This month marks the 50 year Anniversary of Jethro Tull’s classic album, Aqualung.. His best-selling album, shifting more than seven million units worldwide and streamed over 80 million times across the globe (81,912,630). In April 1971 the album peaked at number four on the UK Album Chart and was Tull’s fourth studio album.
Aqualung is widely regarded as a concept album featuring a central theme of “the distinction between religion and God”, though the band have said there was no intention to make a concept album, and that only a few songs have a unifying theme. It features a variety of genres – elements of folk, blues, psychedelia & hard rock. Aqualung‘s success signalled a turning point in the career of the band, which went on to become a major radio and touring act.
Recorded at Island Records‘ studio in London, it was their first album with keyboardist John Evan as a full-time member, their first with new bassist Jeffrey Hammond, and last album featuring Clive Bunker on drums, who quit the band shortly after the release of the album. Something of a departure from the band’s previous work, the album features more acoustic material than previous releases; and inspired by photographs of homeless people on the Thames Embankment taken by singer Ian Anderson‘s wife Jennie contains a number of recurring themes, addressing religion along with Anderson’s own personal experiences.
Aqualung was widely well received. Sounds said that its “taste and variety” made it the band’s “finest” work. The Village Voice’s annual Pap and Jop critics’ poll voted it the 22nd best album of 1971.Retrospective reviews generally regard as a classic and AllMusic’s Bruce Eder referred to the album as a “bold statement” and “extremely profound.”
Steve Harris (Iron Maiden) describes it as “a classic album” “fantastic playing, fantastic songs, attitude [and] vibe.”
Aqualung is officially re-issued on March 26th