Classic Rock News

Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull

Ian Anderson wrote this song.  “Aqualung” by Jethro Tull is a story of homelessness and how society deals with it.  Ian’s wife, Jennie took photos of the homeless and showed them to Ian.  Many of the lyrics describe actual homeless men.   Jennie also wrote some lyrics from the photos, giving her songwriting credit and half the royalties from the song. (They divorced in 1974)

Ian Anderson said of the song, “a guilt-ridden song of confusion about how you deal with beggars, the homeless… It’s about our reaction, of guilt, distaste, awkwardness, and confusion, all these things that we feel when we’re confronted with the reality of the homeless. You see someone who’s clearly in desperate need of some help, whether it’s a few coins or the contents of your wallet, and you blank them out. The more you live in that business-driven, commercially-driven lifestyle, you can just cease to see them.”

“Aqualung” By Jethro Tull Was Never Released as a Single

In an interview with Songfacts, Ian explains why “Aqualung was never a single.  “Because it was too long. It was too episodic. It starts off with a loud guitar riff and then goes into rather more laid-back acoustic stuff. Led Zeppelin at the time, you know, didn’t release any singles. It was album tracks. And radio was sharply divided between AM radio, which played the 3-minute pop hits, and FM radio where they played what they called deep cuts.  You would go into an album and play the obscure, the longer, the more convoluted songs in that period of more developmental rock music.

What is an “Aqualung?”

An “Aqualung” is a portable breathing setup for divers (think scuba gear). Ian’s picture of the homeless man had breathing problems, thus the nickname “Aqualung.” Anderson said the idea came from the TV show, Sea Hunt, (the main character wore an Aqualung). It turned out that  Aqualung was a brand name for the breathing system. In a 2019 interview with Nights with Alice Cooper, Anderson said what happened next. They tried to sue the hell out of us, the Aqualung Corporation of North America. We apologized profusely and said, ‘Sorry, we didn’t know. We thought ALL underwater breathing apparatus were called Aqualungs because it’s so famous the world over.’ It was an honest mistake. I think they were flattered by the fact that we were so, thought they were just the one and only kind of company doing that stuff. They decided not to sue us after all.”

The character, Aqualung, is mentioned in another song on the album, “Cross-Eyed Mary,” another character Anderson created.

20 Iconic MTV Videos

MTV kicked on in 1981 and, kids, they ACTUALLY PLAYED VIDEOS. They had VJs… Video jockeys. They hosted the music in a similar fashion to DJs on the radio. We loved it. It was a new way to experience music and it exposed us to music that we might have not otherwise known existed.  Some of those videos are completely intertwined in my memory with the song itself.  Check out our list below of 20 iconic MTV Videos.

We’ve talked recently about “What was the first MTV video you saw?” I received SO MANY answers for “Video Killed the Radio Star.” This was the very first video MTV aired. In 1981, we didn’t have the internet, smartphones, or social media. We had radio stations, records, and cassette tapes. Aunt Doni will tell you the story of cassette singles for a buck on another day. Today we celebrate the songs that you know not just by sound but by the VIDEOS. Here’s a list of the first 5 videos aired on MTV and the most iconic… the videos we remember the most based on the listener and social media input we received.

Oh and if you’re looking for cool MTV gifts, CLICK HERE

20 Iconic MTV Videos

  • #1 "Video Killed the Radio Star" - The Buggles

  • #2 "You Better Run" - Pat Benatar

  • #3 "She Won't Dance With Me" - Rod Stewart

    If I’m being honest, I don’t remember this song… sorry, Rod.

  • #4 "You Better You Bet" - The Who

    This one is cool! It includes an MTV clip intor.

  • #5 "Little Suzie" - PhD

    Most of us think TESLA on this song,, but PhD were the originators. 🙂

  • "Jeoprady" - Greg Kihn

    I was too young for the party scene of the ’80s, but this is the way I pictured it. LOL

  • "Money For Nothing" - Dire Straits

    Mark Knoepfler uses an over-heard conversation at the mall as the foundation for an amazing and, at times, controversial song.

  • "Hot For Teacher" - Van Halen

  • "We're Not Gonna Take It" - Twisted Sister

    Get ’em, Dee!

  • "Sweet Child "O Mine" - Guns N Roses

  • "Burning Down the House" - Talking Heads

    SIDE NOTE: Before Peter Gabriel’s video for “Sledgehammer,” the same director used stop-motion in the Talking Heads video for “Road to Nowhere.” Scroll in to 2:56 to check it out.

  • "Sledgehammer" - Peter Gabriel

    THIS is the video that started this conversation. It was the first video that used stop-motion for the WHOLE VIDEO. I can’t even imagine how much effort went into this.

  • "Land of Confusion" - Genesis

    WTH is going on in this video?? From the opening scene of “Bedtime for Bonzo” on crack, this video left many Genesis fans feeling… confused.

  • "Hungry Like the Wolf" - Duran Duran

    THIS is why Duran Duran fans are some of the most loyal folk out there. A smokin’ hot Simon LeBon meets Indiana Jones.

  • "Stand Back" - Stevie Nicks

    So much power… also: Fame dancers.. so ’80s!

  • "Owner of a Loney Heart" - Yes

    In my opinion, the video helped the song reach number one (The only number one song Yes has). Even though one of the scene’s in this video RUINED ME for Asian cuisine for a good five years, it’s still amazing.

  • "Too Much Time on My Hands" - STYX

    Trippin’ balls and hanging at bars.

  • "Sharp Dressed Man" - ZZ Top

    It doesn’t get any cool than ZZ Top.

  • "Sweet Dreams" - Eurythmics

    Annie Lennox blew my mind. Part of the reason Annie had untraditional hairstyle and wardrobe choices was that she wanted to be known first for her music, not her looks. She’s still a very pretty lady, but I think she made the right choice, The first thing you notice is the power of her voice and presence.

  • "Fish heads" - Barnes and Barnes

    Who says people were high in the ’80s? I still can’t believe they aired this. What the holy hell is going on here?

Donielle Fynn is a Michigan native with two kids, two dogs, two cats, a love of yoga, and all things classic rock.

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