The Marquee Club - A tribute site dedicated to the history of the legendary Marquee club at London's 90 Wardour street.

Jethro Tull - Biography

Jethro Tull

Gigs at the Marquee club: 22
Period of performances: 1968
Line-up members at the Marquee club:
Ian Anderson (vocals, flute, harmonica), John Evan (keyboards), Barriemore Barlow (drums), Mick Abrahams (guitar), Clive Bunker (drums), Glenn Cornick (bass).

Jethro Tull was originally formed in Luton, UK, in 1967 after the split of the blues bands The Blades, John Evan Band and McGregor's Engine. The Blades was formed in 1964 by Michael Stephens (guitar), Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond (bass) and John Evan (keyboards) and together they used to play on the northern jazz blues club circuit. In 1965 the band changed their name to the John Evan Band.

Two years later bassist Glenn Cornick replaced Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond and the band decided to move to Luton in order to get closer to the growing London blues scene. In Luton they met the members of a local blues bands called McGregor's Engine, vocalist and flute player Ian Anderson, guitarist Mick Abrahams and drummer Clive Bunker, who were ex-members of Toggery Five.

On the 19th of June 1967 the new band formed played for the very first time at the Marquee club as John Evan Smash and played a second gig on the 4th of August. At this stage Ian Anderson, Mick Abrahams, Glenn Cornick and Clive Bunker decided to start a new band, which during their first days worked under different names such as Navy Blue and Bag of Blues in order to get more gigs at the clubs as Ian Anderson remembers: "We played once at the Marquee as the John Evan Band, went back, sort of hiding our faces from John Gee the manager, and became Navy Blue the second time we played the Marquee, and the third time we played at the Marquee we were Jethro Tull, and luckily that was the one that stuck".

In January of 1968 the band played one night at the Marquee club as Navy Blue coinciding with the release the pop-folk oriented single "Sunshine Day", released on MGM Record under the name Jethro Toe. The original new name of the band was Jethro Tull, regarding the 18th-century English inventor of the seed drill, but the record company misspelled the name after Derek lawrence from MGM Records read their name misspelled in the Melody Maker. It was precisely on this song when Ian Anderson debuted as a flute player, as he recalls: "I began the flute just before we came from Blackpool down to London because I sold off, in order to raise some cash and to settle some debts, I sold an electric guitar that I had. Since Mick was going to join the group on guitar it seemed pointless keeping it, so I tried to sell it for cash, but the shop wouldn't take cash; they said "We'll let you trade it in against something," and the only things I could think worth having that were sufficiently portable, to put in a pocket during that rough and ready existence that was to follow, were a microphone and ... as I looked round the shop, I saw a flute hanging up and thought "I'll have that." It represented £30 worth of the £60 that they were allowing me against this guitar, so I went off with a flute in my pocket, and learnt to play it, painfully, over the next month, and managed to make a few noises."
(Brian Matthew,

A month later after this release, on the 2nd of February 1968, the band started a Friday residency at the Marquee club as Jethro Tull. During these days the band became pretty popular in London's scene and the band's image, headed by Ian Anderson's emblematic figure playing flute with a leg up and dressing like a beggar, had an impact on London's audience. During those days Ian Anderson used to stay in line at the entrance of the club before their shows wearing his now famous long overcoat and a Woolworth's carrier bag with loads of instruments, an alarm clock and hot water bottle in it.

Jethro Tull at the Marquee

Jethro Tull at the Marquee, May 1968

As Anderson explained later "it wasn't so much an image as a way of life, because that was how I was. I lived in one of two bedsitters for the first three or four years of being in Jethro Tull, with no hot water, no heating, perhaps a one-bar electric fire or something. I mean I literally was freezing and hungry and all the rest of it quite a lot of the time. They call it 'paying your dues' - I suppose everyone goes through a bit of that. In my case it wasn't too bad: I mean I didn't actually starve, but there were quite a few nights I went to bed very hungry and very cold, and I used to wear my coat in bed, so it wasn't too much of a hardship to keep it on the next day and actually wander on stage with it. It was part of the way of finding out who you were: you had to have some identity, in that particular stage of music and that particular stage of growing up. For me, the coat was part of my identity and I kept it on all the time ... for quite real reasons, though".
(Brian Matthew,

Jethro Tull played their last gig at the Marquee on the 26th of November 1968, two months after the release of their debut album "This Was". The release of the album coincided with the departure of guitarist Mick Abrahams after constant personal and musical differences with the rest of the band. Jethro Tull was one of the bands most attached to the Marquee club ever. In 1968 the band recorded the jazzy instrumental "One for John Gee" as a personal tribute to the manager of the club who supported and encouraged the band enormously. The song was released as a B side of the "Song For Jeffrey" single.

After Abrahams' departure the band tried different guitarists from the local scene, including David O'List of the Nice and Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath who played with the band at the famous Rolling Stone's "Rock and Roll Circus". Finally guitarist Martin Barre got the job. Barre had been a member of the blues band Penny Peep Show, which had previously recorded several backing sessions for other artists at the Marque studios in Wardour Street. Barre saw Jethro Tull for the first time at their acclaimed gig at the 8th National Jazz & Blues Festival in Sunbury, which was organized by the Marquee club and the National Jazz Federation. Barre remembers: "They were beyond any doubt the group of that festival, just because nobody else was doing anything like it. They were so astounding to watch and to listen to."

