Top 10 Jethro Tull Songs

Jethro Tull Songs

One of rock and roll’s most significant musical acts was and still is Ian Anderson and his band, Jethro Tull. Ian Anderson was Jethro Tull, and Jethro Tull was Ian Anderson. However, true Jethro Tull fans undoubtedly understand that Jethro Tull was not only Ian Anderson. The band’s early years featured significant contributions by all band members. The sound of Jethro Tull was shaped by Ian Anderson’s vocal style and innovative use of the flute in rock music. Nonetheless, we can’t mention the band Jethro Tull without defining the importance of guitarist Martin Barre, who joined the band for their second album, Stand Up, in 1969. Martin Barre’s distinctive guitar sound and furious guitar licks helped fuel the success of many of Jethro Tull’s most popular songs.

The first Jethro Tull album was entitled This Was. The This Was album was released in 1968. From their debut album in 1968 until their final release in 2003, Jethro Tull released twenty-one studio albums. The band also issued nine live albums and fifteen compilation albums. Over the course of a thirty-five-year career, the band also released thirty-three singles. Ian Anderson has continued to release solo albums since the band’s last record, which was a Christmas album entitled The Jethro Tull Christmas Album.

Our Top 10 Jethro Tull songs list looks at the music the band released between 1968 and 2003. The band has a massive catalog, and we hope this list will inspire fans who do not know much about the band to explore their music.

# 10 – Songs From the Wood.

Opening up our Top 10 Jethro Tull Songs list is the title track from the band’s 1976 album Songs From The Wood. The track “Songs From The Wood” was released as the third single from the album. The record Songs From The Wood marked a change in direction for Ian Anderson. After releasing a series of spectacular progressive rock albums through the early to mid-seventies, Songs From The Wood represented an exploration of folk rock music that seemed to celebrate Ian Anderson’s cultural identity. One can hear it right away on the album’s grand opening track.

# 9 – Too Old to Rock ‘n’ Roll: Too Young to Die

The next song on our Top 10 Jethro Tull songs list is another album title track. This great song was released in 1975 on the Too Old To Rock ‘N” Roll: Too Young To Die album. At the time, many critics panned this album, which was ridiculous. This great rock and roll Jethro Tull album has stood the test of time.

# 8 – Farm On The Freeway

Jethro Tull had tremendous success in the 1970s. However, one of our favorite Jethro Tull albums was released in 1985. The album Crest of A Knave took full advantage of the new CD medium that had finally started infiltrating the mass market due to the success of Bruce Springsteen’s Live 1975-1985 CD Box Set.  So many great Jethro Tull songs won’t make this list because it’s only ten songs, but we thought their 1980s sound should be represented. Farm On The Freeway represents the best of this great 1985 Jethro Tull album. It’s also represented by what would become known as the Farm Aid movement that Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp started.

# 7 – Minstrel In The Gallery

These Jethro Songs are impossible to describe in words. Just listen to this entire track, and you will understand our quandary. This is simply breathtaking music. “Minstrel In The Gallery” defines why Jethro Tull is described as a progressive rock band. “Minstrel in the Gallery” was the only song on the record that Ian Anderson did not just write. The song was credited to Martin Barre and Ian Anderson.

# 6 – War Child

“War Child,” is the title track from one of Jethro Tull’s most popular albums. The War Child record featured the song “Bungle in the Jungle,” which is not included on this top 10 Jethro Tull songs list even though it was one of the band’s biggest songs. We prefer the album’s title track.

# 5 – Aqualung

The Jethro Tull track “Aqualung” contains perhaps one of classic rock history’s most iconic matched guitar and vocal opening lines. “Sitting on a park bench.” Once you hear it, you never forget it. It was released as the opening track on the Aqualung album in 1971. Ian Anderson and Terry Ellis produced the album. It stands as Jethro Tull’s biggest selling album in their career.

# 4 – Locomotive Breath

Often cited as the all-time Jethro Tull masterpiece, it’s an argument we would agree with. This one is great and probably should be number one on this list, but it’s not because we liked three other songs just a bit better. Still, this is one that you never get tired of. The song was released on the Aqualung album. The album and song featured musicians  Ian Anderson on flute, lead vocals, bass drum, hi-hat, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, John Evan on piano, Martin Barre on electric guitar, Jeffrey Hammond on bass and Clive Bunker on drums. The Aqualung album hit number seven on the U.S. Bibblard Top 200 album charts. The highest it peaked was in Italy where it hit number two on the charts.

# 3 – A New Day Yesterday

“A New Day Yesterday,” is just a timeless, breathtaking piece of music. Jethro Tull incorporated the genres of classical, blues, jazz, and psychedelia into a stunning progressive sound. This one is too much of a forgotten classic….but not here. The song “A New Day Yesterday” was released on the fabulous album entitled Stand Up. The record was released in 1969.

# 2 – Hymn 43

“Hymn 43” was the first single released from Jethro Tull’s legendary album Aqualung. We think they made the right choice in releasing this one first. This song was often overshadowed by “Aqualung” and “Locomotive Breath,” both on the same record. However, we liked this one better. The song opens with such magnificent emotion and intensity that it captures the listener’s attention right away. The separation in the instruments is such a joy to listen to. Every musician in this band was at the top of their game.

# 1 – Thick As A Brick

While most Jethro Tull Songs list would choose “Aqualung” or “Locomotive Breath” at the top of their lists, we believe the twenty-two minutes “Thick As A Brick suite” was such a brilliant piece of music that it stands almost in a category all by itself.  “Thick As A Brick Part 1” filled the entire side of Jethro Tull’s 1971 Thick As A Brick album. It was simply progressive rock at its best. If anyone ever tries to argue that Jethro Tull was not a progressive rock band (which many do), play this progressive rock masterpiece.

Photo: By Snafje at Dutch Wikipedia (Transferred from nl.wikipedia to Commons.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Updated January 13, 2024

Top 10 Jethro Tull Songs article published on Classic© 2024 Protection Status


  1. Avatar Michael July 6, 2023
    • Avatar Brian Kachejian July 6, 2023

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