A2Z 2021 Jethro Tull Songs Day 24 X A Passion Play (whole album) (1973)

X letter_scaled

At first I was going to choose one of their songs that included the letter “x” but I didn’t like either one of them. Then I thought, why not do another bonus entry with the whole “A Passion Play” album?

A Passion Play is their sixth studio album, released in July 1973 in both the UK and US. Following in the same style as the band’s previous album Thick as a Brick (1972), A Passion Play is a concept album comprising individual songs arranged into a single continuous piece of music (which was split into two parts across the original vinyl release’s two sides). The album’s concept follows the spiritual journey of a recently deceased man (Ronnie Pilgrim) in the afterlife, exploring themes of morality, religion and good and evil. The album’s accompanying tour was considered the high water mark of Jethro Tull’s elaborate stage productions, involving a full performance of the album accompanied by physical props, sketches and projected video.

A Passion Play was negatively received by critics upon its initial release, however the album was a commercial success, becoming Jethro Tull’s second number one album in the United States. Today the album is often regarded as a fan favorite among Jethro Tull fans, and has been listed by contemporary critics as one of the greatest progressive rock albums of all time.

lyrics from collecting tull


Passion Play

“Do you still see me even here?”
(The silver cord lies on the ground.)
“And so I’m dead”, the young man said
over the hill (not a wish away).
My friends (as one) all stand aligned
although their taxis came too late.
There was a rush along the Fulham Road.
There was a hush in the Passion Play.

Such a sense of glowing in the aftermath
ripe with rich attainments all imagined
sad misdeeds in disarray
the sore thumb screams aloud,
echoing out of the Passion Play.
All the old familiar choruses come crowding in a different key:
Melodies decaying in sweet dissonance.
There was a rush along the Fulham Road
into the Ever-passion Play.

And who comes here to wish me well?
A sweetly-scented angel fell.
She laid her head upon my disbelief
and bathed me with her ever-smile.
And with a howl across the sand
I go escorted by a band of gentlemen in leather bound
NO-ONE (but someone to be found).

All along the icy wastes there are faces smiling in the gloom.
Roll up roll down, Feeling unwound? Step into the viewing room.
The cameras were all around. We’ve got you taped; you’re in the play.
Here’s your I.D. (Ideal for identifying one and all.)
Invest your life in the memory bank; ours the interest and we thank you.
The ice-cream lady wets her drawers, to see you in the passion play.

Take the prize for instant pleasure, captain of the cricket team
public speaking in all weathers, a knighthood from a queen.

All of your best friends’ telephones never cooled from the heat of your hand.
from your hand…..
There’s a line in a front-page story, 13 horses that also-ran.
also ran…..
Climb in your old umbrella. Does it have a nasty tear in the dome?
in the dome…..
But the rain only gets in sometimes and the sun never leaves you alone,
you alone…..
you alone…..
you alone…..
you alone…..

Lover of the black and white it’s your first night.
The Passion Play, goes all the way, spoils your insight.
Tell me how the baby’s made, how the lady’s laid,
why the old dog howls in sadness.

And your little sister’s immaculate virginity wings away
on the bony shoulders of a young horse named George
who stole surreptitiously into her geography revision.
(The examining body examined her body.)

Actor of the low-high Q, let’s hear your view.
Peek at the lines upon your sleeves since your memory won’t do.
Tell me: how the baby’s graded, how the lady’s faded,
why the old dogs howl with madness.

All of this and some of that’s the only way to skin the cat.
And now you’ve lost a skin or two, you’re for us and we for you.
The dressing room is right behind, We’ve got you taped, you’re in the play.
How does it feel to be in the play?
How does it feel to play the play?
How does it feel to be the play?

Man of passion rise again, we won’t cross you out:
for we do love you like a son, of that there’s no doubt.
Tell us: is it you who are here for our good cheer?
Or are we here for the glory, for the story, for the gory satisfaction
of telling you how absolutely awful you really are?

There was a rush along the Fulham Road.
There was a hush in the Passion Play.

The Story Of The Hare Who Lost His Spectacles
This is the story of the hare who lost his spectacles.
Owl loved to rest quietly whilst no one was watching.
Sitting on a fence one day, he was surprised when suddenly a kangaroo ran close by.
Now this may not seem strange, but when Owl overheard Kangaroo whisper to no one in particular,
“The hare has lost his spectacles,” well, he began to wonder.

