Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Jethro Tull Celebrate 50 Years of Flutes and More at City Hall; ALAN NICHOL Has the Latest News on the Roots Music Scene in the Region

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Jethro Tull Celebrate 50 Years of Flutes and More at City Hall; ALAN NICHOL Has the Latest News on the Roots Music Scene in the Region

Article excerpt

Byline: ALAN NICHOL

ONE of the biggest-selling British acts of all time Jethro Tull, with sales in the region of 60 million records, arrives in Newcastle next week as part of their 50th anniversary tour.

Jethro Tull play at a venue which has hosted them many times in the past, the City Hall, next Thursday night. Fronted by the instantly recognisable Ian Anderson, the band has undergone numerous stylistic and personnel changes in that long and garlanded history. As a result, the problem will be what to leave out when they choose their set-list for the show.

Fife-born singer/flautist/guitarist/ writer Anderson had been playing in blues-inclined bands like The Blades while still at school in and around his hometown of Blackpool (the family moved there when he was a child).

He had decided against playing guitar on stage because the competition at the time was pretty serious with the likes of Clapton, Beck, Green, Page etc. Both Mick Taylor (later of the Rolling Stones) and Tony Iommi (later of Black Sabbath) were auditioned for the lead-guitar role in the band but the former opted to stay with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and the latter stayed with his band, Earth, which morphed into Sabbath.

Instead Anderson settled on the flute, an instrument which would play an indispensible, perhaps unique, part in the band's history.

He also decided on the name Jethro Tull - adopting the moniker of the pioneering English agriculturalist - in time for the debut album release, This Was, for Island Records in 1968.

Prior to that release, the band had put out the debut single, Sunshine Day, for MGM but somehow a printing error at the record plant saw the name "Jethro Toe" appear on the record-label (making the obscure single instantly collectible).

Fortunately, neither the follow-up album, Stand Up, which topped the UK album chart nor the subsequent hit singles A Song For Jeffrey, Love Story and Living In The Past had to suffer any such print problems.

The band went on to tour internationally and sell millions of albums - Aqualung alone sold in excess of 7 million - to establish a worldwide musical brand which, rather like the Rolling Stones, shows little sign of diminishing. …

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