reprise press


On this day in music history: March 19, 1971 - “Aqualung”, the fourth album by Jethro Tull is released in the UK (US release is on May 3, 1971). Produced by Ian Anderson and Terry Ellis, it is recorded at Island Studios in London from December 1970 - February 1971. A concept album (though the band state otherwise) about “the distinction between religion and God”, it quickly becomes a staple of album rock radio after its release, spinning off the classics “Locomotive Breath” and the title track. The album is Jethro Tull’s most successful, selling over seven million copies worldwide. Original US Reprise LP pressings feature a slightly shorter version of “Aqualung” with three seconds edited off of the intro. The albums’ famous cover artwork features a watercolor painting by American artist Burton Silverman of a shabbily dressed man with long hair and a beard. Silverman is commissioned to create the painting from a photograph taken by Ian Anderson’s wife, of a homeless man she sees standing next to the Thames River. The album is remastered and reissued several times, in 1996 and 1998 with six bonus tracks. It is reissued again for its fortieth anniversary in 2011, remixed and remastered by Steven Wilson (due to an excessive amount of deterioration and damage on the original master tapes) adding an additional fourteen bonus tracks. “Aqualung” peaks at number four on the UK album chart, number seven on the Billboard Top 200, and is certifed 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.