Greatest Album Cover!
I loved this album cover as a kid.
Don't forget the COMIC fold out!
The original idea for the album was to be a rock musical, similar to the Kinks' mid-1970s outputs (e.g., Preservation Act 1, Preservation Act 2 and Schoolboys in Disgrace). It would follow an aging and retired rock star named Ray Lomas as he wins money on a decadent quiz show, but finds that society has changed so much that, with no one left like him anymore, he has no way of enjoying his money the way he did in the 1950s. He then decides to commit suicide via motorcycle crash but fails and lands himself in a hospital in suspended animation for an undetermined amount of time.
When he awakes he discovers society has changed again, and his style of dress and music are now popular again. In addition, the advanced medicine he is treated with after disfiguring his face and damaging his body in the crash makes him twenty years younger. He has become an overnight sensation with the young kids who now try to dress and act like him.
However, much of this story is only explained in a cartoon strip included with the album. The actual score of the album does not follow the strip exactly, leaving out details or, in some cases, changing the plot.
Jethro Tull frontman Ian Anderson has always said this album was not meant to be autobiographical of him as an aging songwriter, since he was young at the time. He 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.