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Ring Out Solstice Bells
December 21, 2011 5:32 PM   Subscribe

Jethro Tull's 1976 animated promo video for Ring Out Solstice Bells. (SLYT) Happy Solstice, everyone!
posted by hippybear (58 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
Same band, different holiday (2, 3,4,5.)
posted by timsteil at 5:40 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Technically, Holly Herald is a Solstice song.
posted by hippybear at 5:41 PM on December 21, 2011


Yacht Rock be damned, I enjoy Jethro Tull.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 5:41 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Blocked in my country on copyright grounds!

TUUUUUUUUUULLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:46 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hey, this Jethro Tull guy isn't bad. Was he in any other bands?
posted by Ad hominem at 5:51 PM on December 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


flapjax - what country are you in?
posted by tzikeh at 5:52 PM on December 21, 2011


flapjax: does doing a Google Search for "Jethro Tull Solstice Bells" yield anything you can watch? If so, link it here.
posted by hippybear at 5:52 PM on December 21, 2011


Today I learned of the Lord of Misrule!
posted by Threeway Handshake at 6:03 PM on December 21, 2011


Oh Jesus Christ I hate you that's like 6 hours lost to youtube.
posted by nevercalm at 6:15 PM on December 21, 2011


That was so goddamned awesome. Thank you for posting it hippybear.
posted by jbickers at 6:22 PM on December 21, 2011


Happy Solstice. This is the most important holiday of the Chinese culture. May you all enjoy a year of good health, happiness and great success!
posted by Yellow at 6:23 PM on December 21, 2011


flapjax - what country are you in?

Japan.

flapjax: does doing a Google Search for "Jethro Tull Solstice Bells" yield anything you can watch?

Nope!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:38 PM on December 21, 2011


When I was a kid, there was a meme that went round the elementary school playground: You would sing, at the top of your lungs, the lines, "Sitting on a park bench," and "Snot running down his nose." Those were the only two lines. You had to sing them as crazy as possible. It wasn't until years later that I actually heard of Jethro Tull or Aqualung.

So, Happy Holidays! I hope you all spend them sitting on a park bench, snot running down your noses. (Minus the "eyeing little girls with bad intent" part. Greasy fingers smearing shabby clothes optional.)
posted by not_on_display at 6:39 PM on December 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


When I was a kid, there was a meme that went round the elementary school playground

That's the most peculiar thing I've ever heard! I guess... the whole elementary school snot-nose thing fed into it. Aside from myself and a few other really "advanced" kids, Tull didn't really enter into the consciousness of kids when I was in elementary school.
posted by hippybear at 6:45 PM on December 21, 2011


Yay Tull!
posted by edheil at 6:45 PM on December 21, 2011


Blocked in my country because the regime has no Quonsmas spirit :(
posted by arcticseal at 6:45 PM on December 21, 2011


My brother gave me Aqualung when I was 8 or 9. His wife assured him that either "that album" or "both him and that album" would be leaving with me when I went back home.
posted by timsteil at 7:01 PM on December 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Minus the "eyeing little girls with bad intent" part.

Hey, even though they're little girls, it's always a good idea to keep an eye on people with bad intents.
posted by 445supermag at 7:03 PM on December 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


already on my Christmas playlist. Lots of Tull on it actually ... from that late 70s phase where they were getting all rustic, folkish and genteel.

Velvet Green

Songs from the Wood
Hunting Girl
posted by philip-random at 7:11 PM on December 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


Today I learned of the Lord of Misrule!

I was in a band called The Lords of Misrule. True!
posted by stargell at 7:13 PM on December 21, 2011


... and then there's the infamous Episode 6 of Yacht Rock
posted by philip-random at 7:15 PM on December 21, 2011


Happy solstice, everyone. I woke up late-ish, so I haven't seen any natural light all day!
posted by Zero Gravitas at 7:23 PM on December 21, 2011


That's good. Natural Light is a terrible beer. You should spend a couple of extra bucks and get something slightly better.
posted by hippybear at 7:25 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


the "eyeing little girls with bad intent" part

I can't think of Jethro Tull without recalling the most horrifying karaoke video ever, wherein some poor actors depicted the story of Aqualung while we tried to sing along.

But enough of that, cheers to the solstice!
posted by exogenous at 7:43 PM on December 21, 2011


the "eyeing little girls with bad intent" part

apparently, I almost got arrested for shouting that one night -- very drunk, hanging my head out the side of a parked car, howling out the whole verse ... and then a cop walked up.

Don't remember any of it
posted by philip-random at 7:48 PM on December 21, 2011


Yacht Rock be damned, I enjoy Jethro Tull.

