Friday, August 26, 2011
Abrahams did not get along with Cornick and chafed at the band's busy work schedule, eventually leaving the band to form Blodwyn Pig, a band more suited to his blues purism. Tony Iommi, guitarist with Earth (soon to be Black Sabbath) filled in for a short time as did David O'List, formerly with The Nice. The spot was filled at last by Martin Barre, who had just left Noel Redding's Fat Matress. He remains the longest running member next to Anderson. This line-up released Stand Up, which featured songs all written by Anderson with the exception of a jazz-rock arrangement of the fifth movement of Bach's "Bouree In E Minor". This became the band's only U.K. #1 album, branching out even further stylistically, placing them firmly in the category of progressive rock along with the likes of Yes, King Crimson and Genesis. In terms of diversity, however the band was and would continue to be in a class by itself, invoking jazz, folk, classical and hard rock in a seamless style all their own.
One of the band's best-known songs, "Living In The Past" was written in 5/4 time in an attempt to keep it from becoming a pop hit. The attempt failed miserably, as the single went to #3 in the U.K. charts
By 1970, John Evan rejoined his mates in the band and he appeared on that year's LP release Benefit. Glenn Cornick was fired for mysterious reasons and eventually formed Wild Turkey. He was replaced by another Blade alumnus, Jeffrey Hammond. Hammond is mentioned in several Jethro Tull songs such as "A Song For Jeffrey" and "Jeffrey Goes To Leicester Square" as well as in the lyrics to "Inside". He is listed at times as Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond as a reference to the fact that his mother's maiden name was Hammond, though no relation to his father.This line-up released Jethro Tull's best-known work, Aqualung in 1971. This album featured strong opinions about religion and Anderson has maintained that it was not a concept album. Drummer Clive Bunker left the band after the album's release to spend more time with his family, to be replaced by yet another former Blades member, Barriemore Barlowe.
1972 saw the release of Thick As A Brick, an album consisting of one song running 43:46 split over both sides of the record. It became the first of the band's albums to reach #1 in the U.S. The band seemed unable to avoid the top of the charts despite its best efforts. The following year's A Passion Play, another single -track concept album also went #1 in the U.S. War Child followed in 1974, containing the radio mainstays "Bungle In The Jungle" and "Skating Away (On The Thin Ice Of A New Day). This was followed in 1975 by Minstrel In The Gallery.
The band ended the decade with a trio of heavily folk-infuenced albums, Songs From The Wood, Stormwatch and Heavy Horses. Many line-up changes ensued, as well as further musical explorations including electronic rock. In 1989, the band was awarded a Grammy for Best Heavy Metal Performance Vocal or Instrumental, beating the favourite Metallica. This was a controversial win because of the fact that Jethro Tull are not considered hard rock, much less heavy metal, though their music contained hard rock as one of the myriad of styles the band has employed. Their nomination was seen as a fluke by the band, and sincerely believing they had no chance of winning, no one from the band even attended the ceremony. When asked about the award in an interview, Anderson quipped "well we do play our mandolins very loudly".
The band continues to make truly great music to this day, led as always by Ian Anderson, the man who among many other things, introduced the flute to rock and roll. And we are all better for it.