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Jethro Tull are a British progressive rock group. Their music is characterised by the vocals, acoustic guitar, and flute playing of Ian Anderson, who has led the band since its founding, and the guitar work of Martin Barre, who has been with the band since 1969, after he replaced original guitarist Mick Abrahams.
Formed in Luton, Bedfordshire, in December 1967, initially playing experimental blues rock, they later incorporated elements of classical music, folk music, jazz, hard rock and art rock into their music. During a career that has spanned more than forty years, Jethro Tull have sold more than 60 million albums worldwide
Ian Anderson started his first band, the Blades, in Blackpool, England in 1962. The group featured Anderson on vocals and harmonica, Jeffrey Hammond on bass, John Evans on drums, and a guitarist named either Hipgrave or Michael Stephans. Drummer Barrie Barlow became a member in 1963 after Evans had switched from drums to piano. By 1964 the band had developed into a seven-piece Blue-eyed soul band called the John Evan Band (later the John Evan Smash). By this point Evans had shortened his surname to "Evan" at the insistence of Hammond, who thought it sounded better and more unusual.
In 1967, the band moved to the London area, basing themselves in nearby Luton; they also travelled to Liverpool. However, money remained short and within days of the move most of the band quit and headed back north, leaving Anderson and bassist Glenn Cornick (who had replaced Hammond) to join forces with blues guitarist Mick Abrahams and his friend, drummer Clive Bunker, both from the Luton-based band McGregor's Engine. At first, the new band had trouble getting repeat bookings and they took to changing their name frequently to continue playing the London club circuit. Band names were often supplied by their booking agents' staff, one of whom, a history enthusiast, eventually christened them "Jethro Tull" after the 18th-century agriculturist. The name stuck because they happened to be using it the first time a club manager liked their show enough to invite them to return. They were signed to the blossoming Ellis-Wright agency, and became the third band managed by the soon-to-be Chrysalis empire. It was around this time that Anderson purchased a flute after becoming frustrated with his inability to play guitar like Eric Clapton:
"I didn't want to be just another third-rate guitar player who sounded like a bunch of other third-rate guitar players. I wanted to do something that was a bit more idiosyncratic, hence the switch to another instrument. When Jethro Tull began, I think I'd been playing the flute for about two weeks. It was a quick learning curve...literally every night I walked onstage was a flute lesson."
Released in 1968, their first single, "Sunshine Day", written by Abrahams and produced by Derek Lawrence, was commercially unsuccessful. On the original UK MGM 45 rpm record label, the group's name was misspelled "Jethro Toe", making it a collector's item. Anderson questions the misnomer as a way to avoid paying royalties. The more common version, with the name spelled correctly, is actually a counterfeit made in New York.
They released their first album This Was in 1968. In addition to music written by Anderson and Abrahams the album included the traditional "Cat's Squirrel", which highlighted Abrahams' blues-rock style. The Rahsaan Roland Kirk –penned jazz piece "Serenade to a Cuckoo" gave Anderson a showcase for his growing talents on the flute, an instrument which he started learning to play only half a year before the release of the album. The overall sound of the group at this time was described in the Record Mirror by Anderson in 1968 as "a sort of progressive blues with a bit of jazz."
Following this album, Abrahams left after a falling out with Anderson and formed his own band, Blodwyn Pig. There were a number of reasons given for Abrahams' departure: he was a blues purist, while Anderson wanted to branch out into other forms of music; Abrahams was unwilling to travel internationally or play more than three nights a week; or there was simply no way a band could exist with two strong-minded heads (Anderson and Abrahams) pulling it in different directions. Abrahams himself described his reasons more succinctly: "I was fed up with all the nonsense, and I wanted to form a band like Blodwyn Pig."
Guitarist Tony Iommi, from the group Earth (who would soon change their name to Black Sabbath), took on guitar duties for a short time after the departure of Abrahams, appearing in The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus, in which the group (all but Ian's vocals, which were recorded live) mimed "A Song for Jeffrey" in December 1968. Iommi returned to Earth thereafter. David O'List (who had just left the Nice) also deputised on guitar with Jethro Tull for a few shows and was briefly considered as a possible permanent replacement for Abrahams, although these plans never materialised.
