Cup Of Wonder
The Annotated Jethro Tull Lyrics Page

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~ 20 Years Of Jethro Tull~


An introduction to
"20 Years Of Jethro Tull"

The year 1988 saw the celebration of Jethro Tull's 20th anniversary. Initially Chrysalis Records had no intention to pay any special attention to this jubilee, but pressed by many letters from fans the company decided to come up with previously unreleased Tull material.

Chrysalis thought it best to involve two fans - David Rees and Martin Webb - in order to compose a collection that the fans would like and so would be a commercial success. Instead of the half-hearted promotion of Tull albums over the years, Chrysalis now came up with the idea of releasing a five album boxed set, another double album, a video, a TV special and a radio series. In the end three of these plans materialized: an 80 minute video titled "The First Twenty Years", a double album with the most well known Tull-songs and - after much discussion - a boxed set "20 Years Of Jethro Tull - The Definitive Collection".

The latter was a real sensation as it focussed on previously unreleased material. It contained 65 songs, of which only eleven were released on albums before in the same form. Included were live versions of classic songs, singles and B-sides, early radio sessions, unreleased masters, tracks that never made it to albums like 'Aqualung', 'Songs From The Wood' and 'Broadsword And The Beast' and finally one new song: 'Part Of The Machine'.

The collection was a true gem, shining a different light on the evolution of the band's music and its versatility and it was warmly welcomed by the music press.
The boxed set included a beautifully designed album booklet with full colour photo's, a history of the band, a Tull-tree and data on the songs of this compilation.


Stormy Monday Blues

  • This song was originally written in 1947 as "Call It Stormy Monday" by Aron 'T-Bone' Walker (1910-1975), one of the first blues guitar-players who applied the electric guitar. The original lyrics are:

  • "They called it stormy Monday,
    but Tuesday is as just as bad
    Oh, they called it, they called it stormy monday,
    but Tuesday, Tuesday is as just as bad
    Oh, Wednesday is worst And Thursday oh so sad

    The eagle flyies on Friday now,
    Saturday I'll go out to play
    Oh, the eagle, the eagle flyies on Friday,
    Saturday I'll go out and play
    Sunday I'll go to church,
    and I fall on my knees and pray

    I say, Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy on me
    But Lord, Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy on me
    You know I'm crazy 'bout my baby
    Lord, please send my baby back on to me

    Help me out here man, help me out
    Sun rise in the east, it set up in the west
    Yes, the sun rise in the east baby,
    and it set up in the west
    It's hard to tell, it's hard to tell, it's hard to tell
    Which one, which one, which one a little bad

    Yeah! Go ahead Do it one more time
    Oh, the eagle flyies on Friday
    Saturday I'll go out to play
    Oh, the eagle flyies on Friday
    You know Saturday I'll go out to play
    Sunday I'll go out to the signify church
    Oh when I'll fall down on my knees and pray

    I say, Lord have mercy Lord have mercy on me
    Lord, Lord, Lord have mercy on me
    Please, have mercy on me
    You know I'm crazy, crazy 'bout my baby
    Please, send her back, send her back on to me


  • The song was recorded by Jethro Tull in the BBC studio in late - probably December - 1968, together with some songs from the "This Was" album like the version of "A Song For Jeffrey" in this collection. A few weeks after that session Mick Abrahams, who plays lead guitar here, left the band.
    * Jan Voorbij

Jack Frost And The Hooded Crow

  • In most of Britain, the Carrion Crow is a large, solitary, totally black bird. In Scotland, the same species has a grey back, and is called a "Hooded Crow", because of its appearence. I don't know the story behind the song, but crows are considered quite intelligent and I expect there are a few folk stories about them. Hooded Crows are fairly common on Skye, and fit the context. They are carrion birds which have been alleged to attack young lambs - they might be thought of as the Northern European equivalent of vultures. Thus, people tend not to think of their hardship at Christmas, as the song suggests. In parts of Scotland, a nickname for the bird is a 'Hoodie'. The bird on the cover of 'Crest Of A Knave' is a Hooded Crow.
    * Neil R. Thomason

  • Recorded in June 1981 during "The Broadsword And The Beast" sessions, it was released as the B-side of the "Coronach" UK single in 1986.
    In the introduction to "Broadsword And the Beast" I stated that the album reflects the atmosphere of crisis of the early eighties. Most of the songs include elements of uncertainty about the future, threat, fear or even dispair. That goes also for this 'Broadsword' song, as well as for 'Too Many Too', 'I'm Your Gun' and 'Down At The End Of Your Road'.

