Thick as a Brick

Thick as a Brick

Infobox Album
Name = Thick as a Brick
Type = Album
Artist = Jethro Tull

Released = March 3, 1972 (UK)
May 10, 1972 (US)
Recorded = December 1971 at Morgan Studios, London
Genre = Progressive rock
Length = 43:50 (22:45 LP side 1; 21:05 LP side 2)
Label = Island Records (Original UK)
Reprise (original US)
Chrysalis/Capitol (US re-issue)
Producer = Ian Anderson
Reviews =
*"Allmusic" Rating|4.5|5 [ link]
*"Rolling Stone" Rating|5|5 [ June 22, 1972]
*George Starostin (13/15) [ link]
Last album = "Aqualung"
This album = "Thick as a Brick"
Next album = "Living in the Past"
Misc = Extra album cover 2
Upper caption = Alternative cover
Type = studio

Lower caption = The cover of the 1995 25th anniversary re-release. Note the vertically elongated front page image and the completely different leftmost panel.

"Thick as a Brick" (1972) is a concept album by the British rock band Jethro Tull. Its lyrics are built around a poem written by a fictitious boy, "Gerald Bostock" a.k.a. "Little Milton" (Ian Anderson himself). The album featured only one song, lasting over 43 minutes. To accommodate the album on LP vinyl and cassette, the seamless track was split on both sides of the record. It reached number one on the (U.S.) Billboard Pop Albums chart.

Album information

The epic is notable for its numerous time signature and tempo changes (not uncommon to the newly emerging progressive rock subgenre of rock), as well as a large number of themes throughout the piece, resembling a typical classical symphony in this regard, rather than a typical rock song. Released in 1972, "Thick As A Brick" was Tull's first true prog rock offering, four years after the release of their first album. Not only was the musical structure complex, but many instruments uncommon in rock music were added. Whereas in prior numbers the band were content with guitars, drums, piano, Hammond organ, and Ian Anderson's signature flute, "Thick As A Brick" included harpsichord, xylophone, violin, lute, trumpet, and a string section (as well as acoustic guitar, electric guitar, drums, bass, piano, and flute).

While the previous album, "Aqualung", stretched the band's wings further from the blues of the first three albums, it was still basically mainstream rock. Band leader Ian Anderson was surprised by the critical reaction to the previous album "Aqualung" as a "concept album", a label he has firmly rejected to this day. In an interview on In the Studio with Redbeard (which spotlighted "Thick as a Brick"), Ian Anderson's response to the critics was "if the critics want a concept album we'll give them a concept album and we'll make it so bombastic and so over the top." With "Thick as a Brick", the band created an album deliberately integrated around one concept: a poem by an intelligent English boy about the trials of growing up. Beyond this, the album was a send-up of all pretentious "concept albums". Anderson also stated in that interview that "the album was a spoof to the albums of Yes and Emerson, Lake and Palmer much like what the movie "Airplane" had been to "Airport". The formula was successful, and the album reached number one on the charts in the United States.

The ensuing tour involved a single 42-minute performance without intermission, but with short comedic interjections and extended instrumental solos. One comedy item involved Anderson announcing that a horse had strayed into the theater, whereupon a crew member sitting in the audience would stand up in a spotlight, take off an overcoat revealing a jockey suit, and leave the auditorium carrying a saddle. Despite the length of the performance, only the first half of the album was performed, the second half being represented only by the coda. There are no known official video or film recordings. Later live performances feature a shortened version of the first side, such as the 12 minutes and 30 seconds version on the live album "Bursting Out".


The original LP cover was a spoof of a twelve by sixteen inch (305 by 406 mm) multipage local newspaper with stories, competitions, adverts, etc., lampooning the parochial and amateurish local journalism that still exists in many places today, as well as certain classical album covers. The "newspaper" also includes the entire lyrics to the song, and references to the lyrics are scattered throughout the articles. The spoof newspaper had to be heavily abridged for conventional CD covers, but the 25th Anniversary Special Edition CD includes a partial facsimile; some content is missing, such as the original connect the dots activity and part of the "front page".

Track listing

ide one

#"Thick as a Brick" (part one) (Ian Anderson/Gerald Bostock) – 22:45

ide two


  • "Thick as a Brick" (part two) (Ian Anderson/Gerald Bostock) – 21:05

    25th Anniversary Edition bonus tracks


  • "Thick as a Brick" (live at Madison Square Garden, 1978) – 11:50
    #Interview with Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson, Martin Barre, and Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond – 16:30


    In the end of the The Simpsons episode "Girls Just Want To Have Sums", Thick as a Brick was sung by Martin Prince, with the actual song then playing during the end credits.

    Chart positions


    *Ian Anderson – lead vocals, acoustic guitar, flute, violin, trumpet
    *Martin Barreelectric guitar, lute
    *John Evanpiano, organ, harpsichord
    *Jeffrey Hammond (as "Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond"): Bass guitar, Vocals
    *Barriemore Barlowdrums, percussion, timpani
    *David Palmer – Brass and string arrangements

    External links

    * (UK)
    * [ Complete lyrics]
    * [ Jethro Tull, Progressive Rock and Thematic Approach] , essay by Dave Morris
    * [ Scans of the pages of the LP cover mock newspaper]

    succession box
    before = "First Take" by Roberta Flack
    title = "Billboard" 200 number-one album
    years = June 3 - June 16 1972
    after = "Exile on Main St." by The Rolling Stones
    succession box
    before = "Machine Head" by Deep Purple
    title = Australian Kent Music Report number-one album
    years = July 10 - September 24 1972
    after = "Slade Alive!" by Slade

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    Look at other dictionaries:

    • Thick as a Brick — Studioalbum von Jethro Tull Veröffentlichung April 1972 Label Chrysalis Records …   Deutsch Wikipedia

    • Thick as a Brick — Álbum de Jethro Tull Publicación 3 de marzo de 1972 Grabación Diciembre de 1971 en Londres, Inglaterra Género(s) Rock progre …   Wikipedia Español

    • Thick as a Brick — Студийный альбом Jethro Tull …   Википедия

    • Thick as a brick — Album par Jethro Tull Sortie 3 mars 1972 …   Wikipédia en Français

    • Thick as a Brick — Album par Jethro Tull Sortie 3 mars 1972 …   Wikipédia en Français

    • Thick As A Brick — Dieser Artikel oder Abschnitt bedarf einer Überarbeitung. Näheres ist auf der Diskussionsseite angegeben. Hilf mit, ihn zu verbessern, und entferne anschließend diese Markierung. Jethro Tull – Thick as a Brick Veröffentlichung April …   Deutsch Wikipedia

    • Thick As a Brick — Dieser Artikel oder Abschnitt bedarf einer Überarbeitung. Näheres ist auf der Diskussionsseite angegeben. Hilf mit, ihn zu verbessern, und entferne anschließend diese Markierung. Jethro Tull – Thick as a Brick Veröffentlichung April …   Deutsch Wikipedia

    • thick as a brick — slow to understand, slow to learn    We re all thick as a brick in at least one subject, eh? …   English idioms

    • thick as a brick — (as) thick as a brick very stupid …   Useful english dictionary

    • thick as a brick — adjective stupid; slow to learn or understand …   Wiktionary

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