Jethro Tull Albums Ranked (rated from worst to best)

Jethro Tull Albums Ranked (rated from worst to best)

Jethro Tull were formed in Blackpool, Lancashire, England, UK in 1967 and started out as a blues rock and jazz fusion band. They soon incorporated classical, hard rock and English folk music to create a progressive rock sound. The band’s leader, only constant member and primary composer is Ian Anderson who is the lead vocalist and multi-instrumentalist.

Best Jethro Tull Albums Of All Time

Over nearly 6 decades Jethro Tull has been making music and in that time they have recorded 22 studio albums. Which gives us plenty to choose from when compiling these rankings. If you disagree with our rankings feel free to let us know in the comments and tell us where you would have them ranked and why.

22. Rock Island (1989)

The previous album to “Rock Island”, “Crest Of A Knave” earned Jethro Tull a grammy for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance. “Rock Island” follows a similar formula just, not so well. Which is why it ranks so low on our rankings.

21. Under Wraps (1984)

The use of electric drums just doesn’t really work on this album. Many fans hated this when it was first released and in all honesty it hasn’t improved with age. The only saving grace is “Lap Of Luxury” which was released as a single and reached number 30 in the UK singles charts.

20. J-Tull Dot Com (1999)

There seems to be a theme running through these lower ranked albums, which is they’re not as good as their predecessors. By which we mean the album released before each of these 3 albums were far better.

19. Catfish Rising (1991)

We like the bluesy sound that many parts of this album feature and in many ways this album works well, just not as well as some of those to come in our rankings. Ian Anderson’s voice takes on a Mark Knopfler sounding style at times which is all to the good. Plus Martin Barre’s solos have a great feel about them too.

18. A (1980)

This was the album that saw Jethro Tull fully embrace the synthesised sound. Which just doesn’t work with all of the other elements of the band. Which is a shame because there are a few great tracks on this album including; “The Pine Marten’s Jig” and “Fylingdale Flyer”.

17. Crest of a Knave (1987)

This was their first album for 3 years due to a throat infection suffered by Ian Anderson. Following the bad press and poor chart results of “Under Wraps”, “Crest Of The Knave” took on a heavier rock sound. This paid off for the band as it won them a grammy for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance 1989. 

16. The Jethro Tull Christmas Album (2003)

This was one of their best albums for years, not Chrstmassy in the traditional sense of the word, but a good album nonetheless. In many ways that’s a good thing because it means it can be listened to at any time of year and not just Chrstmas.

15. War Child (1974)

“War Child” saw a return to the short track concept album which the band departed from on their previous albums “Thick As A Brick” and “A Passion Play”. Stand out tracks on this album include; “Ladies” and “Back-Door Angels”.

14. Too Old to Rock ’n’ Roll: Too Young to Die! (1976)

This album tells the tale of an ageing rock star who struggles to keep relevant during changing times. This was ironically one of their better albums in many ways. With stand out tracks including “Salamander” and “The Checkered Flag”.

13. Roots to Branches (1995)

This was the album made after Anderson’s trip to India which explains the Eastern influence. This album has elements of jazz and progressive rock which is why it was seen as somewhat of a comeback album when it was released.

12. The Broadsword And The Beast (1982)

This saw the band heading back to their bluesy roots but still incorporating the electronic synth sound. The final track of the album, “Cheerio” was played as a final encore at Jethro Tull concerts for years to come.  Outstanding tracks include; “Flying Colours” and “Watching Me, Watching You”.

11. Stormwatch (1979)

This album is mainly about the environment and living by the seaside. Inspired by the fact that Ian Anderson had just bought a property on the Isle of Skye. Standout tracks include; “Orion” and “Dark Ages”.

10. The Zealot Gene (2022)

Proving that they still have it, whatever it is? Jethro Tull released “The Zealot Gene” on January 28th 2022. This album entered the UK charts at number 9 making it their first top ten album since 1972. Stand out tracks include; “Mrs Tibbets” and “Shoshana Sleeping”.

9. A Passion Play (1973)

When it was released “A Passion Play” received bad press. In retrospect it’s a complex album and deserves revisiting. It was, after all, a commercial success. The album contains no tracks as such as each track contributes to a side. 