After auditions for a replacement guitarist in December 1968, Anderson chose Martin Barre, a former member of Motivation, Penny Peeps, and Gethsemane, who was playing with Noel Redding's Fat Mattress at the time. Barre was so nervous at his first audition that he could hardly play at all, and then showed up for a second audition without an amplifier or a cord to connect his guitar to another amp. Nevertheless, Barre would become Abrahams' permanent replacement on guitar and the second longest-standing member of the band after Anderson. Another contender for the job, Steve Howe, later guitarist with Yes, failed to pass his audition.
This new line-up released Stand Up in 1969, the group's only UK number-one album. The LP unfolded to a photo insert of the band attached to the covers like a pop-up book. Written entirely by Anderson – with the exception of the jazzy rearrangement of J. S. Bach's Bourrée in E minor BWV 996 (fifth movement) – it branched out further from the blues, clearly evidencing a new direction for the group, which would come to be categorised as progressive rock alongside such diverse groups as Pink Floyd, King Crimson,Genesis, Camel, The Nice, Gentle Giant, and Yes. A couple of months prior to the sessions for this album, the band recorded one of their best-known songs, "Living in the Past", which was originally issued only as a single. Despite its unconventional 5/4 time signature, the song reached number three in the UK charts. Although most other progressive groups actively resisted issuing singles at the time, Jethro Tull had further success with their other singles, "Sweet Dream" (1969) and "The Witch's Promise" (1970), and a five-track EP, Life Is a Long Song (1971), all of which made the top twenty. In 1970, they added keyboardist John Evan (initially as a guest musician) and released the albumBenefit.
In December 1970, bassist Cornick was "invited to leave" by Jethro Tull manager Terry Ellis, as he had become distanced from the other more reclusive band members, and he formed the band Wild Turkey. He was replaced by Jeffrey Hammond, the childhood friend and former Blades bandmate of Anderson's and Evan's whose name appeared in the titles of the songs "A Song for Jeffrey", "Jeffrey Goes to Leicester Square", "For Michael Collins, Jeffrey, and Me", and in the lyrics of the Benefitalbum track, "Inside". Hammond was often credited on Jethro Tull albums as "Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond", a reference to the fact that Hammond's mother's maiden name was also Hammond, no relation to his father.
This line-up released Jethro Tull's best-known work, Aqualung, in 1971. On this album, Anderson's lyrics included strong opinions about religion. The song "Hymn 43" was released as a single, and the album provided plenty of FM radio fodder with the tracks "Aqualung", "Cross-Eyed Mary" and "Locomotive Breath". The Aqualung album would become the band's first to crack the U.S. top ten, reaching No. 7 in June 1971. It sold over one million copies and was awarded a gold disc by the RIAA in July 1971.
Because of the heavy touring schedule and his wish to spend more time with his family, drummer Bunker quit the group after the Aqualung album and was replaced by Barrie Barlow (who was rechristened "Barriemore" by Anderson) in early 1971. Barlow first recorded with the band for the EP Life Is a Long Song and made his first appearance on a Jethro Tull album with 1972's Thick as a Brick. Disagreeing with the assessment from some music critics that Aqualung (1971) had been a concept album, Ian Anderson decided to give them "the mother of all concept albums", including the preposterous idea that the lyrics had been written by an eight-year-old boy. The album consisted of a single track running 43:46 (an innovation previously unheard of in rock music) split over the two sides of the LP, with a number of movements melded together and some repeating themes. The first movement with its distinctive acoustic guitar riff received some airplay on rock stations at the time. Thick as a Brick was the first Tull album to reach number one on the (US) Billboard Pop Albums chart (the following year's A Passion Play being the only other). This album's quintet – Anderson, Barre, Evan, Hammond, and Barlow – lasted until the end of 1975, and was, in essence, a reunion of The Blades, with Barre being the only member of Jethro Tull who had not been in The Blades.