Tull is not even remotely Yacht Rock. "Hymn 43" is a killer fucking song. I have a 5 year old nephew named Tully (not my idea), I call him Jethro sometimes, but that's a secret between us dudes.
posted by jonmc at 7:56 PM on December 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Tull is not even remotely Yacht Rock.

I'd certainly agree with that, although I have to admit I'm not 100% clear on what bands fall into that category, according to widely-held opinion. In my personal estimation, and just off the top of my head, The Eagles would fall squarely into yacht rock territory. They'd be, like, the deck.

Benefit and Aqualung are kickass records.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:05 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not really much of a music guy, I kept hearing the term Yacht Rock, mostly on metafilter. I just looked it up on wikipedia and it includes Steely Dan and Chrisopher Cross. Now I don't know what kinda guys had yachts back then, but Steely Dan is a bit edgier than Christopher Cross no? Steely Dan is like dudes that infest a fern bar and are always trying to get people to "party" and Christopher Cross is actually about yachts. One of the guys in Steely Dan was actually sued by his girlfriend's family when she overdosed on cocaine and Christoper Cross is the least attractive male superstar singer ever.

I could buy those two being in a category together, throw in anything Michael McDonald was involved in since he was in Steely Dan and sang backup on Peg. Throw in The Eagles since I could see a guy driving in his convertible down to coast listening to The Eagles in the car.

But Tull is really pushing it.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:23 PM on December 21, 2011


Tull is not even remotely Yacht Rock.

Jimmy Fallon has a Yacht Rock week every year on his show. Artists which he's featured include Christopher Cross and Ambrosia.

This is one example of a Top 10 Yacht Rock Songs Of All Time list. And of course Urban Dictionary has some opinions about what it is, too.

Tull definitely isn't Yacht Rock.

(Although I gather there were Tull references in some web series called Yacht Rock, which may be to what the original comment with that phrase was referring.)
posted by hippybear at 8:27 PM on December 21, 2011


Turn of the decade, 60s-into-70s, my understanding is that Tull were pretty much the cool underground item, heir apparents to the Stones/Beatles/Cream etc (all those 60s heavyweights).

This version of Dharma For One (from the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival) does nothing to dispel that notion.
posted by philip-random at 8:27 PM on December 21, 2011


I'd never seen this before, thank you and happy solstice! Songs From the Wood (which this tune is from) is my favorite of all of Jethro Tull's many albums... very pagan and pastoral, beautiful words and music. And not even remotely yacht rock.
posted by usonian at 8:36 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


To clarify: The Tull-Yacht-Rock reference comes from the episode I linked to above which is hardly the highwater mark for that TV series.

My experience of the mid-late 70s (into early 80s) when Yacht Rock had its stupid moment was that Tull never came close to being muttered in the same sentence as the likes of Michael MacDonald, Kenny Loggins, Steely Dan, Hall + Oates etc except insofar as they definitely weren't punk rock and/or New Wave.

Tull by then were entirely their own thing. Not prog-rock, not hard rock, not soft rock -- just the means by which main man Ian Anderson was delivering his musical message to the world. I saw them in Seattle in 1977 on the Songs From the Wood tour and it was an amazing thing -- at times delicate, at other times raucous, at all times superb.

But times were changing. Punk was erupting and the old ways were getting swept away. It didn't help that Ian Anderson was in the process of blowing his voice. He'd keep singing and Tull would keep pumping out albums but something essential was definitely slipping away. I remember seeing them again in around 1982 and his voice was so gone over half the show was instrumentals ... which was actually pretty cool.
posted by philip-random at 8:52 PM on December 21, 2011


I'd pay huge money to see Jethro Tull tour performing a full-length live version of Thick As A Brick. With next year being the 40th anniversary of that album, there's perhaps a chance.

But then, I'm also hoping for Genesis to do a Lamb Lies Down On Broadway full-band reunion tour. I live in a state of dreaming and hope a good portion of the time.
posted by hippybear at 9:14 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Tull is not even remotely Yacht Rock.

Haven't watched the series, I take it (hence the capitalization). Episode number six.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:18 PM on December 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I was chatting with one of the creators of Yacht Rock, actually, who talked about enjoying all the music from that series -- except the Tull, which was straight-up mockery.

I've also seen Tull in concert, twice, but by then Ian's voice had seen better days. The flute can hit those notes, though, as always.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:20 PM on December 21, 2011


Also, to rerail, and because it never gets enough love any recognition, check out Nightcap if you like Tull and haven't given it a listen. It's... inconstant, but has stuck with me over the years.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:29 PM on December 21, 2011


Benefit and Aqualung are kickass records.

