Too Old to Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young to Die!

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Too Old to Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young to Die!
Studio album by
Released23 April 1976 (UK)
17 May 1976 (US)
Recorded19 November 1975 - 27 January 1976
StudioRadio Monte Carlo by the Maison Rouge Mobile Studio, except tracks 8 and 10, recorded at Morgan Studios, in Brussels
GenreProgressive rock, folk rock, hard rock, blues rock
ProducerIan Anderson
Jethro Tull chronology
M.U. - The Best of Jethro Tull
Too Old to Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young to Die!
Songs from the Wood
Singles from
Too Old to Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young to Die!
  1. "Too Old to Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young to Die!/Rainbow Blues"
    Released: 19 March 1976

Too Old to Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young to Die! is the ninth studio album released by British band Jethro Tull, recorded in December 1975 and released in 1976. It is the first album to include bassist John Glascock who also contributes with backing vocals. Too Old to Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young to Die! is the last Jethro Tull concept album, which follows the story of Ray Lomas, an ageing rocker who finds fame with the changes of musical trends.[1]



Like their previous album, Minstrel in the Gallery, the band recorded the album in the Maison Rouge Mobile Studio, they recorded "Too Old to Rock'n'Roll: Too Young to Die!" and "The Chequered Flag (Dead or Alive)" along with outtakes "Salamander's Rag Time", "Commercial Traveller" and "Advertising Man (Unfinished backing track)" on 19 and 20 November 1975, "Big Dipper" on 3 January 1976, "Pied Piper"[clarification needed] and "Quizz Kid" on 4 and 5 January, "Taxi Grab", "Pied Piper",[clarification needed] "Crazed Institution" and "Old Rocker (Quizz Kid intro)" on 8 January, "From a Dead Beat to an Old Greaser", "Salamander" and "Pied Piper"[clarification needed] along with outtake "A Small Cigar (acoustic version)" on 12 January, and finally "Bad-Eyed and Loveless" along with outtake "A Small Cigar (orchestral version)" on 27 January 1976.


Jethro Tull frontman Ian Anderson says the point of the album was to illustrate how his style of music may go out of popularity with every other fashion and fad, but he is determined that if he sticks to it, everything comes back around and the style will rise again.[1]

Ian Anderson explains that the concept came from the turmoil of the rise of the punk movement, and was not meant to be autobiographical of him as an ageing songwriter,[1] although "some members of the press took the album as our attempt to 'get with' the punks". Anderson also stated that the basis of the concept is "to point out that this business [music, fashion] is cyclic, and that if you stick around long enough, you do come into fashion again."[2]


Originally intended to be a rock musical, the story would follow an ageing and retired rock star named Ray Lomas - winning money in a 'Quizz' show, trying to commit suicide and waking up years later to find out that the grease fashion has returned. Although much of the album concept is only explained in the cartoons printed in the sleeves, there are changes in the plot or in details between the cartoons and the music.[1]

A clip of the title track was released in the Slipstream video, which returned to much of the original album's concept.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic3/5 stars [3]
Rolling Stone(mixed) [4]
Melody Maker(mixed) [5]
SputnikMusic3/5 stars [6]

Rolling Stone complained about the "muddled story" of the album, saying that "Ian Anderson should stick to music, because he most definitely is not a storyteller." Nevertheless, the same review praised Anderson's skill at musical composition, and the guitar solos of Martin Barre.[4]

Chris Welch, writing for Melody Maker, gave a mixed review, saying that he "long(ed) for the beat of Barriemore Barlow to break free, or the guitar of Martin Barre to swoop", at the same time he praised Anderson's poetics.[5]

AllMusic's review called the album "one of the minor efforts in the [Jethro Tull] catalogue".[3]


Too Old to Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young to Die!, as an album, had lower sales than the preceding album Minstrel in the Gallery (1975) and following album Songs from the Wood (1977). It reached No. 14 in the United States, No. 25 in Britain, No. 10 in Austria, No. 10 in Norway and likewise in Denmark,[7] and No. 27 in Sweden. It was Jethro Tull's only album of the 1970s not to achieve Gold certification.[8]


Too Old to Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young to Die! was remastered in 2002 and the CD version contains two bonus tracks that were cut from the original LP, "Small Cigar" and "Strip Cartoon".

The album has been released in a box set called Too Old to Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young to Die! - The TV Special Edition in November 2015. The box set contains previously unreleased tracks and outtakes of songs from the album remixed by Steven Wilson, besides an 80-page booklet telling the story of the recording and the video of the special TV show recorded in 1976 and available officially for the first time.[9]

Track listing[edit]

1976 Original release[edit]

All tracks are written by Ian Anderson.

Side one
1."Quizz Kid"5:09
2."Crazed Institution"4:48
4."Taxi Grab"3:54
5."From a Dead Beat to an Old Greaser"4:09
Side two
1."Bad-Eyed and Loveless"2:12
2."Big Dipper"3:35
3."Too Old to Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young to Die"5:44
4."Pied Piper"4:32
5."The Chequered Flag (Dead or Alive)"5:32

2002 Remaster[edit]

2002 remaster bonus tracks
11."A Small Cigar"3:39
12."Strip Cartoon"3:19
  • "A Small Cigar" originally appeared on the 1993 album Nightcap.
  • "Strip Cartoon" was first released as the b-side of the 1977 single "The Whistler" (from the Songs From The Wood album); it made its LP & CD debut on the 1988 box set 20 Years of Jethro Tull.

2015 40th Anniversary TV special edition[edit]


Jethro Tull
Additional musicians

Orchestrations by David Palmer. Orchestra conducted by David Palmer.

Additional personnel
  • Robin Black – sound engineer
  • Michael Farrell – cover design, illustrations
  • David Gibbons – design, illustrations


  1. ^ a b c d "Jethro Tull - Too Old to Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young to Die! (23 April 1976)". 23 April 1976. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
  2. ^ "Jethro Tull Press: Guitar World - Tull Tales (September 1999)". Archived from the original on 3 March 2016.
  3. ^ a b William Ruhlmann. "Jethro Tull - Too Old to Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young to Die! (1976) album review, credits & releases". AllMusic. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
  4. ^ a b McGee, David (26 August 1976). "Jethro Tull - Too Old to Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young to Die! (1976) album review". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
  5. ^ a b "Jethro Tull Press: Jethro Tull - Too Old to Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young to Die! (1976) album review by Chris Welch on Melody Maker (8 May 1976)". 8 May 1976. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
  6. ^ "Jethro Tull reviews, music, news". Retrieved 1 May 2015.
  7. ^ Danish Charts at
  8. ^ "Worldwide album charts of Jethro Tull albums". Retrieved 1 May 2015.
  9. ^ Jethro Tull - Too Old to Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young to Die! (1976/2015) The TV Special Edition remixed by Steven Wilson in 2015

External links[edit]