An introduction to
"Walk Into Light"
Anderson's long awaited solo album finally saw
daylight in November 1983. His first attempt had been
"A" (1980), which eventually turned out to
be a group album, albeit with a different line-up.
Though the album was not the acoustic one the
majority of Tull-followers had been waiting for, it
definitely was a remarkable effort, showing new
aspects of Ian's musicianship.
Ian explained to David Rees, that he
wanted to take the opportunity to experiment with
something outside the frame of the Jethro Tull music
of the time (1; p.105). Instead of singing and
playing acoustic guitar and flute, he turned to the
new electronic means of the time like samplers and
sequencers, new keyboard technology and the so often
cursed drum machine. One should realize, that the
early eighties were the beginning of the techno age,
of computer driven music, and though the album
nowadays sounds hopelessly outdated, it was at the
time a revolutionary step in Ian's musical career as
he tried to master a new technology in order to find
ways to innovate himself musically. Though he wrote
most of the songs himself, he didn't do so without
the assistance of keyboard wizard Peter-John Vetesse,
who was very familiar with modern music technology.
Five of the songs were co-productions.
* Keyboard wizard Peter-John Vettese
The album contains some interesting
songs, but it lacks the passion, the humour and the
"sting" of cynicism that features his
earlier work. The mechanical approach and the use of
the drum machine made it sound sterile and detached,
which was a bit of a disappointment for many fans.
Greg Russo states, that "Looking at it with a
wider view, "Walk Into Light" caught Ian
Anderson in transition, bridging the gap between
standard rock structures and more technical,
experimental song stylings" (2; p.130).
When taking the lyrics in account, it is
striking to see that this album - like "The
Broadsword And The Beast" - reflects the
atmosphere of the early eighties. Anderson
implicitely comments on that era by portraying
peoples feelings of alienation, fear and uncertainty
caused by the economic depression on one hand and the
increasing influence of technology on peoples life on
the other hand. Both in content and in the applied
musical technology this album is a true document of
its time and will proved to be valuable when
appreciated in that context.
Cited works: 1. David Rees: "Minstrels In The
Gallery - A History Of Jethro Tull" (Firefly
Publishing, 1998); 2. Greg Russo: "Flying
Colours - The Jethro Tull Reference Manual"
(Crossfire Publications, 1999)
Fly By Night
There is an uncanny similarity
between the main melody in this song (as played
by the flute) and the track 'Time Lapse' by the
British composer Michael Nyman, written for the
soundtrack of the Peter Greenaway film 'A Zed And
Two Noughts' which was released in 1987.
The sixteen bars of melody are copied exactly by
Nyman, with the exception of the very last note,
and scored at about half the speed. He also
extends and develops the melody for a further
sixteen bars. I find it hard to believe that
Nyman didn't 'steal' this melody line, unless, by
some coincidence, both he and Peter-John Vettese
were taking their inspiration from the exact same
piece of Baroque music -- possibly Mozart.
The soundtrack album for 'A Zed And Two Noughts'
is still readily available, if anyone is
interested in comparing the two pieces.
* Andy Jackson
Made In England
In this song the economic situation
in Britain is implicitely reflected, esp. the
crisis in the late seventies - early eighties.
This subject has inspired Ian when writing
several songs, like the ones we find on the
'Broadsword' album (1982). While he usually
describes how this economic crisis has affected
the life of common people, we see a person
outlined here who is not willing to accept what
"He accepts no
and is to indeterminate station bred.
Is possessed of skills and reason.
Flies the flag upon his head."
Is Ian here referring to activists in the Union
or in the Labour Party, opposing to or agitating
against the policy of the Thatcher government?
"Flies the flag upon his
head": I think Ian is referring
here to the habit among skinheads of tattooing
the Union Jack on their foreheads (although more
usually it was on the neck somewhere). This
became popular around 1977, just after the Punk
explosion in Britain, the skinheads being one of
the unemployed, disaffected youth movements of
that time who expressed both their patriotism and
their social rebellion with this unusual act.
* Andy Jackson
in England's green and pleasant land" is a
verseline from the William Blake poem "A New
Jerusalem" (1804), also used in the song Coronach.
tunnels and bridges bold" refers to
Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859), a British
civil engineer, famous for his revolutionary
design and construction of bridges, railway
structures and steel ships, like the SS Great
Britain, the first propellor driven steel
ship to cross the Atlantic.
* Jan Voorbij
Walk Into Light
The listeners are summoned to do
what one is really good at and enjoys to do ("Stand tall and be
yourself"), to take
it to the limit ("And
do some more") and not to
have any fear for exposing oneself in doing so,
no matter what others might say about it. In the
end that is what will be appreciated by other
"They're going to love you
The sensation of going through that
experience time after time is described in the
first two stanza's: we see how a parallel is
drawn, probably with the band itself. That moment
of tension and excitement any performer
experiences, when he is about to hit the stage,
comes clearly to the fore in the lines
"We're all powered
up, switched on, the rig is tight.
Step into joy. Walk into light." and in:
off that nervous twitch and feel your strenght.
Stand astride the width and walk the length".
If Ian takes Jethro Tull as an
example in this stanza's, the line "Never mind what the people
say. They're going to love you anyway" might be
an implicit reference to the music press and
Tull's fan-base, that in spite of hundreds of
band-bashing articles, remained loyal over the
* Jan Voorbij
Black And White Television