March 11, 1972


4.139 (average of 10 ratings)


progressive rock


“A masterpiece in the annals of progressive rock.” – Bruce Eder, All Music Guide

Album Tracks:

  1. Thick As a Brick, Pt. 1
  2. Thick As a Brick, Pt. 2

Sales (in millions):



1 2

Singles/Hit Songs:

  • Thick As a Brick [edit] --


Thick As a Brick

Jethro Tull


“The follow-up to that FM staple, Aqualung, 1972’s Thick as a Brick demonstrated that Ian ‘Don’t call me Jethro’ Anderson had so much on his mind that even the previous record’s side-long suites would not suffice.” DW “Jethro Tull’s first LP-length epic is a masterpiece in the annals of progressive rock, and one of the few works of its kind that still holds up decades later.” BE “The group created a dazzling tour de force, at once playful, profound, and challenging, without overwhelming the listener.” BE

“Ian Anderson has been quoted as stating that Thick as a Brick was written ‘because everyone was saying we were a progressive rock band, so we decided to live up to the reputation and write a progressive album, but done as a parody of the genre.’” WK It 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 & Palmer much like what the movie Airplane! had been to Airport’.” WK

“The album features only one song, lasting nearly 45 minutes. To accommodate the album on LP vinyl and cassette, the seamless track was split on both sides of the record.” WK The “stream-of-consciousness lyrics [are] so dense with imagery that one might spend weeks pondering their meaning – assuming one feels the need to do so.” BE The lyrics were reportedly based on “a poem by an intelligent English boy (named Gerald) about the trials of growing up.” WK In reality, Ian Anderson “wrote the lyrics himself.” WK The newspaper-style album cover includes an article about the “fictional 8-year-old literary prodigy, Gerald ‘Little Milton’ Bostock, …[and his] disqualification from a poetry contest.” WK “This article claims that although Bostock initially won the contest…the judges’ decision was repealed after a multitude of protests and threats concerning the offensive nature of the poem, furthered by allegations of the boy’s psychological instability.” WK

“The epic is notable for numerous time signature and tempo changes (which is not uncommon in the then-emerging progressive rock subgenre of rock)” WK and “mixing hard rock and English folk music with classical influences.” BE There are also “a large number of themes throughout the piece, resembling a typical classical symphony in this regard, rather than a typical rock song.” WK

“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, timpani, violin, lute, trumpet, saxophone, and a string section.” WK

“The original LP was the best-sounding, best-engineered record Tull had ever released, easily capturing the shifting dynamics between the soft all-acoustic passages and the electric rock crescendos surrounding them.” BE

“The record was packaged in the popular fake-newspaper style of the day (John & Yoko’s Some Time in New York City of the same year, the Jefferson Airplane’s Volunteers, and the Four Seasons’ bid for hipness, Genuine Imitation Life Gazette).” DW “Jethro Tull’s official website states about the mock-newspaper, ‘There are a lot of inside puns, cleverly hidden continuing jokes (such as the experimental non-rabbit), a surprisingly frank review of the album itself, and even a little naughty connect-the-dots children’s activity.’” WK “Subtly scattered throughout the articles are references to the lyrics, to Bostock and Jethro Tull, and to other peculiar parts of the newspaper itself. The spoof newspaper had to be heavily abridged for conventional CD covers, but the 25th Anniversary Special Edition CD includes a partial facsimile.” WK

Review Source(s):

Related DMDB Link(s):

Thick As a Brick (edit – live video)

Click on box above to check out the DMDB on Facebook.

Last updated August 10, 2011.