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How Jethro Tull chose their band name according to Ian Anderson

Ian Anderson

Classic Rock

How Jethro Tull chose their band name according to Ian Anderson

In an interview with BBC Radio, Jethro Tull leader Ian Anderson recalled how the band’s name was created. The musician said that during the first weeks he had no idea about the name’s background story.


How Jethro Tull chose their band name according to Ian Anderson:

Jethro Tull is quite a unique name. It’s the old agriculturalist, is that right? “Well, I know all about that now, but when our agent suggested it back in 1968, I thought he made the name up. I thought it was just some funny name. But it just so happened we stuck with it. Maybe two or three weeks after that, I then learned to my horror that we’ve been named after a dead guy who invented a seed drill. Which didn’t seem like a passport to instant success with the audiences of the day. But they, like I, probably didn’t do history or that period of history at school, so they were oblivious to it as well,” Ian Anderson said.

What were some of the names that fell by the wayside, or even some of the worst names that didn’t make it?

“Well, the first time we played at the Marquee was under the John Evan Band name. We might have appeared as Ian Henderson’s Bag o’ Nails, a misprint of Anderson. Whatever gives us the gig – I’ll be whoever you want, even Jethro.”

Jethro Tull, the agriculturalist

Jethro Tull was born in 30 March 1674 and died 21 February 1741. He was an English agricultural pioneer from Berkshire who helped to bring about the British Agricultural Revolution. He perfected a horse-drawn seed drill in 1700 that economically sowed the seeds in neat rows, and later developed a horse-drawn hoe. So Tull’s methods were adopted by many landowners and helped to provide the basis for modern agriculture.

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