Date: April 23, 1976 Category:

Too Old to Rock ‘n’ Roll: Too Young to Die! (1976) is the ninth studio album released by Jethro Tull.

It is widely considered a concept album. The remastered 2002 CD version contains two bonus tracks that were cut from the original LP, “Small Cigar” and “Strip Cartoon”. This is the first Tull album to feature John Glascock on bass and backing vocals.

The original idea for the album was to be a rock musical, similar to the Kinks’ mid-1970s outputs e.g., Preservation Act 1 (1973), Preservation Act 2 (1974) and Schoolboys in Disgrace (1975). It would follow an ageing and retired rock star named Ray Lomas as he wins money on a decadent quiz show, but finds that society has changed so much that, with no one left like him any more, he has no way of enjoying his money the way he did in the 1950s. He then decides to commit suicide via motorcycle crash but fails and lands himself in a hospital in a coma for an undetermined amount of time.

When he awakes he discovers society has changed again, and his style of dress and music are now popular again. In addition, the advanced medicine he is treated with after disfiguring his face and damaging his body in the crash makes him twenty years younger. He has become an overnight sensation with the young kids who now try to dress and act like him.

However, much of this story is only explained in a cartoon strip included with the album. The actual score of the album does not follow the strip exactly, leaving out details or, in some cases, changing the plot.

Jethro Tull frontman Ian Anderson has always said this album was not meant to be autobiographical of him as an ageing songwriter, since he was young at the time. He says the point of the album was to illustrate how his style of music may go out of popularity with every other fashion and fad, but he is determined that if he sticks to it, everything comes back around and the style will rise again.

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All songs written and composed by Ian Anderson.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. “Quizz Kid” 5:09
2. “Crazed Institution” 4:48
3. “Salamander” 2:51
4. “Taxi Grab” 3:54
5. “From a Dead Beat to an Old Greaser” 4:09
Side two
No. Title Length
1. “Bad-Eyed and Loveless” 2:12
2. “Big Dipper” 3:35
3. “Too Old to Rock ‘n’ Roll: Too Young to Die” 5:44
4. “Pied Piper” 4:32
5. “The Chequered Flag (Dead or Alive)” 5:32

 

Jethro Tull:

Ian Anderson – vocals, acoustic guitar, flute, harmonica, occasional electric guitar and percussion
Martin Barre – electric guitar
John Evan – pianos, keyboards
Barriemore Barlow – drums, percussion
John Glascock – bass guitar, vocals

Guest musicians:

David Palmer – saxophone on track 5, piano on track 11
Maddy Prior – backing vocals on track 8
Angela Allen – backing vocals on tracks 2 & 7

Orchestrations by David Palmer.

Orchestra conducted by David Palmer.

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