Top 10 Best Jethro Tull Albums

I've done the best Jethro Tull songs, so now it's time to do the hard task of picking 10 albums in the amazing Jethro Tull repertoire.
The Top Ten
1 Thick as a Brick

I know "Aqualung" was great, but there were certain moments in that album that really were not that good, such as any of the acoustic links in the album. "Thick as a Brick" has no filler at all and is just plain fantastic.

"Masterpiece" cannot be topped. And that is exactly what Thick as a Brick is. Far better (for prog) than Aqualung. (And since I'm a progger, this gets my vote.)

Nothing beats this album, by far the best prog album of all time and possibly the best album of all time. Masterpiece!

2 Aqualung

Aqualung is, of course, the Tull album that first got me (and other Tull fans not old enough to witness the '60s) into the band. To be sure, it is a great classic rock album and it really set the tone for the band's unique sound, but as much as I love it, it doesn't have enough of what makes me love Jethro Tull to be any higher than #6 on this list. It seems to be number 1 or 2 on most Tull fan lists.

Martin Barre shows why he is the king of riffs here in this album, which showcases his excellent talent sounding formidable in both the acoustic and electric side of his guitar playing. Oh yeah, and Anderson writes great tunes too!

3 Heavy Horses

A great all-around album, but song for song I probably like "Stormwatch" more. But if I was trapped on a deserted island, I'd pick "Heavy Horses" over "Stormwatch" because of the title song. The song "Heavy Horses" is not just the best Jethro Tull song, but the greatest song ever. I love the music and the words of this song so much. But don't get me wrong, I still love the whole album.

This, for me, is the best Tull album. The poetry is very close in quality to the best English poets. The musical accompaniment is totally suitable for the songs and is nicely complex as well as perfectly simple. Aqualung and Thick As a Brick come a joint second in my rating.

4 Warchild

A very underrated album, yet excellent and eclectic!

Not the best, but a little underrated. Anyway, it is a very good album.

5 Minstrel in the Gallery

Minstrel in the Gallery is without question the greatest Tull album. The title song is Tull at their absolute best. The whole album is truly a masterpiece. Every song is not just good, but great. Most of them are my favorite Tull songs. The whole range of Jethro Tull's sound can be found in fine form.

Totally agree. Genius. Off to the Albert Hall on 30th June to see Thick as a Brick performed live (part 1 and 2). But Minstrel is my all-time favorite album.

This album is perfect. PERFECT. It makes you think of Tull in a whole new light.

6 Crest of a Knave

Crest of a Knave was a great comeback for Tull after Under Wraps went against their usual musical format. Favorites of mine are Steel Monkey, Farm on the Freeway, Said She Was a Dancer, and Budapest. This album won a Grammy too! It's one of Tull's greatest albums.

Pretty damn strong from start to finish, and the bonus tracks The Waking Edge and Part of the Machine are also really solid.

Even the biggest Jethro Tull fans can admit this album did not deserve the Grammy it won.

7 Songs from the Wood

I really like what Ian Anderson does with old English folk music. So it should be no surprise that I love "Songs from the Wood." Maybe the most beautiful album to be found in the Tull discography. The most folky of the Tull Folk Trilogy for sure. It would have made a better follow-up to "Minstrel in the Gallery" than "Too Old to Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young to Die!" did.

I'd call this album underrated, but the critics dug it and die-hard Tull fans understand it for what it is (a masterpiece). But I have introduced many a casual fan to Tull with this album, and though to a person they did not recognize any of the songs, they all walked away wanting more. From Fire at Midnight to the acid rock Pibroch, this album has it all.

8 A Passion Play

My first ever concert was when Tull recorded "A Passion Play." They became my favorite band with "Aqualung," and the big event for me was always their next new release, which I couldn't wait to get my hands on.

One of the big problems for me at my first concert was that the "APP" album was not released here in Kansas City until two weeks after the show. The radio stations played a cut from side two ("I am the overseer over you" part), but that was all we got to hear. You really had to hear the whole album first to really enjoy it played live. (I always had to hear a new Tull album two or three times before getting to like it.)

Also, the sound was pretty bad. There was a lot of distortion because of the bad acoustics at the Municipal Auditorium. When the album finally came out, I listened to it all the time. It's a better-done album than "TAAB." I think they had more time to do a one-song album right this time.

To me, "TAAB" sounds like a rushed effort. Ian Anderson, in an interview, said they began work on it after throwing away a double album they completed three sides of! Maybe there wasn't enough time before the deadline or something to really polish it up.

My favorite part of "APP" is the one-minute or so instrumental movement before the final movement. The acoustic guitar and saxophone with an echo to it are fantastic. I finally had this part burned onto a CD. I included it on an eighty-minute instrumental compilation I made. I've always liked instrumental songs and Tull has had quite a few good ones.

I think I'd rate "APP" as one of the top five Jethro Tull albums.

9 Stand Up

Tull's second album marked a turning point because Ian Anderson took control of the band and added many of the folk rock elements the band is now known for. Martin Barre makes his debut here. Favorites of mine are New Day Yesterday, Bouree, Nothing Is Easy, We Used to Know, and Reasons for Waiting.

This is a great Jethro Tull album. It's very unique compared to the other music of Jethro Tull. Every song is very listenable with so many different influences. This one should be in your Tull collection.

10 Benefit

For me, this is Tull's most musically consistent album from start to finish, from individual song craft aspects. Not as concept-oriented as those albums which would follow it, but being far less bombastic becomes the trade-off here, which becomes a surprise benefit in itself. No matter whether one prefers the original UK release to the rearranged US version, much of the experimentation of Tull's first two releases starts paying off in earnest on this collection.

