Jethro Tull's Thick as a Brick and A Passion Play
Inside Two Long Songs
Publication Year: 2013
Since the 1960s, British progressive rock band Jethro Tull has pushed the technical and compositional boundaries of rock music by infusing its musical output with traditions drawn from classical, folk, jazz, and world music. The release of Thick as a Brick (1972) and A Passion Play (1973) won the group legions of new followers and topped the Billboard charts in the United States, among the most unusual albums ever to do so. Tim Smolko explores the large-scale form, expansive instrumentation, and complex arrangements that characterize these two albums, each composed of one continuous song. Featuring insights from Ian Anderson and in-depth musical analysis, Smolko discusses the band's influence on popular culture and why many consider Thick as a Brick and A Passion Play to be two of the greatest concept albums in rock history.
Published by: Indiana University Press
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Title Page, Other Works in the Series, Copyright
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List of Illustrations
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T.aim.a Sm.aolk.ao’s b.aook.a on th.ae sub.aj.aects of Thick as a Brick, A Passion Play, and The Chateau D’Isaster Tapes makes for a scholarly but vigorous insight into the sometimes wacky but always considered and adventurous world of Ian Anderson’s rather extreme musical meander-Exploring the background to the advent of progressive rock and the ...
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...f_irst time they discover a favorite album. Many years ago when I f_irst saw Jethro Tull’s Thick as a Brick in the stacks at Jerry’s Records in Pit_tsburgh, I was intrigued. Why did they make the album cover into a newspaper? What was all the text about? Who was this strange lit_tle bloke, Gerald Bostock, staring back at me from the cover? When I saw that the album ...
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F.airst off, I’d lik.ae to th.aank.a m.ay w.aonderful w.aife, J.aoanna, for encouraging me, editing me, and acclimating her ears to the din of loud electric guitars and drums. I owe so much to you and I love you!My editors at Indiana University Press, Raina Polivka and Darja Malcolm-Clarke, along with series editors Felicia Miyakawa, and Jef_frey ...
1 Life Is a Long Song: Providing a Context for Thick as a Brick and A Passion Play
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...rock bands such as King Crimson; Emerson, Lake & Palmer; Yes; Gen esis; and Jethro Tull were imbuing their music with a broadened har mon ic palette, largescale forms, polyphonic textures, avantgarde sensibilities, virtuoso technique, and the use of the latest advances in instrument and studio technology. All of these ingredients are in evidence on Jethro ...
2 Galliards and Lute Songs: The Influence of Early Music in Jethro Tull
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...a context for Thick as a Brick and A Passion Play, first describes how an interest in medieval and Renaissance culture and music arose within the British folk and rock music of the late 1960s. It then considers how these influences began to show up early in Jethro Tull’s career and on the two albums. By the early 1970s these influences became a defining ...
3 Geared toward the Exceptional Rather than the Average: The Album Cover and Lyrics of Thick as a Brick
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Just as the music of Thick as a Brick was inspired by the broadened possibilities and creative atmosphere of rock music in the late 1960s and early 1970s, so was its album cover. The album cover became a wildly creative art form during this period, and browsing the stacks in the rock section of a used record store even today can be quite an ...
4 The Music of Thick as a Brick: Form and Thematic Development
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...of Thick as a Brick, it would be helpful to read a portion of the first review of the album, which warns the listener that the structure of the work may seem a bit odd: “One doubts at times the validity of what appears to be an expanding theme throughout the two continuous sides of this record but the result is at worst entertaining and at least aesthetically ...
5 The Music of Thick as a Brick: Other Features
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...music, focusing on its stylistic diversity, instrumental passages, instru-mentation, and harmony. As with many large-scale progressive rock songs, Thick as a Brick is a stylistically diverse and restless piece of music, with unrelenting shifts in musical style, meter, key area, tempo, texture, dynamics, instrumentation, and mood. The listener’s interest is main-...
6 The Château d'Isaster Tapes and the Album Cover and Lyrics of A Passion Play
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During a break in the tour for Thick as a Brick in the summer of 1972, Jethro Tull began work on the music that would later become A Passion Play. From the start, the band intended on writing another concept album. Anderson comments: “[Thick as a Brick] was a very successful album, and when it came to the next album I guess we ...
7 The Music of A Passion Play
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...a spacious musical journey, although the journey is a bit gloomy because of the subject matter of the lyrics. Yet because of Anderson’s wry vocal delivery and the droll and inane “The Story of the Hare Who Lost His Spectacles,” the gloominess is not overbearing. The music is rich, layered, and diverse, and a close look at some its features allows one to discover ...
8 Monty Python, Reception, and Live Versions
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Brick and A Passion Play that are important but have not yet been con-sidered. The first section shows how the two albums were influenced by British humor of the 1960s and 1970s, especially the television show Monty Python’s Flying Circus (1969–1974). The second section describes how the albums were received by fans, critics, and the musicians them-...
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Jethro Tull, David Rees and Martin Webb encapsulate the band’s career If ever there was a band beset by paradox, Jethro Tull is it. In a medium where gimmicks are the norm, the group’s success has always come from the music it-self – and yet, in the wild-eyed, one-legged flute player, Ian Anderson has created The content of the music is intelligent, analytical, even cerebral – and yet ...
Epilogue: Whatever Happened to Gerald Bostock?
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Ian Anderson announced something as unexpected as Thick as a Brick and A Passion Play hitting number one on the Billboard chart: he had written and recorded a sequel to Thick as a Brick. The new album re-counts the further possible adventures of Gerald “Little Milton” Bostock, the fictional boy genius and supposed author of the Thick as a Brick lyrics. ...
Appendix 1. The Complete Lyrics to Thick as a Brick
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Appendix 2. The Complete Lyrics to A Passion Play
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Appendix 3. Analysis of the Instrumental Passages
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About the Author
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Tim.a Sm.ao.al.ak.ao.a holds master’s degrees in Musicology and in ...
Page Count: 266
Illustrations: 10 b&w illus., 28 music exx.
Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: Profiles in Popular Music