Hell yes they are. Stand Up and Thick As a Brick, too. Never saw them live back in the day, wish I had. From 1970, a performance of With You There To Help Me. That's what I'm talking about.
posted by jokeefe at 9:36 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thick as a Brick will forever be (perfect) road music to me, courtesy of the 8-track we had that accompanied us on our cross country trip every summer.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:43 PM on December 21, 2011


Thick as a Brick will forever be (perfect) road music to me, courtesy of the 8-track we had that accompanied us on our cross country trip every summer.

...and your wise men don't know how it
feeee-eee-eee-*KACHUNK*-ee-ee-eeee-eeeeels
to be thick as a brick
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:51 PM on December 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


Didn't Tull beat out Metallica in their prime for the first Grammy for best Metal Performance? Who are the Yacht Rockers now?

That's right... the fans.
posted by not_on_display at 10:23 PM on December 21, 2011


My dad used to play Songs from the Wood all the time.
posted by bpm140 at 10:59 PM on December 21, 2011


How enjoyable! I'm struck by how much it sounds like the kind of stuff XTC would be doing in a few years.
posted by ducky l'orange at 11:38 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hippybear, you have made a middle-aged Tull fan (my husband!) very happy.

Our last JT encounter was at the Moseley Folk Festival, not a million miles away from where we live (more like 5) - it's a fantastic little weekend for anyone in the general vicinity. We walked into the park where the festival is held at 11am that morning to the strains of Tull soundchecking with "Heavy Horses". My other half smiled a whole bunch.

The YouTube link also coughed up this version, which we liked (especially the headgear and the fact that the whole thing is rendered on one guitar and a smidgeon of piano).
posted by Martha My Dear Prudence at 3:00 AM on December 22, 2011


That's a decent version of "Jack Frost and the Hooded Crow" linked up above in the first comment, but I've always preferred this one with all the Broadsword and the Beast-era keyboards intact.

Man. I need to go listen to more Tull now.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 4:43 AM on December 22, 2011


Needs more aliens snorting mounds of space coke.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 6:31 AM on December 22, 2011


Songs from the Wood is my fave "holiday" album. It really fills your pagan solstice music needs without being overly proto-Celtic-Christian, insipidly twee or freakishly New Age.

The guitar work on this album is better than most of the playing from the era.
posted by clvrmnky at 8:31 AM on December 22, 2011


METAFILTER: Needs more aliens snorting mounds of space coke.
posted by philip-random at 10:11 AM on December 22, 2011


Needs more aliens snorting mounds of space coke.

Heavy Metal?

posted by Durn Bronzefist at 11:53 AM on December 22, 2011


The top ten list of yacht rock is spot on, but an honorable mention to Seals and Croft's "Summer Breeze"? Totally unfucking believable. This is a song about a working stiff--a journeyman carpenter, maybe, or a studio musician, or a city hall paper pusher in a clean shirt and a clip-on tie--who comes home "from a hard days work . . . in the evening when the day's through." As he approaches his house, he's relieved to see a light shining through the window, "letting me know things are all right." It's a sketchy neighborhood, see, and even though it's the summer and still bright outside, he's worried that his old lady is okay. This thought, and the summer breeze, and its power to evoke memories of jasmine, and the arms that await him, chase his worldly cares away.

It's a song about work and relaxation. About love and taking joy in nature and simple pleasures. It's the dead polar opposite of yacht rock.
posted by Gordion Knott at 12:29 PM on December 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've long felt that Thick As a Brick is the film Ken Russell should have made between Tommy and Lisztomania. I realise I'm the only person in the world who thinks that, but I make up for it in fervency.
posted by Grangousier at 12:37 PM on December 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


War Child (two albums after Thick as a Brick) was comprised of songs that were originally supposed to be part of a movie ...

a metaphysical black comedy concerning a teenage girl in the afterlife, meeting characters based on God, St. Peter and Lucifer portrayed as if shrewd businessmen. Notable British actor Leonard Rossiter was to have been featured, Margot Fonteyn was to have choreographed, while Monty Python veteran John Cleese was pencilled in as a "humour consultant".

Which gets me to my thoughts on the great (and not so) Tull albums of the 70s. Aqualung and Thick as a Brick are hard to argue with (assuming you have any patience at all for the big concept). But then came Passion Play which seemed to test the patience of pretty much everyone at the time of its release. But I quite liked it for its sheer density, both musical and thematic ...

War Child was next, a sort of hodge-podge (lacking a BIG central theme) which still had some genius moments. Minstrel in the Gallery was solid from beginning to end -- still the closest thing we've had to what one might call an Elizabethan rock album. Too Old To Rock'n'Roll Too Young To Die was okay, with a notable title track ... and then things got all rustic, folkish + genteel, like I mentioned earlier with first Songs From the Wood and then Heavy Horses ... which is about as far as I followed things.
posted by philip-random at 2:39 PM on December 22, 2011


I can't see Thick As A Brick as a movie. It's "adapted" from a poem written by a precocious school boy. There's no plot to film, just a large scale denouncement of, well, a lot of things.