1972 also saw the release of Living in the Past, a double-album compilation of remixed singles, B-sides and outtakes (including the entirety of the Life Is a Long Song EP, which closes the album), with the third side recorded live in 1970 at New York's Carnegie Hall concert. With this album's release, the "Living in the Past" single gained popularity in the U.S., becoming the band's first Top 20 hit there (reaching No. 11).
In 1973, while in tax exile, the band attempted to produce a double album at France's Château d'Hérouville studios (something The Rolling Stones and Elton John among others were doing at the time), but supposedly they were unhappy with the quality of the recording studio and abandoned the effort, subsequently mocking the studio as the "Chateau d'Isaster". (An 11-minute excerpt was released on the 1988 20 Years of Jethro Tull boxed set, and the complete "Chateau d'Isaster Tapes" were finally released on the 1993 compilation Nightcap, with overdubbed flute lines where the vocal parts were missing.) They returned to England and Anderson rewrote, quickly recorded, and releasedA Passion Play (1973), another single-track concept album, with allegorical lyrics focusing on the afterlife. Just as "Thick as a Brick" had, A Passion Play contained instrumentation rather uncommon in rock music. The album also featured an interlude, "The Story of the Hare Who Lost His Spectacles", which was co-written (along with Anderson and Evan) and narrated by bassist Hammond. A Passion Play sold well but received generally poor reviews, including a particularly damning review of its live performance by Chris Welch of Melody Maker.
Even as the band's popularity with critics began to wane around this time, their popularity with the public remained strong, as evidenced by high sales of their follow-up album, 1974's War Child. Originally intended to be a companion piece for a film, it reached number two on the U.S. Billboard charts and received some critical acclaim, and produced the radio mainstays "Bungle in the Jungle" and "Skating Away (On the Thin Ice of the New Day)". It also included a short acoustic song, "Only Solitaire", widely thought to be aimed at L.A. Times rock music critic Robert Hilburn, who wrote a harsh review of the Passion Play concerts at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. However, other War Childreviews insist the song came from the aborted 1973 "Chateau d'Isaster" recordings (thus pre-dating Hilburn's review), and is therefore aimed at music critics in general. TheWar Child tour also featured a female string quartet playing along with the group on the new material.
In 1975, the band released Minstrel in the Gallery, an album which resembled Aqualung (1971) in that it contrasted softer, acoustic-guitar-based pieces with lengthier, more bombastic works headlined by Barre's electric guitar. Written and recorded during Anderson's divorce from his first wife Jennie Franks, the album is characterised by introspective, cynical, and sometimes bitter lyrics. Critics gave it mixed reviews, but the album came to be acknowledged as one of the band's best by longtime Jethro Tull fans, even as it generally fell under the radar to listeners familiar only with Aqualung (1971). By this point Jethro Tull had been awarded six R.I.A.A. gold records for sales of Stand Up (1969), Aqualung (1971), Thick as a Brick (1972), Living in the Past (1972), A Passion Play (1973) and Minstrel in the Gallery (1975).
For the 1975 tour, David Palmer, who had long been the band's orchestra arranger, officially joined the band on keyboards and synthesisers. After the tour, bassist Hammond quit the band to pursue painting. John Glascock, who earlier was playing with flamenco-rock band Carmen, a support band on the previous Jethro Tull tour, became the band's new bassist.
1976's Too Old to Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young to Die! was another concept album, this time about the life of an ageing rocker (which Anderson insisted was not autobiographical). Anderson, stung by critical reviews (particularly of A Passion Play), responded on Too Old... with more sharply-barbed lyrics.
At the end of the 1970s, Jethro Tull released a trio of folk rock albums, Songs from the Wood (1977), Heavy Horses (1978), and Stormwatch(1979). Songs from the Wood (1977) was the first Tull album to receive generally positive reviews since the release of Living in the Past(1972).
