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|Single by Jethro Tull|
|from the album Aqualung|
|Recorded||December 1970 - February 1971 at Island Studios, London|
|Genre||Hard rock, Progressive rock|
|Jethro Tull singles chronology|
|Aqualung track listing|
"Locomotive Breath" is a song by the British progressive rock band Jethro Tull from their 1971 album, Aqualung. It is notable for a long bluesy piano introduction (particularly during live performances) and its flute solo by flautist Ian Anderson. The song receives frequent airplay on classic rock radio stations.
"Locomotive Breath" was recorded in a rather unusual manner for the time: the entire track was pieced together from overdubs; most of the parts of the song were recorded separately. Ian Anderson did his normal flute and vocal parts in addition to bass drum, hi-hat, acoustic guitar and some electric guitar parts. John Evan's piano parts were then recorded; Clive Bunker added the rest of the drums and Martin Barre finished the electric guitar parts. All of these recordings were then overdubbed onto each other because Anderson was finding it difficult to communicate his musical ideas about the song to the other band members.
The composition is designed to resemble a train chugging. Anderson occasionally says a word like "Oh-OH!" in the style of "All aboard?!", as shouted by train conductors.
The term "locomotive breath" refers to the steam exhaust from a steam locomotive. The song's lyrics use the imagery of an impending and unavoidable train wreck as an allegorical portrayal of a man's life falling apart - or even death itself, as Ian Anderson has put it. Despite this, elements of humour are present, as Anderson often includes in his lyrics. The lyrics borrow heavily from Friedrich Dürrenmatt's surrealistic short story The Tunnel.
"Locomotive Breath" was covered by Rabbitt on their 1975 album Boys Will Be Boys, by Indian psychedelic rock band Atomic Forest in 1972, by Italo disco outfit Cat Gang in 1983, by W.A.S.P. on the reissue of their 1989 album The Headless Children (as a bonus track), Styx on their 2005 album Big Bang Theory, and Helloween on their 1999 album Metal Jukebox. A Swedish rock band, formed in 1995 by Janne Stark, takes its name from the song.
- Ian Anderson - Flute, Lead Vocals, Bass Drum, Hi-Hat, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar
- John Evan - Piano
- Martin Barre - Electric Guitar
- Jeffrey Hammond - Bass Guitar
- Clive Bunker - Drums
- Living in the Past
- M.U. - The Best of Jethro Tull
- Bursting Out (Live)
- A Classic Case
- 20 Years of Jethro Tull (Live)
- Rock Island (Only as a bonus track on the 2006 remastered edition)
- Live at Hammersmith '84 (Live)
- Original Masters
- Through the Years (Live)
- A Little Light Music (Live)
- Living with the Past (Live)
- 20 Years of Jethro Tull: Highlights
- The Extended Versions
- 36 All-Time Greatest Hits
- The Best of Jethro Tull
- The Very Best of Jethro Tull
- Aqualung Live
- 100% Classic Rock (The Pure Gold Collection)
- Live At Montreux 2003 (Jethro Tull) (Live)
- Ian Anderson Plays the Orchestral Jethro Tull (Live)
It is also on the video Slipstream.
- "Jethro Tull Press: Disc & Music Echo, 20 March 1971". www.tullpress.com. Retrieved 2016-01-15.
- George-Warren, Holly (editor) (2001). The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll (2005 revised and updated ed.). Fireside. ISBN 978-0-7432-9201-6.
- Levy, Joe (editor) (2005). Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (First Paperback ed.). Wenner Books. ISBN 978-1-932958-61-4.
- Roberts, David (editor) (2005). British Hit Singles & Albums (18 ed.). Guinness World Records Limited. ISBN 978-1-904994-00-8.
- Jethro Tull. Aqualung. CD-ROM. 1998. Chrysalis Records. Originally released as an LP 1971; Remastered with more material 1998.