Rock Island (album)

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Rock Island
Jethro Tull Rock Island.jpg
Studio album by
Released21 August 1989 UK
RecordedEarly 1989
GenreProgressive rock, hard rock
ProducerJethro Tull
Jethro Tull chronology
20 Years of Jethro Tull: Highlights
Rock Island
Live at Hammersmith '84
Singles from
Rock Island
  1. "Kissing Willie"
    Released: 1988
  2. "Heavy Water"
    Released: 1988
  3. "Another Christmas Song"
    Released: 1989
  4. "The Rattlesnake Trail"
    Released: 1989
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[1]
Classic Rock8/10 stars[2]

Rock Island is the 17th studio album by the British rock group Jethro Tull, released in 1989. The album continued the hard rock direction the band took on the previous effort, Crest of a Knave (1987). The line-up now included Ian Anderson, Martin Barre, Dave Pegg and drummer Doane Perry in his first full recording with the band, although he was already a member of Jethro Tull since 1984. Without a permanent keyboard player, the role was shared by Fairport Convention's Maartin Allcock and former Tull member Peter Vettese.

Rock Island went Gold in the UK, with good sales also in Germany, where it peaked at No. 5. There were good sales also for the "Kissing Willie" single, that reached No. 6.[3]

The staging on the 1989 tour supporting Rock Island featured projected silhouettes of lithe dancers during the song "Kissing Willie", ending with an image that bordered on pornographic. The song "Big Riff and Mando" reflects life on the road for the relentlessly touring musicians, giving a wry account of the theft of Barre's prized mandolin by a stage-struck fan.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Ian Anderson.

Side one
1."Kissing Willie"3:32
2."The Rattlesnake Trail"4:02
3."Ears of Tin"4:55
4."Undressed to Kill"5:25
5."Rock Island"6:54
Side two
1."Heavy Water"4:12
2."Another Christmas Song"3:32
3."The Whaler's Dues"7:53
4."Big Riff and Mando"5:58
5."Strange Avenues"4:10
  • The bonus tracks were recorded live in Zurich, Switzerland on 13 October 1989. They had previously been released on the UK CD single of "Another Christmas Song".


Jethro Tull
Additional personnel
  • Maartin Allcock – keyboards (on tracks 1 & 10)
  • Peter Vettese – additional keyboards (on tracks 3, 4, 5 & 6)
  • Jim Gibson - illustrations
  • Mark Tucker - mixing


  1. ^ Ruhlmann, William. Rock Island at AllMusic
  2. ^ Ewing, Jerry (December 2006). "Jethro Tull Rock Island". Classic Rock. p. 99. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  3. ^ "Rock Island - Jethro Tull | Awards". AllMusic. 13 October 1989. Retrieved 1 May 2015.