Jethro Tull - Broadsword and the Beast

Jethro Tull - Broadsword and the Beast

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The Broadsword and the Beast
Studio album by Jetro Tull
Released 10 April 1982 (UK)
19 April 1982 (US)
Recorded Winter 1981 at Maison Rouge Studios, Fulham, London
Genre Progressive rock, art rock, folk rock, electronic rock
Length 38:49
Label Chrysalis
Producer Paul Samwell-Smith
Jethro Tull chronology
The Broadsword and the Beast
Under Wraps
Singles from
The Broadsword and the Beast
  1. "Broadsword"
    Released: 1982
  2. "Fallen on Hard Times"
    Released: 1982

  "The Broadsword and the Beast" is the 14th studio album by Jethro Tull, released on 10 April 1982 and according to Ian Anderson in the liner notes of the remastered CD, contains some of Jethro Tull's best music. It mixes electronic sound, provided by Peter-John Vettese (characteristic that would go on the next album "Under Wraps") with acoustic instruments. The album is a cross between the synthesiser sound of the 1980s and the folk-influenced style that Tull had in the previous decade.

"Cheerio", the final track of the original release, was for some years played as the final encore at Jethro Tull concerts.

"Fallen on Hard Times" was a modest hit, reaching No. 20 on the US charts.


Cover and name

The cover art is by renowned artist Iain McCaig, long time fan of Jethro Tull. The album was made from a talk with Ian Anderson, and tried to capture the concept of the music. McCaig has stated that he intentionally drew hidden "easter eggs" in the album art.

The runic symbols around the edge of the cover are from the Anglo Saxon rune system and are the opening lyrics to "Broadsword":

I see a dark sail on the horizon, set under a black cloud that hides the sun. Bring me my broadsword and clear understanding. Bring me my cross of gold as a talisman.

The album was going to be called "Beastie", responding to the first track on side one. But during production the band deliberated over the preference between "Beastie" and "Broadsword", the first track on side two. In the end they decided (as on "Aqualung") to give each side its own title and thus its own identity and to combine both in the album title. As the artwork also puts much more emphasis on Broadsword, many owners and fans also refer to it as the "Broadsword album".


In 1984, Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab issued a half-speed mastered edition of the album (MFSL 1-092). It was a minor seller at the time, but has since become highly collectible.

The 2005 CD reissue of the album was heavily expanded to include eight bonus tracks recorded during the Broadsword sessions, but not included in the original 1982 album.

Live performance

The tour for "Broadsword" was the last one for Tull to be exceedingly theatrical. It included the entire stage being decorated to look like a pirate ship, which Ian Anderson, as he said in the liner notes for the remastered CD, thought was very silly. Extensive notes on the production of the album and subsequent tour can be found at the official Jethro Tull website.

In a 1982 concert review, Chris Welsh reported: "Squire Anderson waved a huge broadsword dangerously near Martin's nether extremities during songs from their latest album (The Broadsword And The Beast), and punted huge exploding balloons out into the audience. But it was the roar of the band as they got into their heaviest moments that ultimately captivated an audience who seemed evenly mixed between 14-year-old novice Tull freaks and silver-haired rock business veterans. [...] Tull have a vast library of music to perform. They could have played on for another two hours and the audience would have been with them, cheering all the way."

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2.5/5 stars
Kerrang! "mixed"
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars
Sputnick Music 3.5/5 stars

Kerrang! review was ambigous, calling the album tracks "emotional pieces of composition depending on how much attention you are prepared to give" but overall stated that "If you're a fan, buy it, it may have some pleasant surprises. If, like me, you're not, borrow it from someone who is. You might be surprised too". Rolling Stone magazine, in their two stars review stated: "There's nothing wrong with living in the past, perhaps. Indeed, Ian Anderson can make the wisdom of the ages seem preferable to the rootless philandering of the present day. But on The Broadsword and the Beast, the real beast may be Anderson's penchant for ponderous sermonizing." AllMusic review, by Bruce Eder was not too impressed with the album. Recalling the production and the music overall, he stated that "this time in the hands of ex-Yardbird Paul Samwell-Smith, is smoother, less heavy, and more thinly textured than their past work, and there are times -- most especially on "Flying Colours" -- where they could almost pass for the latter-day Moody Blues, something the band never would have permitted in earlier days".

"The Broadsword and the Beast" sales were better than "A" and "Stormwatch", charting in Germany and Norway, with the Nº 14, in UK with the Nº 27 and Nº 19 in the United States.


Track listing

All songs written and composed by Ian Anderson with additional material by Peter-John Vettese. 

Side one – Beastie  
No. Title Length  
1. "Beastie"   3:58
2. "Clasp"   4:18
3. "Fallen on Hard Times"   3:13
4. "Flying Colours"   4:39
5. "Slow Marching Band"   3:40
Side two - Broadwsord  
No. Title Length  
1. "Broadsword"   5:03
2. "Pussy Willow"   3:55
3. "Watching Me, Watching You"   3:41
4. "Seal Driver"   5:10
5. "Cheerio"   1:09
  • The remastered CD added bonus tracks (which had been on the "20 Years of Jethro tull" box-set) and extensive liner notes. Further tracks from the same sessions (and not included on the remastered CD) are "Motoreyes" (from the 20 Years box) and "Crew Nights", "The Curse", "Commons Brawl", "No Step", "Drive on the Young Side of Life", and "Lights Out" from the outtakes album "Nightcap".


Jethro Tull
  • Ian Anderson – vocals, flute, Fairlight CMI, acoustic guitar
  • Martin Barre – electric & acoustic guitars
  • Peter Vettese – keyboards, piano, synthesizer, vocals
  • Dave Pegg – bass guitar, mandolin, vocals
  • Gerry Conway – drums and percussion
Additional Personnel
  • Robin Black - Sound engineering
  • Jim Gibson - Artwork
  • Leigh Mantle - Assistant engineer
  • Iain McCaig - Artwork, illustrations
  • Paul Samwell-Smith - Producer


Jethro Tull - Broadsword and the Beast

UK Chrysalis CDL 1380 (1982)

Album produced by Paul Samwell-Smith

The vinyl record attains a strong excellent grading, suggesting few plays.

Audio quality is very clear and strong throughout.

Both record centre labels are clean and unmarked.

The album cover is in excellent condition, displaying only minor signs of wear.

The original inner sleeve is perfectly presented.


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