Night Music: Jethro Tull, “Teacher”

Tom reminded me today with his Tull post that I had been looking at Tull a month or two ago, with an eye toward Teacher, their first big hit in the States.

It’s a terrific song that works as rocker, as arty noodling, as spiritual quest and intimation of hedonic paradise, plus it’s hook-y as hell. All pied piper material for a certain type of 14 year, the type that was me. The problem is that there is no story, except the sound of this tune at peak volume in my headphones, over and over and over again, over a period of time in 1970 and 1971, while I thought about the government and the girl next door and that other girl in the next neighborhood and the war. Plus photography and basketball, the Knicks were kings, and playing basketball. Teacher made it all sound great.

I never saw them live. I retrofitted Stand Up into my collection and liked it, but Aqualung and Thick as a Brick, while they had some good riffs, also had too much flute, and too much canned pretension. And they may have represented the first time a band I felt like I’d discovered, not really but among my friends, went on to become something that lost its cool by becoming even more popular.

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