Aqualung (8:19)

Cover of Aqualung

From Aqualung and 97 other releases

“Aqualung” is a song by English band Jethro Tull, featured as the first track on their 1971 album Aqualung, and written by the band’s frontman, Ian Anderson, and his then-wife, Jennie Franks. The original recording runs for 6 minutes and 32 seconds. Like many of Jethro Tull’s songs, “Aqualung” tells a story —in this case, the story of a homeless man. The opening lyrics are “Sitting on a park bench / Eyeing little girls with bad intent”.

The song is the title track from Jethro Tull’s first U.S. Top 10 album, which reached #7 in June of 1971.

In an interview with Ian Anderson in the September 1999 Guitar World he said:

Aqualung wasn’t a concept album, although a lot of people thought so. The idea came about from a photograph my wife at the time took of a tramp in London. I had feelings of guilt about the homeless, as well as fear and insecurity with people like that who seem a little scary. And I suppose all of that was combined with a slightly romanticized picture of the person who is homeless but yet a free spirit, who either won’t or can’t join in society’s prescribed formats.

So from that photograph and those sentiments, I began writing the words to ‘Aqualung.’ I can remember sitting in a hotel room in L.A., working out the chord structure for the verses. It’s quite a tortured tangle of chords, but it was meant to really drag you here and there and then set you down into the more gentle acoustic section of the song.


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