Quick Book Review: “Jethro Tull: The Glory Years 1968-1980” by Gary Parker

Jethro Tull were my favorite band in high school.  I was kinda obsessed with them.  Around 1980, either their music turned bad, or I outgrew it (both, I think), and I stopped closely following them.  But during those early years, they produced some amazing music, much of which I still listen to frequently.  There aren’t many books written about the band.  When I saw the title of this book, I thought it was too good to be true: a book focused solely on the best years of their career.  The book does have many strong points: there are lots of stories about the formation of the group, their early friendships, and the group dynamics.  I wish there was more about Ian’s songwriting process, and more about the recording of the individual album and songs.  There are some very interesting tales about crazy concerts and the rigors of constant touring, but no stories about destroying hotel rooms, reckless drug use and parties, and orgies with groupies.  The group really didn’t behave that way, and Ian wouldn’t have stood for it. They were very serious about their music.  There are also some rarely seen photos throughout the book. The book does have a fair number of weaknesses. First off, although the title refers to the “glory years” as being from 1968 – 1980, in the preface and in the end notes, he’s revised that to 1971 – 1980.  To the author, the band “Jethro Tull” consists of the seven band members that comprised the group during this ten-year period, which I feel unfairly diminishes the standing of their original bass player Glenn Cornick and drummer Clive Bunker.  I strongly disagree with this. In fact, the albums that they put out in 1969 and 1970 (‘Stand Up’ and ‘Benefit’) comprise two of my “top three” Tull albums.  Also, the author tends to go a little overboard with the hyperbole.  In his subjective list of their songs that he thinks are stellar, he refers to “Pan Dance”, an instrumental track included as a bonus on the War Child 40th

1 Comment

  • Nancy Lewis
    Posted September 13, 2021 12:18 am 0Likes

    Hi Dr. Plotnick! Have totally enjoyed your blog as I’ve been scrolling through different topics. You were (ok, still are) my hero back in 2009 when my Cubby had intestinal lymphoma and you, via email, diagnosed it. Those 4 cats are all gone now, 3 of the 4 had IL; I’m now caring for 7 former ferals who are my life. I’m still teaching people about IL, people and sadly, vets, are so in the dark about it. Forever grateful for the time you spent with me.

    Happy about your retirement! Looks like you’re living my dream (if I didn’t have so darn many cats!) Music, travel, photography and writing. Love reading about the music but Jetro Tull caught my eye. One of the greatest concerts I went to. And Ian Anderson is such a cat daddy, too!

    It’s good to catch up and see what you’re up to. I wish you all the best in this wonderful life called retirement – it’s 12 years now for me. Yes, life is just one long weekend now.

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