A parody that has become a classic

With Thick as a BrickIan Anderson had given himself the mission of making a parody of the concept albums that were fashionable in the early 1970s. This opus by Jethro Tull, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary, has become a classic and a benchmark in the field. .

Fifth studio album from the British band, Thick as a Brick was also intended as a reaction to music lovers who had qualified Aqualung disc-concept.

“I have always said that Aqualung was not a concept album, but a disc made up of various songs. There were three or four songs that represented the central element of this opus, but that did not make it a concept album, “said singer, flautist and guitarist Ian Anderson in 2005.

Aqualung mixed folk, blues, jazz and rock sounds that had nothing to do with the progressive rock of Emerson Lake & Palmer, Yes, Genesis, Pink Floyd, King Crimson and others.

Ian Anderson had given himself the mission of making the “concept album” of all concept albums. Launched March 3, 1972, Thick as a Brick was accepted by progressive rock fans who were targeted by this satire.

The album topped the charts in Canada and the United States. It reached number two in Germany, Italy and the Netherlands and number three in Norway.

Thick as a Brick is a 44-minute long piece that was spread over two sides of a vinyl.

The album was recorded in December 1971 at Morgan Studios in London. It is a series of collages of small segments of 3 to 5 minutes.

“We did it fast and furiously. I arrived at rehearsals at lunchtime with what I had written in the morning. The guys were tackling it seriously and in line with what we had done the day before. After ten days, all segments were repeated. I think it took longer to make the cover than to record the album, “said Anderson, in 2016, in the magazine Classic Rock.


The original cover of the vinyl version of the album unfolded to make the St. Cleve Chronicle and Linwell Advertiser, a 12-page paper journal. Chrysalis Records had found the production costs for this unusual cover to be high.

The fictional texts published in this journal were written by Ian Anderson, bassist Jeffrey Hammond and keyboardist John Evans. The lyrics of Thick as a Brick were on page 7.

Thick as a Brick features a poem written by the fictional character of Gerald Bostock: an eight-year-old child who had received an award for his work before having it removed after saying a bad word on television. The front page article of the fictitious daily recounts this affair.

Ian Anderson did not believe that this album, due to its very British humor, was going to be successful outside of Britain.

“I imagine, somewhere, that the music must not have been too bad”, he had said, during a public interview, in 2018, the day before a show at the Festival d’été de Québec.

Ian Anderson has launched a sequel to Thick as a Brick in 2012. A solo album where he is interested in a Gerard Bostock who has become an adult.

A parody that has become a classic