Jethro Tull Lyrics


In the latter months of 1967, four shaggy wannabe's
congregated in the Southern UK town of Luton, Bedfordshire.
From the debris of the disillusioned and disintegrated John
Evan Band and McGregor's Engine, the naïve, untutored
talents of Ian Anderson, Mick Abrahams, Glenn Cornick and
Clive Bunker tentatively coalesced to form the original
Jethro Tull line-up.

After fulfilling a few remaining dates under the John Evan
banner, the group established themselves as Jethro Tull,
new resident band at London's famous Marquee club, More...


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Review about Jethro Tull songs
in my opinion ... | Reviewer: Bernd
    ------ About the song Slow Marching Band performed by Jethro Tull

... one of your best songs out of their superhits like Locomotive Breath and so on; sad but with no regret ...

... i remember when i bougth the long-playing record in a small store in Essen, which is still there; live long and prosper Ian, take care and all the best for you; hope you will read this at some time in the future

A rare gem | Reviewer: Darryl
    ------ About the song Broadford Bazaar performed by Jethro Tull

It's a shame that this song only saw the light of day as an add-on to a re-release of Heavy Horses. It is a real gem and fits perfectly into a long line of tradional folk song. Get hold of 'Copswaholme Fair' for example and see how skillfully Ian Anderson has extended the story and tradition of the fair/market into the 21st century. I entirely agree with Karn, about the various aspects and levels of meaning in Ian's lyrics, although I sense there is a considerable amount of local significance in these lyrics also.Not having visited Broadford or Skye, I can't comment further. A great song, like all Ian's songs.

An Allegory of our time. | Reviewer: Fred Osborn
    ------ About the song Locomotive Breath performed by Jethro Tull

One of the key characteristics of any great song is its timeless quality - how it fits its time and place of writing, but also speaks to generations to follow. When a song loses its timeless quality it falls into nostalgia and eventually becomes dated and less and less relevant. "Locomotive Breath" is one of those great songs that seems to have a timeless feel to it. And certainly it fits into a number of life-experiences as witnessed by the reviews that tag the song as about everything from the death of religion to suicide by drug overdose.

As I follow today's news, I can see how the song can be related allegorically to the current situation in Washington, DC. The "train" in this case would be the US economy and "Old Charlie" who stole the handles represents the politicians and special interests who are playing politics while the train speeds towards the "fiscal cliff" that will leave the US economy in ruins.

The American people have lost control of their government as it keeps growing and growing at unprecedented rates and is speeding out-of-control on the way to economic ruin and no one can stop it now.

The "all-time loser" is the American people and the "death" is the death of the U.S. Constitution that guaranteed the freedom and self-reliance the American nation. "His children" jumping off are the liberties that are being lost as the power in Washington grows. As the train keeps going down the tracks, the "Big Brother" government that will control everyone's lives from the cradle to the grave grows in power and momentum. And there is no way for anyone to slow it down now.

"His woman and his best friend in bed and having fun" represents the moral decline of the nation. Our Judeo-Christian morality has broken down and been swept aside as evidenced by the break-down of marriage and the family. Man, no longer walking with pride as the crown of God's creation, is now crawling on his hands and knees like an animal having lost his dignity of being created "a little lower than the angels."

"He hears the silence howling - Catches angels as they fall." Represents the silencing of religious expression in America at the hands of a few SC Justices along with the "fall" of Christianity in American culture. It has lost its relevance in the lives of the people and the culture no longer has a moral guide to its laws and institutions.

The "all-time" winner is the winner in the Culture Wars that have been raging since the Sixties. Christianity lost and the Secular Humanism has won.

"He picks up Gideon's Bible - Open at page one - God stole the handle and The train won't stop going - No way to slow down." represents the fact that ultimately, God is in control. God is the one who controls history from the beginning and all human history is heading relentlessly towards providential end.




My interpretation | Reviewer: dardomon
    ------ About the song Locomotive Breath performed by Jethro Tull

A man starts to lose control of his life, which is symbolized by a locomotive barreling down the tracks. Charlie is the person blamed for this situation (a drug dealer, the devil, lover)he stole the handle which are the breaks and now he can't stop the train (life out of control). He knows its taking him to his death yet he can't stop (acting crazy or stealing to get more drugs). He specifies memorable things that happen one by one that that are consequences of his dire situation and make things worse, because he can't control his life. His children abandon him one by one, his wife leaves him for his best friend, most likely because he is so consumed with his situation he does not even see he has thrown his wife to desperation and his best friend to console her because of his actions at home. Once again the situation is dire for him and he has hit rock bottom but charlie again steals the handle and all he can think to do is go further deeper into the same situation (dementia or drugs). The desperation of all this causes him to start dying either by his own hand or by someone else due to the situation he is in (could be a drug deal gone bad or even a madden rampage that caused him to get run over by a car or to fall off a building etc.. He is now dying and he can see the end near cause he can see angels around him. Since he is dying he is calmer than usual and thinks why has this happened to me and turns to a bible, most likely he has never opened one since he goes to the first page. Then he starts to believe that is was what God wanted to happen and that God was the one who stole the handle, so he accepts he will die and does not blame himself and slowly dies accepting fate.

