Stand Up (Jethro Tull album)

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Stand Up
Studio album by Jethro Tull
Released 1 August 1969
Recorded April 1969 at Morgan Studios, London
Genre Progressive rock, art rock, hard rock, folk rock
Length 37:48
51:07 (with bonus tracks)
Label Island, Reprise
Producer Ian Anderson and Terry Ellis
Jethro Tull chronology
This Was
Stand Up
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[1]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[2]
Disc and Music Echo (Very favourable)[3]
Robert Christgau B−[4]

Stand Up is the second album by Jethro Tull. It was recorded few months after Martin Barre joined the band, and presents the search for a more open and ecletic sound – what was going to result in the progressive rock unique sound of the group – already showing a lot of the idiosyncrasies of Ian Anderson. In fact, Anderson states that this is to be considered the first "true" Tull album, This Was being just a sample of the amateur play-in-pubs Jethro Tull. Stand Up was the only Jethro Tull album to reach No. 1 in the United Kingdom charts. The album is considered by fans and by the group members as one of the better works of the band. Many of the repertoire of Jethro Tull through the years together with Ian Anderson and Martin Barre's solos carriers continues to reproduce music from this album. This line-up would go on to release Benefit, together with John Evans in the following year.


Ian being in full control said that sometimes the album was recorded with him alone in the studio, entering with "a guitar and a mandolin" in each hand. As an overall view of the album, he said: "This was Martin Barre's first album with us, and it marks the turning point in our music, away from the blues and toward progressive rock. It is a very broad, eclectic album, and the end result is a set of songs that nobody else could have written. I was particularly pleased with the record, and still am, because nobody else was doing that then and the songs are very idiosyncratic in terms of their performance and writing. Looking back on it, it's one of the records that I feel was a really important one."[5]

Martin Barre said he was: "terrified because I had just joined the band. It really showed a change in direction for the band and when it was accepted and became a successful album, we gained a lot of confidence"[6]

Glenn Cornick insists that the band did not discuss "new directions" of the music, being just creative and working on what Ian was writing.[7]

The album was recorded in Morgan Studios on 8 track, what was a really turning point for the band, as the first album was made in a cheap studio. The engineer was Andy Johns,[8] widely known as producer and sound engineering, working with Led Zeppelin, Free, Blodwyn Pig and Humble Pie.

The band was also improving themselves, as they work in better studios and try new techniques (as will be better seen in Benefit album). For example, the riff on "New Day Yesterday" were made with new amplifiers, with Ian Anderson swinging the microphone in front of it in a "Roger Daltrey' fashion".

Musical style[edit]

Overall, however, the album does remain more broadly in the style of blues rock than future Jethro Tull albums – although the music was already inspired by Roy Harper, to whom Ian used to listen. Still, Stand Up represents the first album project on which Anderson was in full control of the music and lyrics. It also marks the first appearance of guitarist Martin Barre, who appeared on every Jethro Tull album from this point on. The album goes in a different direction from Ian Anderson's earlier work, revealing influences from Celtic, folk, and classical music. In particular, the song "Fat Man" showed an interest in unusual instrumentation, as Ian Anderson played mandolin, one of the first times the instrument had been used by a rock band. The instrumental "Bourée" (one of Jethro Tull's better-known numbers) is a jazzy re-working of "Bourrée in E minor" by J.S. Bach, with a strong and fluid bass solo serving as medley to close the song.

“A New Day Yesterday" is almost a holdover from "This Was" with its blues-stylings while "Nothing is Easy," common in concert sets, is a blues-jazz fusion. Many Tull fans presume Far Eastern influences on the band's music begin with Anderson's solo album "Divinities." Yet, traces can be found in "Fat Man" (sometimes considered a jab at departed guitarist Mick Abrahams) and "Jeffrey Goes to Leicester Square" (in which Anderson played the balalaika), one of three Tull songs devoted to Ian's boyhood friend Jeffrey Hammond who would later join the band.[9]

The US Radio Spot said that the music was almost like "Roland Kirk playing on Cream".


While hardly a "concept" album, lyrically the album devotes a lot to Anderson's relationship with his parents (a subject continued on Benefit), like "Back to the family" and "For a Thousand Mothers". Others were observational poetry, like "Fat Man" and "Jeffrey goes to Leicester Square". The difficult life before the band's success were also described in "We used to know" – remembering the hard life Anderson and bassist Glenn Cornick had at the beginning of the group. The subject of coping with new found pop stardom was also present.[10]

Album Cover[edit]

The gatefold album cover, in a woodcut style designed by artist James Grashow, originally opened up like a children's pop-up book, so that a cut-out of the band's personnel stood up – evoking the album's title. In a matter of fact, Martin Barre said about the sleeve: "It was part of our rebelliousness. We thought the rock image was so stupid and that rock musicians took themselves too seriously. Our celebrity was based on being a blues act, and here was lan, sticking two fingers up the band's reputation. It was an amazing risk. I never thought about it — but he must have".[11] Stand Up won New Musical Express's award for best album artwork in 1969.