The band had long had ties to folk rockers Steeleye Span (Tull were the backing band on Steeleye Span front woman Maddy Prior's solo albumWoman in the Wings (1978) as a way of repaying her for contributing vocals on the Too Old to Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young to Die! album) and with Fairport Convention (Fairport members Dave Pegg, Martin Allcock, Dave Mattacks and Ric Sanders have all played with Tull at one point or another, as well as folk drummer Gerry Conway who became a Fairport member after playing with Tull). Although not formally considered a part of the folk rock movement (which had actually begun nearly a decade earlier with the advent of Fairport Convention), there was clearly an exchange of musical ideas among Tull and the folk rockers. By this time, Anderson had moved to a farm in the countryside, and his new bucolic lifestyle was clearly reflected on these albums, as in the title track of Heavy Horses (1978), a paean to draught horses.
The band continued to tour, and released a live double album in 1978. Recorded during the European leg of the Heavy Horses tour and entitledBursting Out, it featured dynamic live performances from the line-up that many Jethro Tull fans consider to comprise the golden era of the band. During the U.S. leg of this tour, John Glascock suffered health problems and was replaced by Anderson's friend and former Stealers Wheel bassist, Tony Williams.
Their third folk influenced album, Stormwatch, was released in 1979; this is considered the end of an era for the classic Tull period as Glascock, after having open heart surgery the previous year, died in his home of heart complications. (Anderson completed the bass parts for the unfinished songs on the album, and Dave Pegg of Fairport Convention took the bass responsibilities for the Stormwatch tour.) Barlow, depressed and withdrawn after the death of his "closest friend" Glascock, soon quit the band. Moreover, Palmer and Evan's contracts had expired before the A album. Jethro Tull was left with Anderson (the only original member) and Barre.
Tull's first album of the 1980s, A (1980), was intended to be Ian Anderson's first solo album. Anderson retained Barre on electric guitar and Dave Pegg on bass, while addingMark Craney on drums, and special guest keyboardist/violinist Eddie Jobson (ex–Roxy Music, UK, Frank Zappa, and Curved Air). Highlighted by the prominent use of synthesisers, it contrasted sharply with the established "Tull sound". After pressure from Chrysalis Records, Anderson decided to release it as a Jethro Tull album. Entitled A(taken from the labels on the master tapes for his scrapped solo album, marked simply "A" for "Anderson"), it was released in mid-1980.
In keeping with the mood of innovation surrounding the album, Jethro Tull made an early foray into the emerging genre of music video[original research?] withSlipstream, a film which takes place at London's Hammersmith Odeon (which was used for exterior scenes). However, the main concert footage was actually from an American performance in Los Angeles, California, at the Los Angeles Sports Arena (as heard on the Magic Piper ROIO), featuring the A line-up, filmed in November 1980. The video was directed by David Mallet, who has directed numerous music videos, including the pioneering "Ashes to Ashes" video for David Bowie. The electronic style of the album was even more pronounced in these live performances and was used to striking effect on some of the older songs, including "Locomotive Breath". The more familiar Jethro Tull sound was brought to the fore in an all-acoustic version of "Skating Away on the Thin Ice of the New Day" featuring Jobson on mandolin, Pegg on mandola and Craney on bass.
Jobson and Craney returned to their own work following the A Tour and Jethro Tull entered a period of revolving drummers: Gerry Conway, who left after deciding he couldn't be the one to replace Barlow, Phil Collins (as a fill-in for the recently departed Gerry Conway, played with the band at the first Prince's Trust concert in 1982), Paul Burgess (for the US leg of the Broadsword and the Beast tour, and who left to settle down with his family) and permanent drummer Doane Perry.
1981 was the first year in their career that the band did not release an album; however some recording sessions took place (Anderson, Barre, Pegg, and Conway, with Anderson playing the keyboards). Some of these tracks were released on the Nightcap compilation in 1993.
