Benefit (album)

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Studio album by Jethro Tull
Released 20 April 1970 (US)
1 May 1970 (UK)
Recorded December 1969 – January 1970 at Morgan Studios, London
Genre Progressive rock, hard rock[1]
Length 42:49
Label Chrysalis, Reprise
Producer Ian Anderson
Jethro Tull chronology
Stand Up
Singles from
  1. "Inside"
    Released: 1970
  2. "Alive and Well and Living In"
    Released: 1970
  3. "A Time For Everything"
    Released: 1970
  4. "Teacher"
    Released: 1970

Benefit is the third album by Jethro Tull, released in April 1970. It was the first Tull album to include pianist and organist John Evan – though he was not yet a permanent member of the group – and the last to include bass guitarist Glenn Cornick. Recorded in a better studio than the previous albums, the band could experiment with new techniques. "To Cry you a Song" and "Teacher" became notorious for the stage shows.[2]

Anderson has said that Benefit is a much darker album than the predecessor Stand Up for the pressures of an extensive tour in U.S. coupled with frustrations with the music business.[3]


Martin Barre said that compared to previous albums, Benefit was a lot easier to create. He attributed this to the success of Stand Up, which allowed the musicians more freedom and artistic latitude.[4]

Bassist Glenn Cornick stated that the intention on the making of the album was to let a more "live-r" feeling to the music, saying that: "I felt the last one sounded like a group of session musicians performing various songs. It was pretty cold."[5]

Additionally, Benefit saw the band incorporate more advanced studio techniques. These included back-tracking (flute and piano tracks on "With You There to Help Me"), and manipulating the tape speed (guitar on "Play in Time"). In a 1970 interview, Anderson noted that the addition of pianist/organist John Evan effectively changed the band's style: "John has added a new dimension musically and I can write more freely now. In fact, anything is possible with him at the keyboard".[6]

Musical style[edit]

Ian Anderson said that Benefit was a "guitar riff" album, and noted that it was recorded in a year when artists like Cream, Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin were becoming more riff-oriented than in the past. Anderson also noted that Benefit is "a rather dark and stark album, and although it has a few songs on it that are rather okay, I don't think it has the breadth, variety or detail that Stand Up has. But it was an evolution in terms of the band playing as 'a band.'" Overall, Anderson considered the album "a natural part of the group's evolution".[7]

Benefit's musical style can be exemplified by "To Cry You a Song". As Martin Barre put it: "The influence for that song was Blind Faith's 'Had To Cry Today', although you couldn't compare the two; nothing was stolen [...]. The riff crossed over the bar in a couple of places and Ian and I each played guitars on the backing tracks. It was more or less live in the studio with a couple of overdubs and a solo, Ian played my Gibson SG and I played a Les Paul on it."[8]


The UK and the US releases contain differences: the US version (with flute) of "Teacher" was placed in the B-side of the record, with the track "Alive and Well and Living In" being released as a single. The UK record has the oposite, and the "Teacher" single was a "fluteless" version.[9]

In 2013, The Collector’s Edition of Benefit was released. It contains bonus tracks mixed by Steven Wilson. This edition also contains a disc with mono and stereo mixes of rare and previously unreleased versions of tracks and singles, and an audio-only DVD that includes a surround sound mix of the original album. The Collector's Edition also includes a booklet featuring an 8,000-word essay written by Martin Webb, as well as interviews with band members and a selection of photos, some of which are rare and previously unseen.[10]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]
Rolling Stone unfavourable[11]
Robert Christgau B−[12]
Disc & Music Echo (Mixed)[13]
SputnikMusic 4/5 stars[14]

