Aqualung My Friend
Jethro Tull released their fourth album in 1971 titled Aqualung. The title song was Aqualung, a song about a dirty old man, or perhaps, about god. Either way, the sound was hard hitting, and the flute haunting. It took some time to follow along with the lyrics as Ian Anderson, lead singer and songwriter of the band, (No, there is no one named Jethro Tull in the band) bridged choppy lyrics changing tempo mid sentence. This is best on Aqualung and Locomotive Breath.
The lyrics of Aqualung, title song from the album.
Sitting on a park bench
Eyeing little girls with bad intent.
Snot running down his nose
Greasy fingers smearing shabby clothes.
Drying in the cold sun
Watching as the frilly panties run.
Feeling like a dead duck
Spitting out pieces of his broken luck.
Sun streaking cold
An old man wandering lonely.
The only way he knows.
Leg hurting bad,
As he bends to pick a dog end
He goes down to the bog
and warms his feet.
The army’s up the rode
Salvation a la mode and
A cup of tea.
Aqualung my friend
Don’t you start away uneasy
You poor old sod, you see, it’s only me.
Do you still remember
December’s foggy freeze
When the ice that
Clings on to your beard is
And you snatch your rattling last breaths
With deep-sea-diver sounds,
And the flowers bloom like
Madness in the spring.
The album inside covers had no information about the band or the album itself. The artwork depicted five men, seemingly from old London, in a meeting, one holding a lamp, one a cross, one crouched and looking leftward, one sitting playing a piano, and one drinking wine.
The back ground looks like a cathedral, or large church. Perhaps a monastery.
The backcover has a picture of an old vagrant, sitting almost in the gutter, beard and clothes ragged, with his faithful dog with him.
At the top left, the song titles:
Cross Eyed Mary
Cheap Day Return
Up To Me
At the top right, Ian Anderson wrote a little verse, a sort of spin off from bibles book of Genesis. He is comparing Aqualung to God. I happen to notice that the CD version does not have this on the back cover. Nor do the releases in the 80′s or the 25th anniversary edition. Perhaps the words were to powerful. Here are the verses.
1. In the beginning Man created god:
and in the image of Man created he him.
2. And Man gave unto god a multitude of names.
That he might be lord over all the earth when it was suited to Man.
3. And on the seventh millionth day Man rested and did
lean heavily on his god and saw that it was good.
4. And Man formed Aqualung of the dust of the ground.
And a host of others likened unto his kind.
5. And these lesser men Man did cast into the void.
And some were burned,
And some were put apart from their kind.
6. And Man became the god that he had created
and with his miracles did rule over all the earth.
7. But as all these things did come to pass,
the spirit that did cause man to create his god,
lived on within all men,
even within Aqualung.
8. And man saw it not.
9. But for Christ’s sake he’d better start looking.
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LURKING, SITTING ON A PARK BENCH, ON THE GRASSY KNOLL