Benefit (album)

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Studio album by
Released20 April 1970 (UK)
1 May 1970 (US)
Recorded3 September 1969 – 25 February 1970
StudioMorgan Studios, London
GenreHard rock, folk rock, progressive rock
LabelChrysalis/Island (Europe)
Reprise (America, Japan and Oceania)
ProducerIan Anderson, Terry Ellis
Jethro Tull chronology
Stand Up
Singles from
  1. "Sweet Dream/17"
    Released: October 1969 (Europe)
  2. "The Witch's Promise/Teacher"
    Released: January 1970
  3. "Inside/Alive and Well and Living In (UK), Inside/A Time for Everything? (US)"
    Released: 24th April 1970 (UK)

Benefit is the third album by the British rock band 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. It was recorded at the same studio of the previous album, but the band experimented with more advanced recording techniques.[1]

Frontman Ian Anderson said that Benefit is a much darker album than the 1969 predecessor, Stand Up, owing to the pressures of an extensive U.S. tour and frustration with the music business.[2]


Guitarist Martin Barre said that Benefit was a lot easier to make than previous albums, as the success of Stand Up allowed the musicians more artistic latitude.[3]

Bassist Glenn Cornick stated that the band's intention was to capture a more "live" feeling as "I felt the last one sounded like a group of session musicians performing various songs. It was pretty cold."[4]

Benefit incorporated studio techniques such as reverse recording (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 keyboardist John Evan had 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".[5]

Musical style[edit]

Ian Anderson said that Benefit was a "guitar riff" album, recorded in a year in which artists like Cream, Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin were becoming more riff-oriented. 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".[6]

According to Martin Barre "To Cry You a Song" was a response to 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."[7]


The UK and the US release are different: the US version (with flute) of "Teacher" was placed on side two of the album and the track "Alive and Well and Living In" was excluded. In the UK "Teacher" was the B-side of the non-album single "Witch's Promise" and fluteless.[1]

In 2013 The Collector's Edition of Benefit was released. It contains bonus tracks mixed by Steven Wilson, 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 previously unseen.[8]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[9]
Robert ChristgauB−[10]
Record Collector4/5 stars[11]

Critics were generally unimpressed with Benefit upon its release. Rolling Stone called the album "lame and dumb".[12] Disc and Music Echo was also unimpressed but recognized the band's 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".[13] The Village Voice critic Robert Christgau appreciated the riffs around which all the songs were constructed, but was taken away by the lyrics that he judged hard to recall.[10]

AllMusic and Record Collector's much-later reviews were more positive in accepting the album's style. Bruce Eder stated 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."[9] Record Collector reviewer, analysing the Collector's Edition of 2013, praised the Steven Wilson remix and wrote: "Benefit forms the perfect bridge between the rolling, tumbling Tull of old and the tightly braided riffs and prickly lyrics presented by Aqualung."[11]

Track listing[edit]

1970 UK release[edit]

All music composed by Ian Anderson.

Side one
1."With You There to Help Me"6:15
2."Nothing to Say"5:10
3."Alive and Well and Living In"2:43
5."For Michael Collins, Jeffrey and Me"3:47
Side two
6."To Cry You a Song"6:09
7."A Time for Everything?"2:42
9."Play in Time"3:44
10."Sossity; You're a Woman"4:31

1970 US release[edit]

Side one
1."With You There to Help Me"6:15
2."Nothing to Say"5:10
5."For Michael Collins, Jeffrey and Me"3:47
Side two
6."To Cry You a Song"6:09
7."A Time for Everything?"2:42
9."Play in Time"3:44
10."Sossity; You're a Woman"4:31

2013 A Collector's Edition (3 Discs)[edit]


Jethro Tull
Additional musicians
  • Robin Black – engineer
  • Terry Ellis – cover design, executive producer
  • Ruan O'Lochlainn – cover design, photography


Benefit was the first million record seller from Jethro Tull.[1]


Country Organization Year Sales
USA RIAA 1970 Gold (+ 500,000) [24]


  1. ^ a b c "Jethro Tull - Benefit (May 1, 1970)". Jethro Tull Official Website: Retrieved 27 March 2016.
  2. ^ Morton, Tom (27 August 2001). "BBC Radio Scotland: Old Wild Men". Tull Retrieved 12 March 2016.
  3. ^ Wright, Jeb. "Forty Years Of Aqualung: An Interview With Jethro Tull's Martin Barre". Classic Rock Retrieved 27 March 2016.
  4. ^ Logan, Nick (21 February 1970). "Jethro Go For Live Feel On Their Next Album". New Musical Express. Retrieved 27 March 2016.
  5. ^ "A Tull Story". Down Beat. 25 June 1970. Retrieved 27 March 2016.
  6. ^ Scapelliti, Christopher (September 1999). "Tull Tales". Guitar World. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  7. ^ Rabey, Brian (May 1997). "Tull Tales". Guitar Legends. No. 22. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  8. ^ "Steven Wilson remixes Jethro Tull's 'Benefit'". Steven Wilson Official Website. 4 September 2013. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
  9. ^ a b Eder, Bruce. "Jethro Tull - Benefit review". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
  10. ^ a b "Consumer Guide Reviews:: Jethro Tull - Benefit". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 7 January 2012.
  11. ^ a b Rathbone, Oregano (December 2013). "Jethro Tull - Benefit (1970/2013 Collector's Edition, mixed by Steven Wilson, 2CD+DVD/LP)". Record Collector. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  12. ^ Shadoian, Jack (6 August 1970). "Jethro Tull - Benefit". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  13. ^ "Jethro Leaps - But Not Quite So High: Jethro Tull - Benefit (1970) album review". Disc and Music Echo. 18 April 1970. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  14. ^ "Norwegian Albums Chart: Jethro Tull – Benefit". Media Control Charts. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  15. ^ a b "Jethro Tull Official Charts (UK)". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
  16. ^ "German Albums Chart: Jethro Tull - Benefit". (in German). Media Control Charts. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  17. ^ Danish Albums Chart: Jethro Tull - Benefit
  18. ^ a b "Dutch MegaCharts: Jethro Tull - Benefit". (in Dutch). Media Control Charts. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  19. ^ a b "Benefit Billboard Albums". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  20. ^ "Italian Charts 1970 / Gli album più venduti del 1970" (in Italian). Hit Parade Retrieved 2016-04-10.
  21. ^ "Top Albums/CDs - Volume 13, No. 17, June 13, 1970 (Canada)". Library and Archives Canada. 13 June 1970. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  22. ^ "Italian Charts: Jethro Tull - Benefit". Media Control Charts. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  23. ^ "Suchen – insert Jethro Tull". (in German). Media Control Charts. Retrieved 20 March 2016.
  24. ^ "RIAA Gold & Platinum Database: search for Jethro Tull". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 24 March 2016.

External links[edit]