Anyway, Aqualung isn't a "big concept" album. It's a set of songs. It was taken to be a concept album by so many that JT wrote TAAB in response, like "you think that was a concept album? THIS is a concept album!".
posted by hippybear at 3:16 PM on December 22, 2011


Damn. I wonder who animated that? My first guess is Richard Williams' studio; I know they did a lot of stuff full of lovingly-shaded drawings of lumpy people. Maybe just some people who used to

A Youtube comment claims:
Not true, it's a bespoke animation for the Dave Lee Travis TV show on the BBC.
I know because as an animator I sat next to the two guys that did it, from concept to finish so to speak. Although I don't know about the photo only the animation which was done long after the music for a TV Christmas special.
And another says:
As noted in earlier comments this was never associated with the original 'Bells' pre Christmas 76 released. Produced as part of an absolutely awful BBC programme where some "bright spark" coungered up the idea of creating videos for records from a previous era (Solstice actually just falls in the video age thinking about it). Whist this animation may seem credible for 'Bells' generally the videos ceated against the old hits were cringingly bad and the BBC soon dropped the programme
Ssssoooo this was not done with the knowledge of Ian Anderson and the rest of the guys, I guess. Maybe with a vague nod of approval from their label. And who knows who did it?

I ended up watching about half of a compilation of Williams' commercial work because of wondering. So yay for that! And yay for Tull, as well.
posted by egypturnash at 4:12 PM on December 22, 2011


Is that Tyrion wearing the antlers? The one from the books I mean, not Dinklage's.
posted by metaman livingblog at 3:18 PM on December 23, 2011


I was just thinking about it, and Tull was my first live show ever, for Crest of a Knave. I've had such a complicated relationship with them over the years, after decades of sneers. Them and Steely Dan.

Also, Michael McDonald instantly makes everything he appears on sound 10000 times better. I came up with that in junior high, and 30 years later it's still a gospel truth, yacht rock be damned.

Finally, I've always lumped in Sade with yacht rock, from my time working at a marina and dealing with a guy with an actual yacht so seemed to listen to her constantly. But Tull? No way.
posted by nevercalm at 3:34 PM on December 26, 2011


a bespoke animation for the Dave Lee Travis TV show on the BBC

Oh, god, that... I'd forgotten that.

Basically, in the mid-seventies, before everyone had a video, there were several ways of putting a record on Top of the Pops.
  1. The band could come in and pretend to play it. This was most of the programme.
  2. If the performers weren't available, the record would be subject to a dance routine by Pan's People / Ruby Flipper / Legs & Co (For The Dads).
  3. Sometimes the record company would provide what today we'd call a video - the band pretending to play the record somewhere or other. This had actually been going on a lot longer than Bohemian Rhapsody (the Beatles and the Stones had done them during the late 60s, for example).
  4. If there was enough time, sometimes the producer would slip someone a couple of quid and a few reels of 16mm to go and make a Conceptual Film. This was essentially like the video as we know it, except that the band weren't in it and it was generally rather dull. These films stand in relation to actual videos as the Pan's People dance routines do to the Martha Graham Ballet company.
At some point in the early 80s, when a kind of madness had descended on the land and long after there were enough proper videos to not only render the Conceptual Film redundant but threaten the existence of Legs & Co (For The Dads) themselves, Radio 1 DJ Dave Lee Travis (for it is he) or someone who was using him as a proxy, anyway, came up with the idea of making a series featuring newly-made Conceptual Films for records that didn't have proper videos. Because remember they were really good.

Well, no, they weren't, really. But they made the series, broadcast it on weekday nights for a few weeks, no one watched, really, and DLT went back to playing snooker on the radio. That's right. Snooker on the radio. Because he's the hairy cornflake.

Anyway, this must be one of those films. Better than most of them, though, because it doesn't feature a BBC secretary and an assistant runner trying to look tragic and emotional while Gladys Knight maunders on about something or other.

I'm so glad it's not the early 80s any more, aren't you?
posted by Grangousier at 2:41 AM on December 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


I used the word "really" a lot there, didn't I? Must be a sign of some innate psychological weakness.
posted by Grangousier at 2:43 AM on December 27, 2011


I'm so glad it's not the early 80s any more, aren't you?

I found my generalized anger toward all things bureaucratic, institutional, corporate in the early 80s. Still haven't lost it.
posted by philip-random at 9:04 AM on December 27, 2011


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