“Aqualung”, Jethro Tull, 1971.
Jethro Tull really made an impression in the US with their 1971 album, Aqualung. In fact it was the most successful prog rock album that the US had scene up to that point. (The Moody Blues also had a hit album in 1971, but it doesn’t compare to the success they experienced in 1972.) Prog rock had mostly been successful only in the UK before 1971, but this is the year that it started to get a foothold in the US.
Aqualung seemed like a concept album to most people (exploring the distinction between God and religion). The main people who didn’t think it was a concept album are the band members of Jethro Tull themselves. Once they saw people were interpreting it as a concept album, they decided to be more intentional about making their next album a concept album with the spirit of, “Oh, so you think that’s a concept album? I’ll show YOU a concept album….”
The album peaked at #4 in the UK and #7 in the US. It has sold over 7 million copies to date. I have included the title track as this entry, although it was never released as a single.