This Was

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This Was
Jethro Tull - This Was fron cover.jpg
Studio album by
Released25 October 1968[1]
Recorded13 June - 23 August 1968
StudioSound Techniques, Chelsea, London
LabelIsland (UK)
Reprise (US)
ProducerTerry Ellis, Jethro Tull
Jethro Tull chronology
This Was
Stand Up
Singles from This Was
  1. "A Song for Jeffrey"
    Released: September 1968 [2]

This Was is the debut studio album by the British rock band Jethro Tull, released in October 1968. Recorded at a cost of £1200, it is the only Jethro Tull album with guitarist Mick Abrahams, who was a major influence for the sound and music style of the band's first songs. When the album was released the band was already performing at the Marquee Club in London, where other successful British groups, such as the Rolling Stones and the Who, had started their careers.[1]


While vocalist Ian Anderson's creative vision largely shaped Jethro Tull's later albums, on This Was Anderson shared songwriting duties with Tull's guitarist Mick Abrahams. In part due to Abrahams' influence, the album incorporates more rhythm and blues and jazz influences than the progressive rock the band later became known for. In particular:

This Was also contains the only Jethro Tull lead vocal not performed by Ian Anderson on a studio album, in "Move on Alone". Mick Abrahams, the song's author, provided vocals; Dee Palmer provided the horn arrangement. Abrahams left Jethro Tull following the album's completion.

The song "Dharma for One", a staple of Tull's early concerts (usually incorporating an extended drum solo by Clive Bunker), was later covered by Ekseption, Pesky Gee! and The Ides of March. This song featured the "claghorn",[3] a hybrid instrument invented by Jeffrey Hammond which combined the body of a recorder, the bell of a toy trumpet and the mouthpiece of a saxophone.[4] Anderson also claims to have invented the instrument.[5]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Record Collector[7]
The Village VoiceC−[8]
The Daily VaultA[9]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music[10]

This Was received generally favourable reviews and sold well upon its release. Record Mirror thoroughly recommended the album in 1968 for being "full of excitement and emotion" and described the band as a blues ensemble "influenced by jazz music" capable of setting "the audience on fire".[11] Allen Evans of New Musical Express wrote in his review that the album "sounds good and has a lot of humour about it" and that the band "play jazz really, in a soft, appealing way, and have a bit of fun on the side with tone patterns and singing".[12] American critic Robert Christgau, on the contrary, was appalled by the success of a band that combined "the worst of Roland Kirk, Arthur Brown, and your nearest G.O. blues band."[8]

Recent reviews of the remastered edition underline the duality of Anderson and Abrahams' songwriting and stage presence, as well as the strong ties of the band to blues in their early days. Sid Smith of BBC Music wrote that "what made Tull stand out from the great-coated crowd (of touring bands) was the high-visibility of frontman Ian Anderson's on-stage Tourette's-inspired hyper-gurning and Mick Abraham's ferocious fretwork."[13] An AllMusic reviewer remarked how Jethro Tull on their vinyl debut appeared "vaguely reminiscent of the Graham Bond Organization only more cohesive, and with greater commercial sense".[6] David Davies of Record Collector reminds how "This Was only hints at the depth and majesty of the ensuing seven albums", but also wrote that "the direct, unfussy and predominantly blues-based" tracks of the original recordings and the extra tracks of the collector's edition "could well come as something of a surprise" and "be of the greatest interest to Tull aficionados."[7]

In the documentary film of the Woodstock Festival, portions of the songs "Beggar's Farm" and "Serenade to a Cuckoo" may be heard on the PA system, indicating the level of notice the album achieved in the United States. The album reached number 10 on the UK Albums Chart[14] and number 62 on the US Billboard 200.[15]

It was voted number 574 in Colin Larkin's All Time Top 1000 Albums.[16]

Track listings[edit]

Standard edition[edit]

Side one
1."My Sunday Feeling"Ian Anderson3:43
2."Some Day the Sun Won't Shine for You"Anderson2:49
3."Beggar's Farm"Mick Abrahams, Anderson4:19
4."Move on Alone"Abrahams1:58
5."Serenade to a Cuckoo" (Instrumental)Roland Kirk6:07
Side two
1."Dharma for One" (Instrumental)Anderson, Clive Bunker4:15
2."It's Breaking Me Up"Anderson5:04
3."Cat's Squirrel" (Instrumental)Traditional, arranged by Abrahams5:42
4."A Song for Jeffrey"Anderson3:22
5."Round" (Instrumental)Anderson, Abrahams, Bunker, Glenn Cornick, Terry Ellis1:03
Total length:38:22
  • 1973 cassette version has same track order, but on opposite sides.
  • Sides one and two were combined as tracks 1–10 on CD reissues.
2001 remaster bonus tracks
11."One for John Gee"Abrahams2:06
12."Love Story"Anderson3:06
13."Christmas Song"Anderson3:06
Total length:46:40
  • The 2001 remastered CD added three bonus tracks (which had been on the 20 Years of Jethro Tull box-set) and extensive liner notes.
2018 bonus tracks
11."Love Story"Anderson 
12."A Christmas Song"Anderson 
13."Serenade to a Cuckoo (Take 1)" (previously unreleased)Roland Kirk 
14."Some Day the Sun Won't Shine for You (faster version)" (previously unreleased)Anderson 
15."Move on Alone (flute version)" (previously unreleased)Abrahams 
16."Ultimate Confusion" (previously unreleased)Anderson, Abrahams, Cornick and Bunker 
  • The 2018 edition CD added six bonus tracks (including four previously unreleased tracks).