Presently, the moon appeared from behind a cloud and there, lying on the grass was hare.
In the stream that flowed by the grass a newt.
And sitting astride a twig of a bush a bee.

Ostensibly motionless, the hare was trembling with excitement,
for without his spectacles he appeared completely helpless.
Where were his spectacles? Could
someone have stolen them? Had he mislaid them? What was he to do?

Bee wanted to help, and thinking he had the answer began:
“You probably ate them thinking they were a carrot.”
“No!” interrupted Owl, who was wise.
“I have good eye-sight, insight, and foresight.
How could an intelligent hare make such a silly mistake?”
But all this time, Owl had been sitting on the fence, scowling!

A Kangaroo were hopping mad at this sort of talk.
She thought herself far superior in intelligence to the others.
She was their leader, their guru. She had the answer:
“Hare, you must go in search of the optician.”
But then she realized that Hare was completely helpless without his spectacles.
And so, Kangaroo loudly proclaimed, “I can’t send Hare in search of anything!”
“You can guru, you can!” shouted Newt.
“You can send him with Owl.”
But Owl had gone to sleep.
Newt knew too much to be stopped by so small a problem
“You can take him in your pouch.”
But alas, Hare was much too big to fit into Kangaroo’s pouch.

All this time, it had been quite plain to hare that the others knew nothing about spectacles.

As for all their tempting ideas, well Hare didn’t care.
The lost spectacles were his own affair.
And after all, Hare did have a spare a-pair.


We sleep by the ever-bright hole in the door,
eat in the corner, talk to the floor,
cheating the spiders who come to say “Please”,
(politely). They bend at the knees.
Well, I’ll go to the foot of our stairs.
Old gentlemen talk of when they were young
of ladies lost, of erring sons.
Lace-covered dandies revel (with friends)
pure as the truth,  tied at both ends.
Well I’ll go to the foot of our stairs.
Scented cathedral spire pointed down.
We pray for souls in Kentish Town.
A delicate hush  the gods, floating by
wishing us well, pie in the sky.
God of ages, Lord of Time, mine is the right, right to be wrong.
Well I’ll go to the foot of our stairs.
Jack rabbit mister spawn a new breed
of love-hungry pilgrims (no bodies to feed).
Show me a good man and I’ll show you the door.
The last hymn is sung and the devil cries “More.”

Well, I’m all for leaving and that being done,
I’ve put in a request to take up my turn
in that forsaken paradise that calls itself “Hell”
where no-one has nothing and nothing is- well -meaning fool,
pick up thy bed and rise up from your gloom smiling.
Give me your hate and do as the loving heathen do.

Colours I’ve none  dark or light, red, white or blue.
Cold is my touch (freezing).

Summoned by name – I am the overseer over you.
Given this command to watch o’er our miserable sphere.
Fallen from grace, called on to bring sun or rain.
Occasional corn from my oversight grew.
Fell with mine angels from a far better place,
offering services for the saving of face.
Now you’re here, you may as well admire
all whom living has retired from the benign reconciliation.
Legends were born surrounding mysterious lights
seen in the sky (flashing).
I just lit a fag then took my leave in the blink of an eye.
Passionate play  join round the maypole in dance
(primitive rite) (wrongly).
Summoned by name I am the overseer over you.

Flee the icy Lucifer. Oh he’s an awful fellow!
What a mistake! I didn’t take a feather from his pillow.
Here’s the everlasting rub: neither am I good or bad.
I’d give up my halo for a horn and the horn for the hat I once had.
I’m only breathing. There’s life on my ceiling.
The flies there are sleeping quietly.
Twist my right arm in the dark.
I would give two or three for
one of those days that never made
impressions on the old score.
I would gladly be a dog barking up the wrong tree.
Everyone’s saved  we’re in the grave.
See you there for afternoon tea.
Time for awaking the tea lady’s making
a brew-up and baking new bread.
Pick me up at half past none
there’s not a moment to lose.
There is the train on which I came.
On the platform are my old shoes.
Station master rings his bell.
Whistles blow and flags wave.
A little of what you fancy does you good (Or so it should).
I thank everybody
for making me welcome.
I’d stay but my wings have just dropped off.