Critics were generally unimpressed with Benefit. Rolling Stone called the album "lame and dumb".[15] Disc & Music Echo was also unimpressed, but recognized the band quality: "This album doesn't advance by such a drastic leap as Stand Up did from This Was. It's more like the Jethro Tull we've seen and heard for the past year. It seems to be a remarkably long album, and shows what an exciting group this is. Exciting because they can have quite long guitar breaks and still retain a very tight and together sound".[16] AllMusic review came more benevolent and accepting the album' style. Bruce Eder state that: "Most of the songs on Benefit display pleasant, delectably folk-like melodies attached to downbeat, slightly gloomy, but dazzlingly complex lyrics, with Barre's guitar adding enough wattage to keep the hard rock listeners very interested. 'To Cry You a Song', 'Son', and 'For Michael Collins, Jeffrey and Me' all defined Tull's future sound: Barre's amp cranked up to ten (especially on 'Son'), coming in above Anderson's acoustic strumming, a few unexpected changes in tempo, and Anderson spouting lyrics filled with dense, seemingly profound imagery and statements."[17]


Benefit was the first million record seller from Jethro Tull.[2] The album reached No. 3 in the UK album charts; No. 11 in the US and No. 2 in Norway.[18]

The Collector's Edition of 2013 reach the Nº 48 in sales of the Top Pop Catalog.[19]

Track listing[edit]

UK release[edit]

All music composed by Ian Anderson.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "With You There to Help Me"   6:15
2. "Nothing to Say"   5:10
3. "Alive and Well and Living in"   2:43
4. "Son"   2:48
5. "For Michael Collins, Jeffrey and Me"   3:47
Side two
No. Title Length
6. "To Cry You a Song"   6:09
7. "A Time for Everything?"   2:42
8. "Inside"   3:38
9. "Play in Time"   3:44
10. "Sossity; You're a Woman"   4:31

US release[edit]

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "With You There to Help Me"   6:15
2. "Nothing to Say"   5:10
3. "Inside"   3:46
4. "Son"   2:48
5. "For Michael Collins, Jeffrey and Me"   3:47
Side two
No. Title Length
6. "To Cry You a Song"   6:09
7. "A Time for Everything?"   2:42
8. "Teacher"   3:57
9. "Play in Time"   3:44
10. "Sossity; You're a Woman"   4:31


Jethro Tull
Additional personnel
  • David Palmer – orchestral arrangements
  • John Evan – piano and organ
  • Robin Black - Engineer
  • Terry Ellis - Cover Design, Executive Producer
  • Ruan O'Lochlainn - Cover Design, Photography


  1. ^ a b Eder, Bruce. Benefit at AllMusic. Retrieved 31 October 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Benefit". 1970-05-01. Retrieved 2015-05-01. 
  3. ^ "Jethro Tull Press: BBC Radio Scotland, 27 August 2001". 2001-08-27. Retrieved 2015-05-01. 
  4. ^ "CRR Interview - Forty Years Of Aqualung: An Interview With Jethro Tull's Martin Barre". Retrieved 2015-05-01. 
  5. ^ "Jethro Tull Press: NME, 21 February 1970". 1970-02-21. Retrieved 2015-05-01. 
  6. ^ "Jethro Tull Press: Down Beat, 25 June 1970". 1970-06-25. Retrieved 2015-05-01. 
  7. ^ "Jethro Tull Press: Guitar World, September 1999". Retrieved 2015-05-01. 
  8. ^ "Jethro Tull Press: Guitar Legends, May-June 1997". Retrieved 2015-05-01. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Steven Wilson remixes Jethro Tull’s ‘Benefit’". 2013-09-04. Retrieved 2015-05-01. 
  11. ^ [1][dead link]
  12. ^ [2]
  13. ^ "Jethro Tull Press: Disc & Music Echo, 18 April 1970 (2)". 1970-04-18. Retrieved 2015-05-01. 
  14. ^ "Jethro Tull - Benefit (album review 2)". Sputnikmusic. 2006-05-13. Retrieved 2015-05-01. 
  15. ^ Shadoian, Jack (1970-08-06). "Jethro Tull Benefit Album Review". Retrieved 2015-05-01. 
  16. ^ "Jethro Tull Press: Disc & Music Echo, 18 April 1970 (2)". 1970-04-18. Retrieved 2015-05-01. 
  17. ^ Bruce Eder. "Benefit - Jethro Tull | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2015-05-01. 
  18. ^ [3][dead link]
  19. ^ "Benefit - Jethro Tull | Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2015-05-01. 

External links[edit]