Barriemore Barlow

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Barriemore Barlow
Birth nameBarrie Barlow
Born (1949-09-10) 10 September 1949 (age 71)
Birmingham, England
GenresProgressive rock, hard rock, heavy metal
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter, producer
InstrumentsDrums, percussion, flute
Years active1963–present
Associated actsJethro Tull, Yngwie Malmsteen
WebsiteBiography on official Jethro Tull website

Barrie "Barriemore" Barlow (born 10 September 1949, Birmingham) is an English musician, best known as the drummer and percussionist for the rock band Jethro Tull, from May 1971 to June 1980.

Christened Barrie, the 'Barriemore' was an affectation to suit the eccentric image of Jethro Tull (much as Jeffrey Hammond had become "Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond").

Early career[edit]

Barlow first met Ian Anderson and John Evan in Blackpool, where the two were members of a beat group, The Blades. By then, Barlow had become an apprentice plastic injection mould tool fitter, but walked out in the middle of a maths exam to answer a call by Anderson and Evan to go to Nottingham that night for a suddenly-announced gig. Barlow did not go back to finish the exam.

His first major public appearance was not as a musician, but as a TV extra in the series Coronation Street in which he briefly appeared alongside Anderson's then girlfriend, actress Yvonne Nickelson. Having left The John Evan Band, as The Blades were by then known, Barlow joined another local group "The All Jump Kangaroo Band" featuring and run by Andy Trueman, who became the production manager for Jethro Tull in 1995.[1]

With Jethro Tull[edit]

Barlow joined Jethro Tull in 1971, after the departure of Clive Bunker. Barlow played on the EP "Life's a Long Song", before embarking on a concert tour with the band. By this time, the original members of The Blades were now back together, with the addition of Martin Barre, and a relatively long-running edition of the Jethro Tull lineup was to follow (late 1971–1975).[1]

Barlow's second gig with Tull involved an unfortunate episode in Denver, Colorado, when the local police tear-gassed the audience from helicopters, both outside and inside the Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Believing that they would be arrested, the band made a run for it after the show in an unmarked station wagon where, hidden under a blanket on the floor in the back, Barlow was heard to ask Anderson, "Will it be like this every night?" Anderson replied, "As a general rule, only on Tuesdays and Thursdays."[1][2]

Upset by the death of bassist John Glascock, with whom he had become very close, Barlow left Jethro Tull in 1980 after completing the final leg of the Stormwatch tour.[3]

As a session musician[edit]

Since Jethro Tull's Big Split, Barlow went on to do various session projects, including work with Robert Plant, John Miles, and Jimmy Page, and was one of the few drummers that Plant and Page considered as a remote possibility to replace John Bonham in Led Zeppelin after his death, though the band decided to break up instead. He also started his own band for a spell called Storm. He played on the Yngwie Malmsteen album Rising Force. He played on the Kerry Livgren album, Seeds of Change.

Barlow has a recording studio, The Doghouse, on his property in Shiplake, Oxfordshire, England. He is currently managing a band from Henley on Thames called The Repertoires, and has also been linked with other local bands which echo his own folk-influenced musical history, such as Reading's Smokey Bastard.[4]

Barlow played percussion on "Artrocker," the opening track of the 2006 album Get Your Mood On by London indie punk band, Dustin's Bar Mitzvah.

On 28 May 2008 Barlow guested with Jethro Tull at Royal Festival Hall in London, performing "Heavy Horses", "Thick as a Brick" and a concert-closing "Locomotive Breath" where he drummed alongside Tull's then-current drummer Doane Perry.[5]


Ludwig blue Vistalite
24 x 14 bass drum
22 x 14 bass drum
13 × 9 tom tom
14 x 10 tom tom
16 x 16 tom tom
18 x 16 tom tom
20 x 18 tom tom
14 x 10 Ludwig snare
Ludwig sticks Rose-Morris
Ludwig silver sparkle
Ludwig black super classic (mainly for recording)
Paiste cymbals
Evans Oil-filled Hydraulic drum heads
Ludwig musser marimba
Premier marimba
Ludwig glockenspiel
Natal bongos
Indian tablas

Drumming technique[edit]

Barlow is known as a very technical and creative drummer. His drumming on the live album Bursting Out is testimony to his creative talents as a drummer, notably on his drum solo in the song "Conundrum". He was called "the greatest rock drummer England ever produced" by John Bonham. In a comment on his drumming for the Jethro Tull albums he said; "I've always admired people who invent—and on a percussion level, I admire inventors of rhythm. I tried to strive for that in Tull, but now I go to great lengths to advise the drummers in the bands I'm managing not to play anything like I used to play in Tull, because it was so busy and over-the-top."[6]


With Jethro Tull[edit]

With Kerry Livgren[edit]

With Robert Plant[edit]

With Yngwie Malmsteen[edit]

With John Miles[edit]

With Jimmy Page[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Barriemore Barlow". Jethro Tull. 10 September 1949. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
  2. ^ "Ministry of Information". Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  3. ^ "Jethro Tull Press: Modern Drummer, December 1990". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
  4. ^ "(February 2008) Smokey Bastard Blog". 18 February 2008. Retrieved 2 October 2011.
  5. ^ "Ministry of Information". Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  6. ^ "(December 1990) The Drummers of Jethro Tull in ''Modern Drummer''". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 2 October 2011.

External links[edit]