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Jethro Tull

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Blackpool, Lancashire, England (1967 – present)

Jethro Tull is a / band which formed in Blackpool, Lancashire, England in 1967. Their music is marked by the initially soulful and bluesy, and later expressively idiosyncratic, vocal style and unique lead flute work of frontman Ian Anderson; and by unusual and often complex song construction. Their music, though starting with blues rock with an experimental flavour, has incorporated elements of classical and celtic folk music, as well as art rock and alternative rock. Anderson has attributed the marked difference between their music and the music of their contemporaries to the group’s avoidance of narcotics. While other music groups did influence them in their early years, they quickly developed a unique, instantly recognizable sound.

Ian Anderson’s first band, started in 1963 in Blackpool, was known as The Blades. It had developed by 1966 into a seven-piece white soul band called the John Evan Band (later the John Evan Smash), named for pianist/drummer John Evans, who dropped the final “s” from his name to make it sound less ordinary. At this point, Barriemore Barlow was the band’s drummer, as he would later be for Tull itself beginning in early 1971. However, after moving to London, most of the band quit, leaving Anderson and bassist Glenn Cornick to join forces with blues guitarist Mick Abrahams and his friend, drummer Clive Bunker, both from the band McGregor’s Engine. At first, they had trouble getting repeat bookings and took to changing their name frequently to continue playing the London club circuit. Band names were often supplied by the staff of their booking agents, one of whom, a history buff, eventually christened them Jethro Tull after the 18th century agriculturist who invented the seed drill.

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