In 1982, Peter-John Vettese joined on keyboards, and the band returned to a somewhat folkier sound – albeit with synthesisers – for 1982's The Broadsword and the Beast. The ensuing concert tour for the album was well attended and the shows featured what was to be one of the group's last indulgences in full-dress theatricality: the stage was built to resemble a Viking longship and the band performed in faux-medieval regalia.
An Anderson solo album (which was in fact an Anderson-Vettese effort) appeared in 1983, in the form of the heavily electronic Walk into Light. Although the album featured electronic soundscapes and synthesiser voicings advanced for its time, as well as cerebral lyrics about the alienating effects of technology, the release failed to resonate with long-time fans or with new listeners. However, as with later solo efforts by Anderson and Barre, some of the Walk Into Light songs, such as "Fly by Night", "Made in England" and "Different Germany", later made their way into Jethro Tull live sets.
In 1984, Jethro Tull released Under Wraps, a heavily electronic album with no "live" drummer and instead, as on Walk into Light, a drum-machine was used. Although the band were reportedly proud of the sound, the album was not well received, particularly in North America. However, the video for "Lap of Luxury" did manage to earn moderate rotation on the newly influential MTV music video channel. Also, the acoustic version of the title track, "Under Wraps 2", found some favour over the years and a live instrumental version of the song was included on the A Little Light Music concert CD of 1992. Some long-time Jethro Tull fans[who?] regard Under Wraps as one of the band's weaker efforts; however, Martin Barre considers it his favourite (the main riff from the song "Paparazzi" also became a regular part of live sets as a part of Barre's solo spots; however, these were the only parts of the album that remained in the live sets after the Under Wraps tour). As a result of the throat problems Anderson developed singing the demanding Under Wraps material on tour, Jethro Tull took a three-year break. Vettese quit the band after the tour, angry at critics for the bad reviews of BSATB, Walk into Light, and Under Wraps. During this hiatus, Anderson continued to oversee the salmon farm he had founded in 1978, although the single "Coronach" was released in the UK in 1986 after it was used as the theme tune for a Channel 4 television program called "Blood of the British".
Jethro Tull returned in 1987 with Crest of a Knave. With Vettese absent (Anderson contributed the synth programming) and the band relying more heavily on Barre's electric guitar than they had since the early 1970s, the album was a critical and commercial success. Shades of their earlier electronic excursions were still present, however, as three of the album's songs again utilised a drum machine. Prior to the Crest of a Knave tour, keyboardist Don Airey (ex-Rainbow, Ozzy Osbourne, Michael Schenker Group) joined the band.
The band won the 1988 Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance Vocal or Instrumental, beating the favourite Metallica and their ...And Justice for All album. The award was particularly controversial as many did not consider Jethro Tull hard rock, much less heavy metal. On the advice of their manager, who told them they had no chance of winning, no one from the band attended the award ceremony. In response to the criticism they received over the award, their label, Chrysalis, took out an advertisement in a British music periodical with a picture of a flute lying amid a pile of iron re-bars and the line, "The flute is a heavy metal instrument." In response to an interview question about the controversy, Ian Anderson quipped, "Well, we do sometimes play our mandolins very loudly." In 2007, the win was named one of the ten biggest upsets in Grammy history by Entertainment Weekly In 1992, when Metallica finally won the Grammy in the category, Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich joked, "First thing we're going to do is thank Jethro Tull for not putting out an album this year," a play on a Grammy comment by Paul Simon some years before thanking Stevie Wonder for the same thing.
The style of Crest of a Knave (1987) has been compared to that of Dire Straits, in part because Anderson no longer seemed to have the vocal range he once possessed and preferred to use the lower registers, while Martin Barre's guitar sound apparently drifted towards Mark Knopfler's style. Two songs in particular – "Farm on the Freeway" and "Steel Monkey" – got heavy radio airplay. The album also contained the popular live song "Budapest", which depicts a backstage scene with a shy local female stagehand. Although "Budapest" was the longest song on that album (at just over ten minutes), "Mountain Men" became more famous in Europe, depicting a scene from World War II in Africa. Ian Anderson referred to the battles of El Alamein and the Falkland Islands, drawing historic parallels of the angst that women left behind by their warrior husbands might have felt:
died in the trenches at El Alamein,
died in the Falklands on TV
They toured this album with "The Not Quite the World, More the Here and There Tour". It was also the first time in the band's history, when it, even though rarely, had two electric guitar players on stage (Anderson played rhythm guitar).