Hail! Son of kings make the ever-dying sign
cross your fingers in the sky for those about to BE.
There am I waiting along the sand.

Cast your sweet spell upon the land and sea.

Magus Perde, take your hand from off the chain.
Loose a wish to still, the rain, the storm about to BE.
Here am I (voyager into life).
Tough are the soles that tread the knife’s edge.
Break the circle,stretch the line, call upon the devil.
Bring the gods, the gods’ own fire.
In the conflict revel.
The passengers upon the ferry crossing, waiting to be born,
renew the pledge of life’s long song rise to the reveille horn.
Animals queueing at the gate that stands upon the shore
breathe the ever-burning fire that guards the ever-door.

Man – son of man – buy the flame of ever-life
(yours to breathe and breath the pain of living): living BE!
Here am I! Roll the stone away
from the dark into ever-day.

There was a rush along the Fulham Road
into the Ever-passion Play.
Songwriter:  Ian Anderson

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21 Comments Add yours

  1. Always one of my favorites.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      It’s a good’n!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Liam says:

    I’ve been trying to listen to all these songs but I’m going to abstain from listening to an entire album due to time constraints. Sorry!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      That’s ok. Every song/album I’ve posted is out on youtube if you ever get time.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. badfinger20 (Max) says:

    It’s funny how critics at the time missed some great albums during their time. Abbey Road was dissed by many critics in 69.
    I’ve been listening to this while working on a work project…I do like this

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Yes, the critics are only human, after all, and their “sentences” have harmed a lot of musicians and others. I listened to the whole thing when I put the post together to make sure the lyrics were right. I could see this being a play on stage.

      Hopefully work is going ok for you? My son has been on “maternity” leave for a couple of weeks but he’s back to half-time now.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. badfinger20 (Max) says:

        Critics…yea just like Buster Keaton’s The General…it got such negative reviews…I think sometimes with movies and music…they can be ahead of their time and it takes a while to appreciate…but yea critics had a lot of clout back then.

        New boss at work…great guy…so far so good…just a lot of new work until he settles in.

        Has he been on half time since covid or just now? When covid hit my pay was cut in half and I worked only from home…they wanted me to come back in around May and I said sure…give me my full pay or no dice…and they did.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. msjadeli says:

          I know what you mean about the critics and movies and music being ahead of their time.

          Glad you are liking your new boss and you can train him the way you like since you know everything and he knows nothing at this point. It works for awhile anyway 🙂

          He’s been working full time from home until the baby was born then he was off for 2 weeks. I think he’s on half-time for 6 weeks then back up to full time.

          Congrats on them meeting your terms! It really feels like we as a nation are crawling our way out of the dark and back into the light.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. badfinger20 (Max) says:

            Yea some are still on half pay…no way I could do that…it did save money not going to work but not that much.

            I know he must be excited…that was the best and scariest night of my life when Bailey was born….wheres the owners manual????

            Liked by 1 person

            1. msjadeli says:

              🙂 They sent me a picture of her smiling yesterday. I thought my heart would burst right then and there.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. badfinger20 (Max) says:

                That is so cool…I can’t wait til I get that….oh wait…yea I can a little longer! lol. That is so cool Lisa.


  4. I’ve listened to the whole album now, and alas, I can’t say I’m a fan. I can kind of imagine it as a play, but I’ll stick to other Tull favorites.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Deborah, I truly appreciate you giving it a try. Plenty of others to choose from, you’re right 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. memadtwo says:

    Another one to revisit. (K)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. ahtdoucette says:

    I don’t have time to listen to the whole album, but I like the way it’s starting so far, the beat and the energy. Sounds like it is going to be fun. Interesting title. Maybe another time. I like it so far.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is the one for me! I loved it then and I’m pretty sure I will again when I listen to it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Glad you like this one. It’s got some fun bits in it.


  8. saree says:

    Super album; I loved it

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m sorry I don’t have time to listen to the entire album. I may put this one on pause and move on with the last two posts then try to resume while I do some chores. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      This one’s also out on youtube if you want to listen later.


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