The 10 albums that changed Ian Anderson’s life

by Peter Lindblad

Not surprisingly, Ian Anderson, the charismatic leader of British progressive-rock folkies Jethro Tull, has eclectic tastes in music. The 10 albums that changed his life bear that out.

Captain Beefheart: Trout Mask Replica
Don Van Vliet and his Magic Band were our support act in 1972. We were fans of the man and the Trout Mask Replica album already and the songs from Trout Mask and the then-current The Spotlight Kid album were the basis of their show with Tull. Don’s pseudo poetry and näive musical inventiveness are sorely missed.

The Graham Bond Organization: The Sound of ’65
This was the seminal album for anyone in the U.K. nurturing early jazz-rock pretensions. Two pre-Cream members (Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker) plus the renegade jazzman Bond give sturdy renditions of classic jazz, blues and home-grown compositions which fired a generation of Brit bands of the late ’60s/early ’70s.

Blind Faith: Blind Faith
I was living in Kentish Town, London when I heard this, just at the the time when Tull was getting started. They gave me the courage to develop improvisation and extended song development.

Roy Harper: Come Out Fighting Genghis Khan
Roy was an ex-Blackpool contemporary folk musician, having escaped earlier than I did. He showed me the way to acoustic guitar and songwriting in a more poetic and enigmatic way.

J.B. Lenoir: Alabama Blues
Re-released these days as Passionate Blues. Taught me the difference between white man’s blues and black man’s blues. Lenoir sang about race riots, lynchings, beatings and the plight of black Americans in the early ’60s.

Beethoven: The Ninth Symphony
I first really took notice of [this] in the 1971 [Stanley] Kubrick classic, “A Clockwork Orange.” The scherzo was played on early synthesisers by the then Walter (later Wendy) Carlos. I wasn’t too keen on the synths but got hold of the Berlin Philharmonic’s version conducted by Von Karajan on the Deutsche Grammophon label. At the time, I was buying a Spanish motocross racer bike, the Ossa Phantom, and so that machine and Beethoven were forever oddly linked in my memory.

Mose Allison: Swingin’ Machine
Mose was a favorite of early R&B and jazz/blues pioneers in the U.K. But this album, much more sophisticated and featuring a small brass contingent, lit up my life as a teenager with laconic vocals and post-be-bop jazz credentials.

Led Zeppelin: Led Zeppelin
This album showed us that you could be a huge success in the U.S.A. without singles, hype and showbiz clout. The music stood and still stands up for itself.

Jimi Hendrix: Are You Experienced?
A lesson in sadness and madness! Jimi was the wild Eric of his day, and we played  alongside him on a few occasions until his tragic death following the Isle Of Wight Fest in 1970.

John Mayall: Bluesbreakers With Eric Clapton
This was the record which persuaded me to give up notions of guitar-playing excellence and toot the flute instead.

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