With this new lineup and the release of the band's second album "Stand Up" the reputation of Jethro Tull grew fast while they started to build a very personal fusion of blues, jazz, English folk, progressive rock and classical music that placed the band in the top list of best bands in the history of rock music. In December 1970 Glenn Cornick was "invited to leave" by Jethro Tull's manager Terry Ellis Glenn since he grew apart from the other members of the band who were extremely reclusive and private and didn't have very much of a social life. At the same time Chrysalis Records supported the creation of Cornick's new band Wild Turkey and he was replaced by Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond from the old days of John Evan Band. This coincided with the development of the most acclaimed period of the band with the release of the legendary album "Aqualung". After a world tour, drummer Clive Bunker quit the band in 1971 to dedicate to his family life and was replaced by the old friend Barriemore Barlow from the days of the John Evan Band, recording the reputed masterpiece "Thick As A Brick" (1972). This lineup recorded some of the most acclaimed albums from the band, including "A Passion Play" (1973), "WarChild" (1974) and "Minstrel in the Gallery" (1975).

In January 1976 Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond left the band to pursue a career in art and was replaced by John Glascock for the recording of "Too Old to Rock 'n Roll, Too Young to Die", which was followed by "Songs From the Wood" (1976) and "Heavy Horses" (1978). On November 17 1979 bassist John Glascock died from complications of heart surgery, five weeks after the release of the album "Stormwatch". Glascock was replaced by Dave Pegg from the folk rock band Fairport Convention. In 1980 Ian Anderson's solo project turned into Jethro Tull's "A" album, featuring Martin Barre, David Pegg plus and Mark Craney on drums, and Roxy Music's keyboardist/vilionist Eddie Jobson. This way Barriemore Barlow, John Evan, and David Palmer were temporarily dropped from the group and it's next line-up included Martin Barre, David Pegg, plus the new members drummer Gerry Conway from Fairport Convention and virtuous keyboardist Peter-John Vettesse. This last lineup recorded the albums "The Broadsword" and "Beast" in 1982 as the band moved to a more heavy rock oriented sound. After this the band entered into a hiatus, coinciding with the beginning of Ian Anderson's solo career with the release of the album "Walk Into Light" (1983).

In 1984, Jethro Tull had a come back with the album "Under Wraps", followed by "Crest of a Knave" (1987) featuring the London Symphony Orchestra. In 1987 the band celebrated it's 20th anniversary with the release of the boxed set compilation "20 Years of Jethro Tull" and in February of 1989 Jethro Tull won the Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance for the album "Crest of a Knave". After several years of studio inactivity in 1999 Jethro Tull, formed by Ian Anderson and Martin Barre plus Doane Perry (drums), Jonathan Noyce (bass) and Andy Giddings (keyboards) released the album "Dot Com." coinciding with the launch of their official web site

Ian Anderson has released numerous solo albums parallely to his leadership of Jethro Tull, including "Walk Into Light" (1983), "Divinities" (1995), "The Secret Language of Birds" (2000) and "Rupi's Dance" (2003). Anderson is also a reputed multi-instrumentist, having recorded an impressive number of instruments, including flute, drums, acoustic and electric guitar, trombone, bass, saxophone, keyboards and violin. Ian Anderson lives on a farm in the southwest of England where he runs a salmon farm and has a recording studio and office. He has been married for 27 years to Shona who is an active director of the companies. He is also engaged in the study and conservation of the species of small wildcats of the world.

John Evan and David Palmer formed the classical pop rock band Tallis after their split from Jethro Tull in 1980. Evans later quit the music industry and became disillusioned with the lifestyle and concentrated in the studies of classical piano. He also bought a firm for building and refurbishing work in London's Heathrow Airport area.

After his troubled departure from Jethro Tull in November 1968, Mick Abrahams formed the successful band the "Blodwyn Pig" in 1969 which played at the Marquee club for 18 nights between 1968 and 1974. After quitting the band in 1974; he worked as a cars salesman of cars and played funny character voice-overs for the advertising trade. He returned to the music world in 1987 and has toured and recorded extensively as a solo artist and in different projects, such as various reincarnations of Blodwyn Pig and The Mick Abraham's Band. During the 90's Abrahams started a solo career focused on blues music, releasing numerous albums including "Mick's Back" (1996), "One" (1996), "See My Way" (2000), "Novox" (2000), "Can't Stop Now" (2003) and "Mick's Back Again with the Blues" (2005). Some of these recording feature the collaboration of Ian Anderson. In 2001 he started the controversial Jethro Tull cover project The This Was Band Live and released the album "This Is!".

Clive Bunker joined Blodwyn Pig whith Mick Abrahams after his departure from Jethro tull in 1969. He later built a reputed career as a session musician, playing for artists such as Robin Trower, Frankie Miller, Jon Anderson, Jim Dewar, Gordon Giltrap, Steve Hillage, Uli Roth, Manfred Mann and Mick Abrahams. Bunker moved to a farm outside Luton during the 80's and started a business in dog boarding kennels and invested in a engineering firm in the area.

After his departure from Jethro Tull, Glenn Cornick formed the successful band Wild Turkey, which had a residency at the Marque club and played 25 gigs during the period of 1971 and 1974. He later moved to Berlin and then to the US to form the band Paris with Bob Welch from Fleetwood Mac. In 1977 Cornick quit music for about ten years and became a sales manager for a food company. In the 90's Cornick returned to the music life and re-formed Wild Turkey in 2001 to release new studio and live material. Glenn Cornick has an official web site which features a collection of memorabilia from Jethro Tull's early days and material from the Marquee club in the late 60's which has been a very helpful resource for this web site.

Barriemore Barlow formed the band Tandoori Cassette in 1980 along with Zal Cleminson, Charlie Tumahai, and Ronnie Leahy. Barlow has played with numerous reputed artists such as Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and George Harrison.

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John Evan Smash gigs at the Marquee Club


Navy Blue gigs at the Marquee Club


Jethro Tull gigs at the Marquee Club


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