In 2011, Jethro Tull’s iconic album Aqualung was released in celebration of its 40th anniversary. If you didn’t pick it up then, you’re in luck, because if you’ve checked your calendar, you know that it’s been five years, so it’s time for us to release a 45th Anniversary Edition!
Rather than just give fans one live concert DVD to dig into, Jethro Tull deliver Around the World Live, a four-disc collection that spans over 30 years' worth of shows. Starting with a performance at the Isle of Wright festival in 1970 and going all the way forward to a 2005 performance in Lugano, Switzerland…
If Steven Wilson’s remixes of albums by Yes and XTC aren’t enough surround sound excitement for you, then check this out: Jethro Tull’s third album, 1970′s Benefit, is being reissued as a 2CD/1DVD set featuring the talents of the Porcupine Tree frontman. Benefit was, perhaps, the first step in Tull’s immersion in the greater world of progressive rock. The quintet moved away from the blues influences of their last two records toward a more heavier sound.
Released at a time when a lot of bands were embracing pop-Christianity (à la Jesus Christ Superstar), Aqualung was a bold statement for a rock group, a pro-God anti-church tract that probably got lots of teenagers wrestling with these ideas for the first time in their lives. This was the album that made Jethro Tull a fixture on FM radio, with riff-heavy songs like "My God," "Hymn 43," "Locomotive Breath," "Cross-Eyed Mary," "Wind Up," and the title track. And from there, they became a major arena act, and a fixture at the top of the record charts for most of the 1970s.
In the '80s, Jethro Tull was no longer the dominant force on the rock scene they had been throughout much of the previous decade, but the indomitable Ian Anderson continued to make ambitious records based on themes of ages past, even in an era of skinny ties and drum machines. BROADSWORD AND THE BEAST has a marked swords-and-sorcery motif; Anderson is depicted as a winged elfin creature on the cover. Despite such leanings, producer Paul Samwell-Smith–original bassist for the Yardbirds–gives the record a modern gloss, weaving the synthesizer playing of Peter-John Vettesse and the out-sized guitars of Tull stalwart Martin Barre through BROADSWORD's vaguely medieval-sounding romps.