1999)

    Compilations

  • Living in the past (1972)
  • M.U. The Best of Jethro Tull (1976)
  • Repeat The Best of Jethro Tull Vol II (1977)
  • Original Masters (1985)
  • 20 Years of Jethro Tull (1988)
  • Jethro Tull 25th Anniversary 4 CD Box Set (1993)
  • The Best of Jethro Tull: The Anniversary Collection (1993)
  • Jethro Tull in Concert

Line-up:3

Original (1967) line-up:

Ian Anderson (flute, guitar, keyboards, vocals)
Mick Abrahams (guitar)
Glenn Cornick (bass)
Clive Bunker (drums)

(1968) Abrahams quits to form Blodwyn Pig -- briefly replaced by Tony Iommi (guitar), later of Black Sabbath, who only appears with Tull in The Rolling Stones' Rock 'n' Roll Circus.

(1969) Iommi replaced by Martin Barre (guitar)

(1970) John Evan joins on piano

(1971) Glenn Cornick quits to form Wild Turkey and, later, Paris. He is replaced by Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond (bass). Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond is the person to whom A Song for Jeffrey and Jeffrey Goes to Leicester Square were dedicated.

(1972) Late in '71, Clive Bunker leaves and is replaced by Barriemore Barlow (drums). Barlow, Hammond- Hammond, and Evan were all band-mates of Anderson in the pre-Tull John Evan Blues Band.

From this point on, there are various changes to the line-up, but Ian Anderson stays on vocals, and Martin Barre on guitar. Below are some details by instrument.

Bass: Glascock left in '78 and died in '79. He was replaced on bass by Dave Pegg, formerly of Fairport Convention. Dave Pegg continued through '91, then was replaced by Matt Pegg (a relative presumably).

Keyboards: John Evan finally left in '79 and was replaced for two years by Eddie Jobson (also on violin, from Curved Air, Roxy Music and Frank Zappa, in that order). Peter-John Vetese did the keys from 1982-87, and '88-91. Apparently, Anderson thought it worthwhile to carry two keyboard players, because Martin Allcock is also listed from 1988-91.

Drums: Mark Craney took up the sticks from 1980-81, to be replaced by Jerry Conway until '84. Following a gap, Doane Perry sat in from 1987-91. Most recent drummer listed is Dave Mattacks (another Fairport Convention alumnus!) from '91.

Notes:
1 I have a catholic friend who positively adores the irony in this album. However, I imagine that some christians could find the album bordering on the blasphemous.

2 You will be pleased to know that I do not intend to pollute the nodegel with tracklists and lyrics of everything JT have done. I may add the occasional album review if I think it deserves it. I will also hard link to any existing albums. Please /msg me if you have added a node for a JT album, and you want me to hard link.

3 Many thanks go to sighmoan for supplying the information on the changes of band members.

Jethro Tull was also the first band to ever win a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance Vocal Or Instrumental, which was quite a controversial event. The category was created in 1988, and the voting may have been ill-advised due to no previous presence of such an award. The loudest protests came from Metallica and their fans, spearheaded by Lars Ulrich, who strongly believed the award had been wrongfully dispensed. Three years later, Ulrich's petty nature shined through when he sarcastically "thanked" Jethro Tull for not producing an album that year during the acceptance speech for the Grammy they received for ...And Justice For All.

This is another case where the fans of each group will most likely stay loyal by siding appropriately. A parallel can be drawn between this situation and certain instances in Olympic history where gold medals have been given seemingly in error. A notable example of "Finders-Keepers" would be from the 2004 Summer Olympics where American gymnast Paul Hamm was asked to return his gold medal due to a judgement error that put Yang Tae Young of Korea in third place for the bronze.

When a governing body of judges makes the final decision of who takes an award, leaving the public opinion of the results to chance, there is ample room for trouble to stir. Ultimately, the question of fairness is always debatable; but then again, life is not fair.

CERTAIN FACTS MAY DIFFER DEPENDING ON WHERE YOU RESEARCH THIS FOR VERIFICATION. I HAVE USED Grammy.com AS MY SOURCE FOR ACCURACY.

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