Aqualung was the fourth, and most successful, album by British prog rock band Jethro Tull. A loose concept album about faith, religion and the downtrodden, featuring plenty of lead flute, it’s one of the unlikeliest hit rock albums ever.
I remember listening to this album fairly often during high school, when 70s bands were the musical bread and butter for me and my fellow classmates.
Jethro Tull’s fifth album, Thick as a Brick dropped in March of 1972, one year after the release of Aqualung. Aqualung was often described as a “concept album,” a characterization bandleader Ian Anderson disagreed with, and this album was recorded as a response to critics.
“I always said at the time that this is not a concept album,” Anderson said of Aqualung. “This is just an album of varied songs of varied instrumentation and intensity in which three or four are the kind of keynote pieces for the album but it doesn’t make it a concept album. In my mind when it came to writing the next album, Thick as a Brick, was done very much in the sense of: ‘Whuh, if they thought Aqualung was a concept album, Oh! Okay, we’ll show you a concept album.’ And it was done as a kind of spoof, a send-up, of the concept album genre.”