Would you buy an album that contained only one song that was supposedly based on…

Written by on May 18, 2018

Would you buy an album that contained only one song that was supposedly based on a poem by an 8 year old?

Good chance you did.

On May 10, 1972, Jethro Tull released their fifth LP “Thick As A Brick”. The album had only one song, which was the whole album. The original packaging, designed like a newspaper, claimed that the album was a musical adaptation of an epic poem by a (fictional) 8-year-old genius, though the lyrics were actually written by the band’s frontman, Ian Anderson.

Ian had been surprised by the critical reaction to their previous album, Aqualung, which many saw as a “concept album”, a label he firmly rejects to this day. Anderson’s response was to “come up with something that really is the mother of all concept albums”. Taking Monty Python as an influence, he began to write a piece that would combine complex music with a sense of humour, with the idea it would poke light-hearted fun at the band, the audience, and the music critics. Ian has also stated that “the album was a spoof to the albums of Yes and Emerson, Lake & Palmer, much like what the movie Airplane! had been to Airport” and later stated that it was a “bit of a satire about the whole concept of grand rock-based concept albums.”

Even though Anderson wrote all the music and lyrics, he decided to co-credit the writing to a fictional schoolboy named Gerald Bostock. The humour was subtle enough that some fans believed that Bostock was real.

When the 40th anniversary re-issue came out, one reviewer said that many listeners of the original album “missed the joke”.

Ever hear someones head being referred to as “thick as a brick”?

Happy 46th Birthday to the legendary Jethro Tull LP “Thick AsA Brick”!!! Have you had your Tull today?

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