'Thick as a Brick': Jethro Tull's Comedic Concept Album

Jethro Tull's 'Thick as a Brick'
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Parlophone Records

If you’ll allow us to spin you back down the years, then we’ll tell you the tale of Jethro Tull’s Thick As a Brick, which was "printed" in the late winter of 1972.

Following the success of 1971’s Aqualung, Jethro Tull decided to try a humorous take on concept albums that were all the rage among their prog rock peers. Frontman Ian Anderson had, in fact, been inspired by the work of Monty Python to get a bit cleverer with the band’s work and poke fun at the whole genre and its grandiosity, while also delivering the concept album to end all concept albums.

"The album was a spoof to the albums of Yes and Emerson, Lake & Palmer,” Anderson told The Arizona Republic in 2013. “Much like what the movie Airplane! had been to Airport.”

READ MORE: Jethro Tull Celebrate 50 Years of "Aqualung" with New Video

The original packaging of Thick As a Brick was designed to resemble a newspaper, one which assured readers that the contents therein were the band’s musical adaptation of a poem written by 7-year-old genius Gerald “Little Milton” Bostock, a work which had won Bostock an award from the Society of Literary Advancement and Gestation. (Wait, so the acronym for the society is SLAG?)

Thick As a Brick was designed as a single track (one which was necessarily split between the two sides of the album), which made it decidedly difficult to release a song as a single. But a highly edited-down version of the title track has effectively been in regular radio rotation for literally half a century, just to give you an idea of how successful the album has been over the years.

That shouldn’t surprise anyone who was around at the time of its original release, though: Thick As a Brick was a smash straight out of the box, giving Jethro Tull their first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200. And yet – as hard as it may be to believe – there are some who still won't give Thick as a Brick the time of day simply because “it's not Aqualung.”

If you're one of those folks...well, after 50 years of dismissing an album as classic as this one, it’s time we told you: we really do mind if you sit this one out.

WATCH: Ian Anderson Unboxes Jethro Tull's 'Benefit' Box

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The "Saturday Night Live" Blue Oyster Cult parody is so popular that it literally haunts Walken to this very day.
(Larry Hulst/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
The album hit #6 on the charts, with the single reaching #9.
Jones/Tintoretto Entertainment Company
Two live dates made up his second concert LP.

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