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Classic Album Art


Jethro Tull - Thick as a Brick

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Classic Album Art

release - 1972
album art - Julian Stone

cover front

Jethro Tull’s 1972 album Thick as a Brick is not only on musical and lyrical level a masterpiece but also on visually and artistic level.

The original LP cover was designed as a parody of a multiple-paged small-town English 12 pages newspaper: 'The St. Cleve Chronicle & Linwell Advertiser' with articles, competitions, adverts, and so on. To read the full paper you had to unfold the cover first. Parts of the newspaper do relate to the music, but there are also a lot of inside puns, cleverly hidden continuing jokes (such as the experimental non-rabbit) and even a little naughty connect-the-dots children's activity. 

From this perspective you can consider the newspaper as a separate work of art.

cover back

Cover Back

the booklet/newspaper

Cover Back

Parts of the newspaper do indeed relate to the music and the lyrics in a subtle way, such as a surprisingly frank review of the album itself. It is written by front man Ian Anderson himself under the pseudonym of Julian Stone. The name 'Thick as a brick' is an English colloquialism meaning, roughly, 'full of shit'. This title refers to another important layer that connects the music, the lyrics with the newspapers' front page story about Gerald "Little Milton" Bostock..

little Milton

Little Milton

The newspaper also includes the entire lyrics (printed on page 7), which is presented as a poem written by an 8-year-old literary prodigy, Gerald 'Little Milton' Bostock, whose disqualification from a poetry contest is the focus of the story.

This article claims that although Bostock initially won the contest with 'Thick as a Brick' the judges' decision was repealed after a multitude of protests and threats concerning the offensive nature of the poem, furthered by allegations of the boy's psychological instability.

One of the reasons behind this psychological instability is the other article called 'Little Milton in School-Girl Pregnancy Row'. In this article Gerald is accused by his friend, fourteen-year-old Julia Fealey, of being the father of the child she is now carrying. Julia is the young girl pictured on the cover who is subtly lifting her skirt.

Noticing al these subtle details, and looking againat the on first sight bourgeois composition of this famous photo, makes the story even more fake and the cover art of the album even more superb. From this point of view 'Thick as a Brick' is a big complaint to everything in society that satisfies the mainstream without thinking (even 'wise men' such as judges and psychiatrists). In fact; this elevates the entire album into a concept album.  

The lyrics of part 2 end with these words:

'So you ride yourselves over the fields and you make all your animal deals and your wise men don't know how it feels to be thick as a brick.'



Jethro Tull were a British rock group, formed in Luton, Bedfordshire, in 1967. Initially playing blues rock, they developed their sound to incorporate elements of British folk music and hard rock to forge a progressive rock signature. The band was led by vocalist/flautist/guitarist Ian Anderson. Their first commercial success was the folk-tinged blues album Stand Up (1969), which reached No. 1 in the UK charts. Their musical style shifted in the direction of progressive rock with the albums Aqualung, Thick as a Brick and A Passion Play, and shifted again to hard rock mixed with folk rock with Songs from the Wood and Heavy Horses.

The last works released as a group were in 2003, though the band continued to tour until 2011. In April 2014, as he was concentrating on his solo career, Anderson said that Jethro Tull were finished. Jethro Tull have sold over 60 million albums worldwide.

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