fox | Reviewer: Anonymous
    ------ About the song Locomotive Breath performed by Jethro Tull

the train symbolize the life. this person found out that his time is limited (no handle)and his body is old.
"the all time loser" is the humans we will always lose.
"the all time winner" is the death (death always win in the end) which got the old man "by the balls"
and that he open the bible at page one means that when he realized that his gonna die he gets religious.

One of The Best! | Reviewer: Anonymous
    ------ About the song Bungle in the Jungle performed by Jethro Tull

This song was the first Tull song I ever heard, and turned me onto one of the most amazing bands out there. I just recently went to my first rock-concert: Jethro Tull's Aqualung 40th Anniverserary Tour.

Classic Rock! | Reviewer: DAKOTA X
    ------ About the song Aqualung performed by Jethro Tull

This is an awsome song. its a classic that awta be remembered and preserved for generations to come. i love the way the tempo changes throughout and the instrumental arrangement. i hate wots being passed off as music these days. most of it wud be forgotn in a very short while. bands like jethro tull, kansas and boston awta b remembered and celebrated. ROCK LIVES 4EVA!!!

Complete despair | Reviewer: Al
    ------ About the song Locomotive Breath performed by Jethro Tull

This song is about a man who loses it all.... (Not only does he lose his wife and his children abandon him, but he is completely betrayed by his best friend, whom he catches in bed with his wife.) He has hit rock bottom and then fallen more, and he feels that there is no other way to go but lower. He ends up not in his house, but in a hotel (most likely a cheap one) completely alone, empty, shattered, in a way hopefully none of us have ever experienced. He notices a bible and opens it. At this point it says, "I think God.... stole the handle...." I read this as "the all-time loser" being "caught" by God (All-time winner has got him by the balls.)All he has to turn to is God. He has nothing else but the Bible to turn to. God brought the loser to Him, but in a very, very painful way. I read it as a "God works in mysterious ways" song.

Darwin | Reviewer: tony
    ------ About the song Locomotive Breath performed by Jethro Tull

The song poses the question : what does organized religion do when confronted with scientific fact / theory ..in this case Darwinism . Old Charlie = Darwin .
He picks up Gideon's bible , Opened at page one = Genesis ie: Creationism
" He sees his children jumping off
at the stations -- one by one. " = the faithful are gradually moving to the side of science
"And The train it won't stop going . no way to slow it down " - Ian Anderson likens this conflict to a locomotive ..once the question is posed and the conflict between science and religion is started there's no stopping it .
It fits in perfectly with the rest of side 2 of Aqualung .

My Interpretation | Reviewer: Daniel Sail
    ------ About the song Locomotive Breath performed by Jethro Tull

I'm thinking it's a little bit different from the previous interpretations. I don't believe it has anything to do with a drug overdose as much as a lyrical glimpse of "The End". Between the periods of time when the Old Testament and the New Testament were written, much Jewish literature centered around how the world would end. Then in the Book of Revelation, a post-Jewish account is given.

In the first verse the all-time loser refers to Satan. Ultimately, in the Book of Revelation, Satan, who has deluded the world since the Book of Genesis, see his demise coming and it cannot be stopped. The reference to Old Charlie could be either Charles Darwin or to Satan himself, but the handle is an obvious reference to the control throttle on a steam locomotive; without the handle, nothing changes on the train's speed.

In the second verse his children are jumping off, referring to his minions (demons) seeing their fate too and decided to abandon ship whenever they can. Woman and best friend discuss the total breakdown of morality, whereupon a woman is seen sleeping with anyone (best friend is either a literal friend or a dog). Crawling in the corridor is the act of one realizing his impending fate and being reduced to begging (forgiveness or leniency).

Third verse brings finality in that the all-time winner (God) has him (Satan) by the balls. The meaning of Gideon's Bible at Page One refers to the part where Satan started it all, causing the fall of Man. In the third verse, it turns out that God was the one who stole the handle, not Satan himself. All this time, Satan believed HE had control, by stealing the handle, but in fact it was God in control the whole time.

Yes, there are religious undertones in a lot of Rock music and this one takes a little time to figure out.


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