1988 was notable for the release of 20 Years of Jethro Tull, a five-LP themed set (also released as a three-CD set, and as a truncated single CD version on 20 Years of Jethro Tull: Highlights) consisting largely of rarities and outtakes from throughout the band's history, as well as a variety of live and remastered tracks. It also included a booklet outlining the band's history in detail. Now out of print, it has become a collector's item, although many (but not all) of the outtakes have been included as bonus tracks on remastered releases of the band's studio albums.
Multi-instrumentalist Martin (Maart) Allcock, who as a member of Fairport Convention, had played as a guest with Tull at the Cropredy festival the previous year, joined the band mainly as keyboard player, starting with the 20th Anniversary tour (this may seem unremarkable, but multi-instrumentalist Allcock – proficient on all manner of stringed instruments with Fairport – had never previously played keyboards professionally with a band), replacing the departed Don Airey. For some numbers Allcock played the second electric guitar (Anderson reverted to playing acoustic), the last time that the band did this live.
In 1989, the band released Rock Island, which met with less commercial and critical success than Crest of a Knave (1987). The lead-off track, "Kissing Willie", featured bawdy double-entendre lyrics and over-the-top heavy metal riffing that seemed to take a satiric view of the group's recent Grammy award win. The song's accompanying video found difficulty in receiving airplay because of its sexual imagery. Although Rock Island was something of a miss for the group, a couple of fan favourites did emerge from the album. "Big Riff and Mando" reflects life on the road for the relentlessly touring musicians, giving a wry account of the theft of Barre's prized mandolin by a starstruck fan. "Another Christmas Song", an upbeat number celebrating the humanitarian spirit of the holiday season, stood out against the brooding and sombre mood of many of the songs on the album and was well received at concerts. It was re-recorded for the 2003 Jethro Tull Christmas Album release.
1991's Catfish Rising was a more solid album than Rock Island (1989). Despite being labelled as a "return to playing the blues", the album actually is marked by the generous use of mandolin and acoustic guitar and much less use of keyboards than any Tull album of the Eighties. Notable tracks included "Rocks on the Road", which highlighted gritty acoustic guitar work and hard-bitten lyrics about urban life and "Still Loving You Tonight", a bluesy, low-key ballad.
Maart Allcock, who had played on the Catfish Rising tour, although not the album itself, quit the band at the end of the year to pursue solo work.
Following the 1992 tour (which included Fairport drummer Dave Mattacks and was documented with A Little Light Music, band's second official live album), Anderson had re-learned how to play the flute (after his daughter, who took up the flute classes at school, discovered that her father often uses the wrong fingering) and begun writing songs that heavily featured world music influences. However, the first Tull releases containing the "relearned" flute were the 25th Anniversary Box which, above the remixes of classic songs and unreleased live material, included a whole CD of old songs from the band's entire career recorded by the current line-up, and a "Nightcap" album containing unreleased studio material (mainly from the scrapped pre-Passion Play album), with multiple flute parts re-recorded.
Dave Pegg left the band wishing to concentrate on Fairport Convention and not being keen on the world-music direction the band chose, and was replaced for 1995's Roots to Branches album by Steve Bailey (a widely recognised session bass player, who has been friends with Doane Perry; the interesting thing is that Ian Anderson gave up being involved in the rhythm section arrangements on that record, leaving it fully to two of them), and finally by bassist Jonathan Noyce.