8. Stand Up (1969)

This was their second studio album and the first to feature Martin Barre on guitar. The album reached number one on the UK album charts and number 20 on the Billboard 200 in the US. A very bluesy album which also includes a jazz-like version of Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Bourree in E minor”.

7. Benefit (1970)

This was one of their heavier earlier albums once it got going and it gave us a taste of what was to come in the future. Stand out tracks include; ”For Michael Collins, Jeffrey and Me”, “To Cry You A Song” and “Son”.

6. This Was (1968)

It always seemed cliched to place any band’s early work near the top of the rankings but that’s where they often produced some of their best works. Whether it’s because their first works are untainted by record company executives after their pound of commercial flesh, or whether the band has their best ideas when they’re fresh. Whatever it is or was, this was their first album and still sounds great to us.

5. Minstrel In The Gallery (1975)

This album often gets overlooked, almost lost in the mix, and to be fair with such a large back catalogue it’s not that surprising. Stand out tracks include; “Cold Wind In Valhalla” and “Baker Street Muse”.

4. Heavy Horses (1978)

This album describes country living and more specifically rural life and animals. A song that perfectly illustrates this is “And The Mouse Police Never Sleeps” which is a song about Ian Anderson’s cat Mistletoe. Stand out tracks include; “Acres Wild” and “ Heavy Horses”.

3. Songs From The Wood (1977)

This album is all about folk music, but rocked up folk music. Stand out tracks include; the title track and “Cup Of Wonder”. But the whole album is well worth a listen. 

2. Aqualung (1971)

Jethro Tull at their almost best is the only way to describe “Aqualung” which is a concept album exploring the “distinction between religion and God”. The stand out tracks include; “Locomotive Breath” and “Hymn 43” which were also the two single releases from the album.

1. Thick As A Brick (1972)

This was their 5th studio album and is a parody of a concept album. This was their first completely prog rock album and it worked so well. If at first you don’t like this album, go back and listen to it again, as it grows on you. Stand out tracks include; The whole album! 

All Jethro Tull Albums In Chronological Order

AlbumYear
This Was1968
Stand Up1969
Benefit1970
Aqualung1971
Thick As A Brick1972
A Passion Play1973
War Child1974
Minstrel In The Gallery1975
Too Old to Rock ‘n’ Roll: Too Young to Die!1976
Songs from the Wood 1977
Heavy Horses1978
Stormwatch1979
A1980
The Broadsword and the Beast 1982
Under Wraps1984
Crest Of The Knave1987
Rock Island1989
Catfish Rising1991
Roots To Branches1995
J-Tull Dot Com 1999
The Jethro Tull Christmas Album2003
The Zealot Gene2022

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best selling Jethro Tull album?

The best selling Jethro Tull album is “Aqualung” (1971) which has sold more than 7 million copies since its release.

What is the newest Jethro Tull album?

The newest Jethro Tull album is “The Zealot Gene” which was released on January 28th 2022.

What is the first Jethro Tull album?

The first Jethro Tull album was “This Was” which was released on October 4th 1968 in the UK and February 3rd 1969 in the US.

What is Jethro Tull’s most famous song?

Jethro Tull’s most famous song is “Locomotive Breath” taken from the album “Aqualung” and released as a single on March 30th 1971.

When did Jethro Tull start?

Jethro Tull were formed in Blackpool, Lancashire, UK in 1967.

What genre is Jethro Tull?

Jethro Tull’s genres are; Folk rock, progressive rock, hard rock and blues rock.

Who are the members of Jethro Tull?

The members of Jethro Tull are; Ian Anderson, Joe Parrish, John O’Hara, Scott Hammond and David Goodier. Past members include; Clive Bunker, Mick Abrahams, Martin Barre, Glenn Cornick, Jeffrey Hammond, John Evan, John Glascock, Barriemore Barlow, Dave Pegg, Dee Palmer, Eddie Jobson, Mark Craney, Gerry Conway, Peter-John Vettese, Maartin Allcock, Doane Perry, Jonathan Noyce, Andrew Giddings and Florian Opahle.

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