Album: Living In The Past (1972)
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  • This song tells the story of a socially awkward fellow who buys plane ticket for a more jovial chap (the "teacher") so they can go on vacation together. On the trip, the freeloader ends up having all the fun while the narrator remains as neurotic as ever.

    It's an odd storyline for a Jethro Tull song, but it's also one of just a few songs that Ian Anderson wrote strictly for mass appeal. When we asked Anderson if there was a specific inspiration for the song, he replied: "Only in as much as it was the need to come up with a pop song format that might get us some radio play or be in the singles charts. It was a deliberate attempt to write a piece of more generic pop/rock music. Which is probably why I don't really like it very much. It just seemed a bit forced, a bit too structured in that kind of vein. So it's not one that I'm comfortable with at all, no."

Comments: 7

  • Brett from VaRolling Stone : "Interestingly, our manager is convinced to this day that this is actually a song I wrote about him and that he is the teacher, which is complete bollocks. In fact, what I was singing about was more those creepy guru figures that would mislead innocent young minds like those of the Beatles. They would suck in people and use the power of persuasion to bend their will and lead them on a spiritual path to enlightenment. And a lot of the time, of course, it was just about getting your money and driving around in a big, white Rolls Royce, which struck me as worthy of writing a song about. I wasn’t singing necessarily about spiritual leaders of a particular ethnic persuasion or a particular religious view, but just the idea of the teacher, the guru." Also mentioned the fact that there were 2 versions, UK and US, maybe the poppier one was for the US, where they were trying break into the charts.
  • Deathrow Toll from Ohio I can get behind what IA says, it’s quite “riffy”, Aqualung (album) was fairly “riffy” and commercial too, I think that’s why he’s always so adamant that it’s not a “concept” album. I bought the cassette for Thick as a Brick and listened to it until I could hear both sides, it’s not commercial at all. The snippet that was carved out as a “single” is just part of 42 minute song.
  • Jimmy Mac from PhiladelphiaFirst heard that song when I was 8, my sister loved Tull
  • Jeff from Seattle, WaI still think the fluteless version (The UK version, not the original UK version) is better.
  • Ghostoflectricity from IllinoisDon't know if this is true, but I vaguely remember in the misty, distant past that this song's narrator was a psychedelic spiritual seeker, the "trip" he was on involved LSD or another hallucinogen, and the con artist/teacher was Timothy Leary.
  • Ray from Roseville, MiIt's definitely his poppiest with the flute. That sound I believe was reproduced by many New Wave groups in 80's.
  • Krishen from Mount Laurel, NjSad to know he didn't think much of this song -- even for a "throwaway", the lyrics are still quite intelligent and it's a damn good rocker.
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