Heavy Horses

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Heavy Horses
Studio album by
Released10 April 1978 (US)
21 April 1978 (UK)
RecordedMay 1977-January 1978
StudioMaison Rouge Studio, Fulham, London [1]
GenreFolk rock, progressive rock, hard rock
ProducerIan Anderson
Jethro Tull chronology
Repeat – The Best of Jethro Tull – Vol II
Heavy Horses
Bursting Out
Singles from
Heavy Horses
  1. "Moths"
    Released: 1978

Heavy Horses is the eleventh studio album by British progressive rock band Jethro Tull, released on 10 April 1978. It is considered the second album in a trilogy of folk-rock albums by Jethro Tull, although folk music's influence is evident on a great number of Jethro Tull releases. The album abandons much of the folk lyrical content typical of the previous studio album, Songs from the Wood (1977), in exchange for a more realist perspective on the changing world - the album is dedicated to the "indigenous working ponies and horses of Great Britain".[2] Likewise, the band sound is harder and tighter. The third album in the folk-rock trilogy is Stormwatch (1979). An expanded, five-disk version was released on 2 March 2018.[3]


Produced by Ian Anderson and recorded and engineered by Robin Black in London, Heavy Horses marks the last Jethro Tull studio album with full participation of bass player John Glascock. Anderson stated that the recording of the album came at a time when other artists were moving towards the new trends in music, and the band decided they did not want "to appear as if we were trying to slip into the post-punk coattails that were worn by The Stranglers or The Police [...] They were bands that were seen as being part of the punk world, but they weren't".[2]

Musical style and themes[edit]

Heavy Horses bares more earthly and prosaic themes compared to its predecessor. Songs about the conformist view of daily life ("Journeyman"), or dedicated to Anderson's dog ("Rover") and cat ("...And the Mouse Police Never Sleeps"), or even another one for his new son, James ("No Lullaby"). However, an element already present in Songs from The Wood, Heavy Horses served as a discourse on transience and disappearing worlds. The title track - one of two complex suites on the record - is compared by Anderson to an "equestrian Aqualung ". Other tracks, such as "Acres Wild" and "Weathercock", works as a plea for better days ahead. But, alongside the changes on themes, the music went much harder, too. The mini-epic of the title track flowing from a piano ballad to a fiddle-fest (of Curved Air's Darryl Way) to full gallop, is a great example of the album's style as a whole. "No Lullaby" rushes from a crushing Martin Barre riff as "Weathercock" starts full folk, to add progressive rock flavours. Barre declared that " Songs From The Wood and Heavy Horses are two of the best albums from my time in Jethro Tull".[2]


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[4]
Rolling Stone(favourable)[5]
Melody Maker(unfavourable)[6]
Sputnik Music4.5/5 stars[7]

Rolling Stone's contemporary review was positive, calling the instrumental arrangements lavish and stating that Heavy Horses and the folk genre, as a follow up to Songs From the Wood, suited Jethro Tull perfectly.[5]

AllMusic calls Heavy Horses one of the prettiest records of the band, praising both Martin Barre's and John Glascock's playing as Robin Black engineering and the special participation of Curved Air violinist Darryl Way.[4]


The album reached No. 19 on the Billboard 200 album chart,[4][8] [9] and peaked at No. 20 on the UK Albums Chart.[10][11]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Ian Anderson with additional material by Martin Barre and David Palmer.

Side one
1."...And the Mouse Police Never Sleeps"3:11
2."Acres Wild"3:22
3."No Lullaby"7:55
Side two
6."Rover" (The 2003 remastered CD includes alternate mix of the track)4:17
7."One Brown Mouse"3:21
8."Heavy Horses"8:58

2018 40th Anniversary New Shoes Deluxe Edition[edit]

On 2 March 2018 Jethro Tull released a five-disc ‘bookset’ version of Heavy Horses with a 96-page booklet that includes a track-by-track annotation of the album and its associated recordings by Ian Anderson. It is similar to the band's other 40th Anniversary reissues, with the first disc containing another Steven Wilson stereo remix followed by ‘associated recordings’ including seven previously unreleased tracks. The second and third discs contain 22 previously unreleased live tracks, recorded at the Festhalle in Berne Switzerland during the European leg of their 1978 Heavy Horses Tour, from 28 May 1978, remixed to stereo by Jakko Jakszyk. The set also includes DVDs.


Jethro Tull
Additional personnel
  • Darryl Wayviolin (on "Acres Wild" and "Heavy Horses")
  • Shona Anderson – photography
  • Robin Black – sound engineer
  • James Cotier – photography


  1. ^ Heavy Horses (New Shoes Edition) Booklet. Chrysalis Records.
  2. ^ a b c Hughes, Rob (2015-01-23). "Jethro Tull: keeping the folk fires burning". ClassicRock.TeamRock.com. Retrieved 2015-05-01.
  3. ^ Jethro Tull website
  4. ^ a b c Eder, Bruce. "Jethro Tull - Heavy Horses (1978) album review, credits & releases". AllMusic. Retrieved 2015-05-01.
  5. ^ a b Bloom, Michael (1978-09-21). "Jethro Tull - Heavy Horses (1978) album review". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 4 April 2009. Retrieved 2015-05-01.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  6. ^ "Jethro Tull - Heavy Horses (1978) album review on Melody Maker (15 April 1978)". TullPress.com. 1978-04-15. Retrieved 2015-05-01.
  7. ^ "Jethro Tull - Heavy Horses (1978) user reviews & opinions". SputnikMusic.com. Retrieved 2015-05-01.
  8. ^ Hannaleck, Keith (2003-08-24). "Jethro Tull - Heavy Horses (1978/2003 Remaster) album review". ProgressiveWorld.net.
  9. ^ Porter, Eric (2004-10-24). "Jethro Tull - Heavy Horses (1978/2003 Remaster) album review". ProgressiveWorld.net.
  10. ^ "Worldwide album charts of Jethro Tull albums". Tsort.info. Retrieved 2016-12-15.
  11. ^ "UK chart history Jethro Tull Heavy Horses". www.ChartStats.com. Retrieved 2011-12-14. [Dead Link]

External links[edit]