Rock Island (album)

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Rock Island
Jethro Tull Rock Island.jpg
Studio album by Jethro Tull
Released 21 August 1989 UK
Recorded Early 1989
Genre Progressive rock, hard rock
Length 50:21
Label Chrysalis
Producer Jethro 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
Source Rating
AllMusic 3.5/5 stars[1]
Classic Rock 8/10 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 Martin 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
No. Title Length
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
No. Title Length
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
  • Martin 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. 
  3. ^ "Rock Island - Jethro Tull | Awards". AllMusic. 1989-10-13. Retrieved 2015-05-01.