    * Jan Voorbij

I'm Your Gun

  • "Maxim and Browning", "Stoner, Kalashnikov" are the names of inventors of several kinds of automatic guns, pistols and revolvers.
    Hiram Maxim invented the world's first practical machine gun. Before Maxim's machine gun, the only thing resembling a machine gun was the multiple-barreled Gatling gun, which had no trigger (turning a crank fired the gun) and required two people to fire (one to aim it and one to turn the crank). Also, it frequently jammed. Maxim's gun was the first true machine gun, where one operator held a trigger down to fire a continuous stream of bullets until the trigger was released (or until the gun was empty).

    John Browning was the inventor of numerous innovations that helped the Allies succeed in both World Wars. Some notable inventions (to name a few) are the 1911style .45 Cal. semiautomatic pistol, the B.A.R. (Browning automatic rifle), the Browning hi-power 9mm pistol design, and the Browning .50 Cal. M2 machine gun (the guns used in the bombers of WWII - also used by tanks and infantry).

    Mikhail Kalashnikov, originally a Russian tank mechanic, is the inventor of the well-known AK-47 assault rifle. The AK stands for "Automat Kalashnikov".  He completed the design in 1947, hence the name AK-47.

    Eugene Stoner is sometimes seen as Kalashnikov's American contemporary.  Stoner invented the famous M-16 rifle (used extensively  by the Americans in Vietnam) as well as the later AR-15 style of assault rifles.
    * Mark Messina

  • The song was recorded in June 1981 during "The Broadsword And The Beast" sessions, but didn't make it to the album.

Down At The End Of Your Road

  • The subversive tone of this song can be heard elsewhere, e.g. 'Beltane', 'Saboteur' and 'Mayhem, Maybe'.  The comfortable, suburban, bourgeois life is considered ripe for disruption and/or destruction, a view most commonly held by those (like Ian) who were themselves raised in such surroundings.   'Respectability' is here seen as hypocritical: a thin gloss on the darker aspects of the individual psyche and 'polite' society as a whole: "I am your neighbour. I seem most respectable, but underneath I'm an iniquitous toad." (and) "By day I'm a real estate gentleman. I deal in fine properties cheap at the price. After dark, I plan my most devious practices which you might think are not very nice".
    Thus there is an echo of the older 'animal' songs on the 'Chateau d'Isaster Tapes' and 'WarChild'. The symbol of chaos seems to be excrement in many of these songs: the natural waste that is so purposefully disposed of, protecting not only our health but also our sensibilities.  Plumbing is, after all, one of the triumphs of a civilised society!  And a feature not commonly found in your average jungle . . . .   In film, David Lynch has turned the same subversive glance on Middle America: Blue Velvet in particular. In literature, George Orwell's Keep the Aspidistra Flying is perhaps the sharpest attack on bourgeois culture and values.  Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse tells of a more complex love/hate relationship with these values.
    * Andy Jackson

  • Also originating from "The Broadsword And The Beast" sessions, this song was released for the first time on this collection.


  • Music and lyrics of 'Coronach' were written by David Palmer as the theme to the historical TV series "The blood of the British", broadcasted by UK Channel 4. It was recorded and released in 1986 as a single, with 'Jack Frost And The Hooded Crow' as B-side, credited to Jethro Tull & David Palmer.
  • The book "Jethro Tull - complete lyrics" published by IMP in 1993 gives the chorus as "Hi-O-Ran-I-O", which Ian once said was derived from a Gaelic war cry. According to this book 'Coronach' means a Scottish funeral song.
    * Alan R. Eagle; SCC vol. 9 nr. 9 (January 25, 1998)
  • Andy Jackson points out that there is - like in Aqualung - a possible relation with William Blake, regarding his poem A New Jerusalem (1804). Both poem and song sing the praises of Britain and the ancestors that once settled in the country.

    And did those feet in ancient time
    Walk upon England's mountains green?
    And was the holy Lamb of God
    On England's pleasant pastures seen?

    And did the Countenance Divine
    Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
    And was Jerusalem builded here
    Among these dark Satanic Mills?

    Bring me my bow of burning gold!
    Bring me my arrows of desire!
    Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!
    Bring me my charriot of fire!

    I will not cease from mental fight,
    Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
    Till we have built Jerusalem
    In England's green and pleasant land.

Summerday Sands

  • Recorded in 1975 - probably during "The Minstrel In The Gallery" sessions - it was released as on the B-side of tthe title track single.

Too Many Too

  • Another song recorded in June 1981 during "The Broadsword And The Beast" sessions, that didn't make it to the album.
  • "Too many temples where we could worship the beast.
    Where he who thinks he has the most in fact has the least."

