A2Z 2021 Jethro Tull Songs Day 19 Steel Monkey, from Crest of a Knave (1987)

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Crest of a Knave is their sixteenth studio album, released in 1987. It was recorded after a three-year hiatus caused by a throat infection of vocalist Ian Anderson, resulting in his changed singing style. Following the unsuccessful electronic rock album Under Wraps, Crest of a Knave had the band returning to a more hard rock sound. The album was their most successful since the 1970s and the band enjoyed a resurgence on radio broadcasts, appearances in MTV specials, and the airing of music videos. It was also a critical success, winning the 1989 Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance Vocal or Instrumental in what was widely viewed as an upset over the favorite, Metallica’s …And Justice for All.

Ian Anderson said:

‘Steel Monkey’ was based around a sequencer riff, and it didn’t have any flute in it. So it was yet another atypical Jethro Tull song that was a radio hit.

Atavachron at Prog Archives says:

The clipped hiss of a drum program and a sequenced piano cuts through and leads ‘Steel Monkey’, a well-deserved homage to the men who build the urban world.

Queen By-Tor says:

Steel Monkey is a hard rocking, mechanical monster that utilizes the Tull’s heavier side. Great for the rock fans, proggers may be put off a bit by this. Fear not! The next group of songs easily makes up for those who were turned off by the opener.

Cesar Inca says:

The opener ‘Steel Monkey’ mixes industrial techno foundations with impetuous hard rocking guitars: almost like waving a last farewell to the sonic mechanics of “Under Wraps” (and Anderson’s first solo album “Walk into Light”) while opening back the doors to good old fashioned rock. This catchy opener was actually the first single, but it barely can be perceived as a proper signal of the band’s predominant moods.

Sources:
wikipedia
Prog Archives

As the moon slips up and the sun sets down,
I’m a high-rise jockey, and I’m heaven bound.
Do the work boot shuffle, loose brains from brawn.
I’m a monkey puzzle and the lid is on.

Can you guess my name? Can you guess my trade?
I’m going to catch you anyway.
You might be right. I’ll give you guesses three.
Feel me climbing up your knee

Guess what I am. I’m a steel monkey.

Now some men hustle and some just think.
And some go running before you blink.
Some look up and some look down
From three hundred feet above the ground.

Can you guess my name? Can you guess my trade?
Well, I won’t rest before the world is made.
Arm in arm the angels fly.
Keep me from falling out the sky.

Steel monkey…

I work in the thunder and I work in the rain.
I work at my drinking, and I feel no pain.
I work on women, if they want me to.
You can have me climb all over you.

Now, have you guessed my name?
And have you guessed my trade?
I’m cheap at the money I get paid.
In the sulphur city, where men are men,
We bolt those beams then climb again.

Steel monkey…

Songwriter: Ian Anderson

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19 Comments Add yours

  1. I remember buying this album. I must dig deep in my overfilled junk cupboard and see if I still have it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Are you calling this album junk 😉 I hope you find it, crank the volume, and dance around your living room!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha, no, that didn’t come across properly!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. badfinger20 (Max) says:

    I’m a monkey puzzle and the lid is on…that is a cool line.
    I remember this one well. I had some head banger friends who were just baffled when they won…I was happy they got noticed and won.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      I laugh at thinking it’s heavy metal. It’s a cool song but that it isn’t. I can see why your friends were baffled.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. badfinger20 (Max) says:

        As you know I’m not a huge fan of Heavy Metal…well I am of 70s stuff (Zeppelin and Sabbath, Deep Purple) but not 80s on very much…but I did have a chuckle out of it lol.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I like the lyrics on this one, but the song just isn’t one of my favorites.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      I’m of the same mind as you on this. The music sounds like an 80’s movie soundtrack.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Anne Nydam says:

    I appreciate that he only works on women if they want him to.
    Solid hard rock, but I wouldn’t call it heavy metal.
    Black and White: S for Shangri-La

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      I noted that about the women also lol.

      Like

  5. Archon's Den says:

    I’m a long-time Tull fan. Thanx for bringing back that Goldie-Oldie. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Archon, I hope you see I’ve been featuring Tull all month. Lots of wonderful offerings. Glad you’re a fan 🙂

      Like

  6. Certainly an energetic homage to the deserving steel workers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Yes it is, the music sounds like a video game from the 80s to me.

      Like

  7. Frédérique says:

    I remember clearly this one! Like it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Great, I’m glad I got to one you recognize, Frederique 🙂

      Like

  8. memadtwo says:

    You have to dance. (K)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Arlee Bird says:

    I have this album on cassette but I haven’t listened to it as much as their older albums. I was buying so many albums in the eighties that most of them I listened to only a few times. Now I wish I had all that money back.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      I hear you about having a lot of CDs I bought that rarely ever get listened to. I still like to have them for the every so often I do want to listen to them.

      Like

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