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.[2]

Anderson has said that Benefit is a much darker album than the predecessor, Stand Up, owing to the pressures of an extensive U.S. tour and frustration with the music business.[3]


Martin Barre has said that Benefit was a lot easier to make than previous albums as the success of Stand Up allowed the musicians more artistic latitude.[4]

Bassist Glenn Cornick stated that the 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."[5]

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".[6]

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".[7]

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."[8]


The UK and the US release are different: the US version (with flute) of "Teacher" was placed in the B-side of the record and the track "Alive and Well and Living In" was released as a single instead. In the UK "Teacher" was a single and fluteless.[9]

In 2013 The A 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.[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'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".[16]

AllMusic's much-later review was more positive in accepting the album' 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."[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 A Collector's Edition of 2013 reach the Nº 48 in sales of the Top Pop Catalog.[19]

Track listing[edit]

1970 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

1970 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

2013 A Collector's Edition[edit]

  • The DVD of audio only contains the surround sound mix of Benefit (in DTS & Dolby Digital 5.1 & stereo versions), in UK and US running orders.[20]


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". 1 May 1970. Retrieved 1 May 2015. 
  3. ^ "Jethro Tull Press: BBC Radio Scotland, 27 August 2001". 27 August 2001. Retrieved 1 May 2015. 
  4. ^ "CRR Interview - Forty Years Of Aqualung: An Interview With Jethro Tull's Martin Barre". Retrieved 1 May 2015. 
  5. ^ "Jethro Tull Press: NME, 21 February 1970". 21 February 1970. Retrieved 1 May 2015. 
  6. ^ "Jethro Tull Press: Down Beat, 25 June 1970". 25 June 1970. Retrieved 1 May 2015. 
  7. ^ "Jethro Tull Press: Guitar World, September 1999". Retrieved 1 May 2015. 
  8. ^ "Jethro Tull Press: Guitar Legends, May-June 1997". Retrieved 1 May 2015. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Steven Wilson remixes Jethro Tull’s ‘Benefit’". 4 September 2013. Retrieved 1 May 2015. 
  11. ^ [1] Archived 14 November 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ [2]
  13. ^ "Jethro Tull Press: Disc & Music Echo, 18 April 1970 (2)". 18 April 1970. Retrieved 1 May 2015. 
  14. ^ "Jethro Tull - Benefit (album review 2)". Sputnikmusic. 13 May 2006. Retrieved 1 May 2015. 
  15. ^ Shadoian, Jack (6 August 1970). "Jethro Tull Benefit Album Review". Retrieved 1 May 2015. 
  16. ^ "Jethro Tull Press: Disc & Music Echo, 18 April 1970 (2)". 18 April 1970. Retrieved 1 May 2015. 
  17. ^ Bruce Eder. "Benefit - Jethro Tull | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 1 May 2015. 
  18. ^ [3] Archived 7 January 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ "Benefit - Jethro Tull | Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 1 May 2015. 
  20. ^

External links[edit]