Critical reception[edit]

Stand Up won New Musical Express's award for best album artwork in 1969.

Rolling Stone review was quite positive, stating that the album: "has a fairly low raunch quotient, true to form, but it is quite marvelous". The review also state: "As I've said, the album is not really funky; rather, it is a meticulously crafted work (no sterility implied) which deserves careful listening. At a time when many of the established stars are faltering, it is a particular pleasure to hear an important new voice."[12] Disc & Music Echo made an mixed review, calling the band a "live gas" but stating that Stand Up: "is by no means a bad album, but it could be, certainly, one whole lot better".[13] Robert Christgau was direct in his critic: "People who like the group think this is a great album. I don't like the group. I think it is an adequate album".[14] AllMusic review was positive, recognizing that the album "solidified their sound".[15]

About the public reaction to the new songs, Martin Barre remembered that:

"After we finished Stand Up, we went back to the English blues clubs where Mick had played (says Barre). There were a few dates where the audience was very quiet. They didn't know what to make of it all. We did some 10 gigs in England, and it wasn't gelling with the crowd. It was a worrying few weeks."[16]

Then, on 18 January 1969, Jethro Tull presented into Manchester University, their final stop in England before they would make their US premiere at New York City's Fillmore East, on 24 January. Barre continued:

"Manchester was the gig that finally cracked it for us. The audience went wild for the new songs, and you could hear a huge sigh of relief from the band that the show had gone down so well. It was really the turning point for Jethro Tull — for everything that we were to become and everything we were to inspire in others."[17]

In popular culture[edit]

The song "New Day Yesterday" was covered by Joe Bonamassa, giving also the titled for his first solo album.

"New Day Yesterday" also appears on the television serie Supernatural, in the episode "Like a Virgin" of 2011.[18]

In the tribute album "To Cry You a Song: A Collection of Tull Tales", "Nothing is Easy" is covered by John Wetton, "A New Day Yesterday", by Robby Steinhardt, from Kansas; and "Living in the past", by Keith Emerson, from ELP.

As result of the release of Stand Up, Jethro Tull got second in Melody Maker list of groups in 1969, under The Beatles, but ahead of The Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, Cream, Pink Floyd, Family, Fairport Convention and The Who.[19]


The album was re-issued in 1973 by Chrysalis Records.

In 1989, an MFSL remaster was released.

Again the album was re-issued in 2001 as a digital remaster.

The album was reissued on 5 Oct 2010 as a deluxe edition including six bonus tracks on disc one, and two additional discs: a disc of live material recorded at Carnegie Hall on 4 November 1970, and a disc with a DTS surround mix.[20]

Track listing[edit]

Standard (CD and LP version)
(1973 cassette version has same track order, but on opposite sides.)[21][22]

All songs written by Ian Anderson unless otherwise indicated.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "A New Day Yesterday"   4:10
2. "Jeffrey Goes to Leicester Square"   2:12
3. "Bourée" (instrumental, J. S. Bach arr. Anderson) 3:46
4. "Back to the Family"   3:48
5. "Look into the Sun"   4:20
Side two
No. Title Length
6. "Nothing is Easy"   4:25
7. "Fat Man"   2:52
8. "We Used to Know"   4:00
9. "Reasons for Waiting"   4:05
10. "For a Thousand Mothers"   4:13

2010 Deluxe Edition[edit]

Chart positions[edit]

The album reached No. 1 on the British charts, [23] also selling well in the United States, where it reached No. 20 - begning to get visibility across the atlantic. In the Norwegian charts (where the band toured along with Jimi Hendrix), the album was the first to chart there in an impressive No. 5. It also sell well in Netherlands, where stay in the charts for 10 weeks.[24]

Chart Year Peak
UK Albums Chart[25] 1969 1
Preceded by
According to My Heart by Jim Reeves
UK Albums Chart number-one album
9 August 1969 – 30 August 1969
Succeeded by
From Elvis in Memphis
by Elvis Presley
Preceded by
From Elvis in Memphis
by Elvis Presley
UK Albums Chart number-one album
6 September 1969 – 20 September 1969
Succeeded by
Blind Faith by Blind Faith


Additional personnel