40th anniversary collectors' edition (2008)[edit]

A deluxe, two-CD 40th anniversary edition was released in 2008. It contains the original mono version, a stereo version remixed from the original four-track session tapes, non-LP single tracks and the BBC sessions recorded by the band in 1968 for John Peel's "Top Gear".

Disc one: Original Mono LP (Remastered) & BBC Sessions
1."My Sunday Feeling"3:43
2."Some Day the Sun Won't Shine for You"2:49
3."Beggar's Farm"4:23
4."Move on Alone"2:00
5."Serenade to a Cuckoo" (Instrumental)6:07
6."Dharma for One" (Instrumental)4:13
7."It's Breaking Me Up"5:01
8."Cat's Squirrel" (Instrumental)5:40
9."A Song for Jeffrey"3:26
10."Round" (Instrumental)0:59
11."So Much Trouble" (John Peel Session: 23 July 1968)3:19
12."My Sunday Feeling" (John Peel Session: 23 July 1968)3:49
13."Serenade to a Cuckoo" (John Peel Session: 23 July 1968 - instrumental)3:37
14."Cat's Squirrel" (John Peel Session: 23 July 1968 - instrumental)4:38
15."A Song for Jeffrey" (John Peel Session: 23 July 1968)3:13
16."Love Story" (John Peel Session: 5 November 1968)3:04
17."Stormy Monday" (John Peel Session: 5 November 1968, written by T-Bone Walker)4:09
18."Beggar's Farm" (John Peel Session: 5 November 1968)3:22
19."Dharma for One" (John Peel Session: 5 November 1968 - instrumental)3:46
Disc two: New Stereo Album Mix + Additional New Stereo Mixes & Original Mono Recordings (Remastered)
1."My Sunday Feeling"3:42
2."Some Day the Sun Won't Shine for You"2:47
3."Beggar's Farm"4:21
4."Move on Alone"1:57
5."Serenade to a Cuckoo" (Instrumental)6:05
6."Dharma for One" (Instrumental)4:13
7."It's Breaking Me Up"5:03
8."Cat's Squirrel" (Instrumental)5:39
9."A Song for Jeffrey"3:23
10."Round" (Instrumental)1:00
11."Love Story" (New Stereo Mix)3:05
12."Christmas Song" (New Stereo Mix)3:13
13."Sunshine Day" (A-side of single MGM 1384 released in February 1968, original mono recording)2:26
14."One for John Gee" (B-side of "Song for Jeffrey" single, original mono recording, instrumental)2:05
15."Love Story" (A-side of single WIP 6048 released in November 1968 on Island, original mono recording)3:05
16."Christmas Song" (B-side of "Love Story" single, original mono recording)3:05
Total length:126:30

The 50th Anniversary Edition consisted of 3 CDs as well as one DVD.


Jethro Tull

Additional musicians



Chart (1968) Peak
UK Albums (OCC)[17] 10
US Billboard 200[18] 62
Chart (2018) Peak
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[19] 181
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[20] 28
Scottish Albums (OCC)[21] 41
Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)[22] 78


  1. ^ a b "Jethro Tull Discography: This Was (October 25, 1968)". Archived from the original on 2 May 2016. Retrieved 25 October 2022.
  2. ^ "Jethro Tull singles".
  3. ^ "The Dharma for One Claghorn". Rhythm in Gold. 26 October 2012. Retrieved 12 March 2016.
  4. ^ Nollen, Scott Allen (15 December 2001). Jethro Tull: A History of the Band, 1968-2001. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company. p. 36. ISBN 978-0786411016. Retrieved 12 March 2016.
  5. ^ Morton, Tom (27 August 2001). "BBC Radio Scotland: Old Wild Men". Tull Retrieved 12 March 2016.
  6. ^ a b Eder, Bruce. Jethro Tull - This Was (1968) album review at AllMusic. Retrieved 27 March 2011.
  7. ^ a b Davies, David (June 2008). "Jethro Tull - This Was: Collector's Edition (1968/Remastered 2008)". Record Collector. No. 350. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
  8. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (14 August 1969). "Consumer Guide (3) (Album Reviews)". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved 5 July 2013.
  9. ^ Thelen, Christopher (2019). "The Daily Vault Music Reviews : This Was". Retrieved 29 January 2019.
  10. ^ Larkin, Colin (2007). Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0857125958.
  11. ^ "Jethro Tull LP Sets Fans on Fire". Record Mirror. Tull Retrieved 16 October 2019.
  12. ^ Evans, Allen (26 October 1968). "This Was: Jethro Tull". NME. Tull Archived from the original on 14 May 2011. Retrieved 29 March 2011.
  13. ^ Smith, Sid (2008). "Jethro Tull - This Was review". BBC Music. BBC. Retrieved 12 March 2016.
  14. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 282. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  15. ^ "This Was Billboard Albums". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 13 March 2016.
  16. ^ Colin Larkin, ed. (2000). All Time Top 1000 Albums (3rd ed.). Virgin Books. p. 194. ISBN 0-7535-0493-6.
  17. ^ "Jethro Tull | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  18. ^ "Jethro Tull Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  19. ^ " – Jethro Tull – This Was" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  20. ^ " – Jethro Tull – This Was" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 16 November 2018.
  21. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  22. ^ "Top 100 Albumes – Semana 46: del 9.11.2018 al 15.11.2018" (PDF) (in Spanish). Productores de Música de España. Retrieved 21 November 2018.

External links[edit]