Song of the Day, September 15: Teacher by Jethro Tull

TullTeacherToday’s song is a b-side that became a classic. By mid-1970, Jethro Tull had settled into their longest-lasting and most productive line-up after recording their solid third album Benefit and bringing in new bassist Jeffrey Hammond. They released a non-album single, Witch’s Promise — a precursor to the naturalist prog folk they would specialize in later in the decade. The flip side was a song that Chrysalis substituted onto the US version of Benefit.

Teacher is a fun song, a warning about gurus who demand too much. The narrator welcomes a teacher into his life, paying his freight as they have a series of adventures. The teacher makes the most of it while his pupil throws his “world into the sea.” In the end, the teacher says thanks and walks away, leaving behind a very different lesson than the protagonist thought he would learn.

Ian Anderson provides a crisp vocal, shading in the irony that would become a regular part of the Tull sound on future discs. The band crunch along behind him, providing a nice, bluesy backdrop. Despite its humble start, the song became a fan favorite and a regular at live shows, eventually featuring on most of the band’s compilations.

Enjoy this fun lesson today.

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About Robert Hulshof-Schmidt
Freelance writer, researcher, online comic vendor, and project manager. Fan of a wide range of music -- especially folk and 80s pop -- vintage comics, British TV, and LGBT fiction.

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