    This song is written in the prophetic mode, echoing passages in the New Testament and apocrypha:
    "The man who has will be given more, and the man who has not
    will forfeit even what he thinks he has." (Luke, 8. 18)
    "For many who are first will become last, and they will become one and the same." (Gospel of Thomas, 33. 9-10)
    A reversal of fortunes often features in this style of address -- a turning of the tables in favour of a 'new world order', and an expression of disillusionment with the current state of affairs.
    "Too many equal and average children will all grow up the same."
    This line echoes some of the social concerns in 'Thick As A Brick':
    "We will be geared towards the average rather than the exceptional."
    * Andy Jackson

March The Mad Scientist

Pan Dance

  • This instrumental piece was originally written for TV girls dance group, Pan's People, for their appearances with Jethro Tull at the Rainbow Theatre, London in 1974. It was released as another track from the 'Solstice Bells' EP in November 1976.

Strip Cartoon

  • Recorded in 1976, especially as B-side for the single 'The Whistler', released to promote the 'Songs From The Wood' album.

King Henry's Madrigal

  • 'King Henry's Madrigal' is not an original song written by Ian but his instrumental arrangement from a medieval folk song. I first heard this song in a college music class. It does have lyrics, and it's called . As I understood it, it was actually written by King Henry VIII. It was played during the 'Stormwatch' tour as part of a live set under the title 'Pastime With Good Company', with an introduction by David Palmer: "Imagine if King Henry VIII had had a rock & roll band - it would have sounded something like this". The original lyrics are:

  • "Pastime with good company I love and shall until I die.
    Grudge who will, but none deny,
    So God be pleased, thus live will I.
    For my pastance, hunt sing and dance, my heart is set,
    To all comfort such goodly sport, who shall me let?
    Youth must needs have dalliance,
    Of good or ill some pastance.
    Company methinketh the best
    All thoughts and fantasies to digest,
    For idleness is chief mistress of vices all,
    Then who can say but pass the day is best of all?
    Company with honesty
    Is virtue sure and vice to flee.
    Company is good or ill
    But every man hath his free will.
    The best I sue,
    the worst eschew;
    my mind shall be Virtue to use, vice to refuse
    --thus shall I use me."

    * Jennie Jones, Jan Voorbij

A Stitch In Time

  • The song probably dates from the Heavy Horses sessions and was released in 1978 to promote the double album 'Live - Bursting Out'.
  • The chorus is based around everyday proverbs or folk-tales: "A stitch in time saves nine", meaning: if you do a little work early on, it will save you a lot of work later! Another one applied in the verseline "Show a little pride before you fall" is "Pride comes before a fall": self-importance or arrogance will lead quickly to misfortune. The character of "Cock Robin" originates is from an old English folk ballad, and it might have grown out of the Robin Hood tales, but I'm not sure. You will find a complete version of 'Who killed Cock Robin' here online.
    Normally, only the last 11 or 12 verses are used in a folk song arrangement (starting with "Who killed Cock Robin?").  But this full version has the bit at the beginning, where Cock Robin is singing from the wall to Jenny Wren, and I guess this is where Ian has taken the image from.
    There is (like in 'Coronach') another William Blake reference in this song: "dark Satanic mills", taken from his poem The New Jerusalem, was applied here by Ian as
    "driving grey satanic mills and weaving sad stories" to portray the dull, monotonous and depressing labour in a factory.
    To be honest, I don't think there's really a deep meaning to this song: Ian was trying to write a 'hit single', and it looks like he picked these nursery-rhyme images and proverbs to make it memorable and catchy.
    * Andy Jackson, Jan Voorbij


  • Recorded and released late 1969 as B-side of the UK single 'Sweet Dream'.

One For John Gee

  • Just after the release of 'This Was', a single was taken from the album: 'A Song For Jeffrey', bringing the band their first little commercial success. They choose this jazzy 'One For John Gee' for the B-side, thus thanking John Gee (manager of the Marquee Club in London), who was the first person to show sufficient faith in the band to invite them for a return booking. Being a fanatic jazz fan, Jethro Tull came to most close to his personal taste in comparison to most of the bands that played the Marquee Club.


  • Recorded in February 1968, when the band played under a variety of names. The song was written by Mick Abrahams, was not at all indicative of their stage sound and became the B-side of the 'Sunshine Day' single, miscredited to "Jethro Toe". The song was part of the repertory of the John Evan Band in 1967.

Sunshine Day

  • Recorded during the same session and written by Ian Anderson and Glenn Cornick, which was actually an old track cut by the John Evan Band with the saxophones mixed out.

* '20 Years Of Jethro Tull', album booklet
* The interviews on the '20 Years Of Jethro Tull', videotape (1988)
* 'Minstrel In The Gallery : A History Of Jethro Tull', D. Rees, SAF Publ., Wembley UK (1998)


Back to lyrics page of
"20 Years Of Jethro Tull: The Radio Archives And Rare Tracks"


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Last modified: November 28 - 2000

Jan Voorbij (1998-2009)