Jethro Tull is one of the longest-running bands of all time. They started in the late 1960s and are still running strong today. They are possibly best known for mixing flute with rock guitars and unique folk - progressive rock style. While their album sales have dropped from the #1 spot they held in 1972 and 1973, they still have a large following. Their unique blend of folk, rock and heavy metal have always pulled me in, and Ian Anderson's genius song writing techniques have never disappointed anyone. In the past decade, their music has softened to more folk/rock slant, but Martin Barre still adds strong guitar solos to keep the rock flavor alive. Note: Jethro Tull is the name of the seed plow inventor, and it's just a name the band took. It is not a person, it is a rock band, but Ian Anderson (the front man) is often mistaken as Mr. Tull.
Thick as a Brick was an album famous for being 1 song that spanned an hour and a half, and is possibly their most famous piece. This was a popular concept back in the 70s, while Yes, Pink Floyd and other progressive rock bands were also spinning long tales. As a whole album, Thick as a Brick is certainly one of their best accomplishments, but I am disqualifying it from my list, which will just include single tracks. Aqualung was another album that gathered a lot of fame for the group, and the title track is arguably one of the most played tracks of 70s FM radio (right there with Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven). It is in my top 40 favorite Jethro Tull songs, but did not make the top 10 list.
Here are the 10 Best Jethro Tull Songs:
1. Heavy Horses from the album Heavy Horses (1978). On one of their most diverse albums, the title track mixed all the best Tull traits of woods, acoustic, chimes, stringed instruments and rock. It's a beautiful song.
2. Songs from the Wood from the album Songs from the Wood (1977). This was the first Tull album I bought, and remains a favorite. The title track has a strong driving force I always liked.
3. Budapest from the album Crest of a Knave (1987). The lyrics sold me on this song, and the melody just clinches the deal.
4. Rocks on the Road from the album Catfish Rising (1991). A sweet song which pulls you in from start to finish, soft and strong at the same time.
5. Beastie from the album Broadsword and the Beast (1982). How can you resists a song about a spectre beast chasing you though time? Or at least that's the meaning I got from it. The hard rock beat really gets me. Seal Driver was also excellent from this LP.
6. We Used to Know from the album Stand Up (1969). A good rock tempo that doesn't let up, this song brings back fond memories of early days and vinyl LP's.
7. Orion from the album Stormwatch (1979). The use of strings in this song really pushed it up on the list, it conjures images of the sea for me.
8. Farm on the Freeway from the album Rock Island (1989). Whaler's Dues is also great from this LP. Both songs have a good rock force underlying a real story told in song. Listen to the lyrics.
9. Minstrel in the Gallery from the album Minstrel in the Gallery (1975). This song changes tempo and mood in several places and almost seems as 3 songs in 1. It's delightful!
10. Wond'ring Again from the album Living in the Past (1972). A very sweet piano piece that just makes me feel happy.
There you have it, the best Jethro Tull songs from a collection that includes more than 47 years of musical bliss. Thanks, Ian, it's been a great ride.
Also check out: Best Tull Albums
plus Undiscovered and Lesser Known Tull Songs
There's always more to find, new songs, and new notes from Jethro Tull... and they're not done yet! Fifty more years of Jethro Tull? Can Ian make it?