Ian Anderson formed a blues and jazz fusion band in the mid-60s and the name changed frequently until an agent, with an interest in history, booked them as Jethro Tull, and the name stuck. Ian took up the flute, as he felt he would never match Eric Clapton as a guitarist as and, with a coat purchased to keep out the cold in a draughty bedsit, the image of the tousled, flute-wielding minstrel was born.
Tull’s debut album This Was received favourable reviews and sold well upon its release in 1968. The commercial break though came the following year when Living In The Past, with its unusual 5/4 time signature, reached number 11 in the singles chart and an appearance on Top Of The Pops, performing the number 4 hit The Witch’s Promise brought Tull to a much wider audience.
Musically, a historical theme was developing which Anderson exploited as the creative force behind a series of critically acclaimed albums including Stand Up, Benefit, Aqualung, Thick As A Brick and Passion Play.
Jethro Tull became one of the most distinctive and original bands to fall under the ‘progressive rock’ umbrella and that still sets them apart as one of the best-loved bands of the genre.
Over 50 years on, Ian Anderson and Jethro Tull continue perform some 70 to 100 shows each year around the world. Anderson’s energy and enthusiasm for his music still makes Jethro Tull concerts an experience to savour.