Roots to Branches (1995) and 1999's J-Tull Dot Com were less rock-based than Crest of a Knave (1987) or Catfish Rising (1991). Songs on these albums reflect the musical influences of decades of performing all around the globe. In songs such as "Out of the Noise" and "Hot Mango Flush", Anderson paints vivid pictures of third-world street scenes. These albums have reflected Anderson's coming to grips with being an old rocker, with songs such as the pensive "Another Harry's Bar", "Wicked Windows" (a meditation on reading glasses), and the gruff "Wounded, Old, and Treacherous".
In 1995, Anderson released his second solo album, Divinities: Twelve Dances with God, an instrumental work composed of twelve flute-heavy pieces pursuing varied themes with an underlying motif. The album was recorded with Jethro Tull keyboard player Andrew Giddings and orchestral musicians. Anderson released two further song-based solo albums, The Secret Language of Birds and Rupi's Dance in 2000 and 2003, respectively.
In 2001, Anderson reunited with Cornick, Bunker, and Abrahams for small pub dates. It was the first time the original four members had played together since 1968. "Living with the Past" includes a documentary that features the band on tour, in Britain and America, in 2001. It also has footage of the 2001 reunion of Jethro Tull's first line up filmed playing in a pub.
2003 saw the release of The Jethro Tull Christmas Album, a collection of traditional Christmas songs together with old and new Christmas songs written by Jethro Tull. The album became the band's biggest commercial success since the 1987 Crest of a Knave.
An Ian Anderson live double album and DVD was released in 2005 called Ian Anderson Plays the Orchestral Jethro Tull. In addition, a DVD entitled Nothing Is Easy: Live at the Isle of Wight 1970 and a live album Aqualung Live (recorded in 2004) were released in 2005. Included on Nothing is Eas is footage from the 1970 Isle of Wight festival, considered by many Tull fans to be a classic Jethro Tull performance.
2006 saw the release of a dual boxed set DVD "Collectors Edition", containing two DVD's Nothing Is Easy and Living with the Past. Bassist Jon Noyce left the band in March 2006. Keyboardist Giddings quit the band in July 2006 citing constant touring and less time for family. They were replaced by David Goodier and John O'Hara respectively.
March 2007 saw the release of The Best of Acoustic Jethro Tull, a 24-song set of Tull and Ian Anderson acoustic performances taken from various albums. Included are a new live acoustic version of "One Brown Mouse" and a live performance of the traditional song (attributed to Henry VIII), "Pastime with Good Company".
In September 2007, Jethro Tull released CD/DVD Live At Montreux 2003. The concert was recorded on 4 July 2003 and featured, among others, "Fat Man", "With You There to Help Me" and "Hunting Girl".
In 2011 while on the Aqualung 40th Tour, Anderson mentioned in an interview that Jethro Tull would be recording a new album that fall/winter with a potential release date set for Spring 2012. This would be their first new studio album in 12 years. Their last studio album of new material was J-Tull Dot Com in 1999. Anderson's solo tours and Jethro Tull have been performing some of the new material on their past tours for the past 2–3 years. 2011 also marks the 40th Anniversary of Aqualung (1971). This new re-issue will be a new remix of the album and include a DVD and unreleased songs. Anderson previously felt Aqualung hadn't been mixed properly and he's always wanted to improve it.
During interviews in November 2011, Martin Barre stated that there were no plans for future Jethro Tull work and he does not foresee any Tull concerts for the next two years. Barre planned to assemble a new band made up of three or four ex-Tull members. This which would play only Jethro Tull music, focused on early-to-mid-1970s albums and will not include a keyboard player. The band with which he toured in 2012, billed as Martin Barre's New Day, included Jonathan Noyce and played mostly Tull material. Ian Anderson has scheduled a Thick as a Brick Tour, playing the album in its entirety.
On 30 January 2012, Ian announced via the Jethro Tull website that Thick as a Brick 2: Whatever Happened to Gerald Bostock?, a followup to Thick as a Brick would be released on 2 April 2012. It is billed as an Ian Anderson solo album and not a Jethro Tull album. Ian will subsequently tour for 18 months to promote the original and new sequel.
Thick as a Brick 2 had its World premiere on 14 April 2012 at Perth Concert Hall, Scotland, UK.