This is by far the best Tull album as a true band and not an Ian Anderson solo effort with backing that so many later Tull albums became. Also the last album with Glenn Cornick on bass, an incredible player. Ian was just a band member and songwriter at this point. He sure put an end to that... starting with Aqualung.

The Contenders
11 Sweet Dream
12 Too Old to Rock 'N' Roll: Too Young to Die!

Totally underrated album. I was well and truly locked into the punk thing in '76 and can't even remember why I bought this record!... But I did, and to this day I love it.

I love the conceptual continuity of this album. I also think it is totally underrated.

They were so big at this point that they headlined Shea Stadium in '76.

13 Living in the Past

Often mistaken for a compilation, it is surely not. It is a must-have album for any Tull fan. It showcases Tull's range in ways that no other album does.

Agreed that it's low on this list because it's considered somewhat inaccurately as a Best Of, but it's really a collection of the contemporary songs at the time that for the most part were unreleased in the U.S., which turned out to be some of their strongest material.

Living in the Past should definitely be in the top five. It's a very well-crafted album. It'll put you in a good mood for sure!

14 Stormwatch

I've never understood why this album is so underrated. It's got everything that makes a great Tull record, save the humor. It's dark and sounds just like the album art suggests. Beautiful interplay between the instruments. Incredible work by Barry Barlow and David Palmer. Even the lyrics are some of Ian's best. Why oh why is this not considered one of Tull's best?

I don't care for the most acoustic folk-Irish sounding songs, mainly the instrumentals. Having grown up in a small rural town in North Dakota as a metalhead, I have a distaste for anything remotely like country music to this day. However, there is brilliant Prog Rock here that stands up to the best of Gerry Rafferty, The Who, and Pink Floyd. The song "Dark Ages" is epic in harmonic vocals and several complex change-ups. I'd put this up with the best for sure.

15 This Was

This album gets so much flack for supposedly sucking. So many people just dismiss it. It is a very simple album with a number of instrumentals, and it's not my favorite, but it is certainly far from the worst in the collection. Beggar's Farm, My Sunday Feeling, and Song for Jeffrey are all excellent. Vastly underrated in this collection.

An incredibly underrated album. Tull's debut with a much more blues/jazz influence, thanks to guitarist Mick Abrahams of Blodwyn Pig fame. Favorites of mine are My Sunday Feeling, Beggar's Farm, Serenade to a Cuckoo, Dharma for One, and Song for Jeffrey. This album is neat because Ian Anderson wasn't quite the leader of the band at this point.

16 The Broadsword and the Beast

"The Broadsword and the Beast," like "A," could not escape the influence of the '80s. But unlike "A," "The Broadsword and the Beast" manages to pull it off. In fact, it does more than pull it off. It is actually a better album for it. "The Broadsword and the Beast" takes the synthesizer sound of the '80s and uses it with the same wisdom as Peter Gabriel or Pink Floyd did in the '80s. Ian Anderson uses it to make the songs sound more epic, like in a movie score.

Plus, there are some songs that sound like they could have been taken straight off of Tull's earlier work. So even though "The Broadsword and the Beast" sounds totally different from any of Tull's earlier work, it sounds uniquely like Tull and is a solid work... dare I say it, a great album if one is willing to be open to Tull's new sound. Sadly, Jethro Tull would not return to this sound.

17 A

I really liked this album when it came out. I think the keyboard and violin worked really well, and there are some really tuneful songs. Easily in my top five Tull albums.

The Tull album that symbolizes the end of the '70s era for the band. The traditional sound of Jethro Tull is missing in this album.

This album is only understood by the real Jethro Tull fans, and it's surely in my top five.

18 Roots to Branches

Massively underrated. It has some great moments and would definitely be in my top five.

Definitely a top-five album. Great elements from the '70s while still an evolved sound.

19 Nightcap

It is hard to believe that this album is so far down on this list.

This is a most amazing work of true Jethro Tull musical art. It is a strange mixture of theater, melody, and madness that IS Jethro Tull.

20 The Jethro Tull Christmas Album

Tull's last album covers traditional Christmas songs and Christmasy Tull songs. The whole album is superb and great to listen to at Christmas time.

I feel this album is underrated, and it is the only 21st-century Jethro Tull album.

21 Catfish Rising

This is my favorite Tull album, listening start to finish. It's more of a rhythm-based, bluesy-rock album, and a bit less of the folksy singalongs of some of their other masterpieces (but that's what I prefer to listen to). Every tune is full of great riffs, and yes, the flute is there too.

The greatest track is "This Isn't Love." It rocks the hardest, has a fantastic hook that makes me hit Repeat several times, with bassline, drums, guitars, and the vocals are just what I'd expect from a Tull album, that sort of juvenile fun. But, if I were writing the lyrics, I'd definitely have named that tune "This Is Pure Love" because that's exactly fitting. And it got a great deal of radio airplay back in its day on my local rock-radio FM station in Mississippi.

After blasting off with "This Is Pure Love," unwind, sit back, and enjoy this whole fantastic album.

22 J-Tull Dot Com
23 Under Wraps

Very underrated. Later That Same Evening and Apogee are among Ian Anderson's best compositions.

Well, this is the most underrated Jethro Tull album. Number two for me after Stand Up.

I know it's very '80s, but I still have a soft spot for it.

24 Rock Island

Another Christmas Song might be the last great Tull song (with some decent songs in the years thereafter, but none that are really essential). The poignant lyrics, captivating melody, and typically understated fills by Martin Barre are just perfect.

Martin Barre's guitar playing on the outro of the title cut is just brilliant.

25 The Zealot Gene
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