Song Lyric Sunday — The Rock Flutist

For this week’s Song Lyric Sunday, Jim Adams has given the theme selection over to Maggie at From Cave Walls. Maggie chose to challenge us with songs that feature wind instruments, which include brass instruments (horns, trumpets, trombones, euphoniums, and tubas) and woodwind instruments (recorders, flutes, oboes, clarinets, saxophones, and bassoons. My first inclination was to go with “Yakety Sax” by Boots Randolph, but that song has no lyrics and since this is Song Lyric Sunday…. Still, I’ve attached a video of that song at the end of this post.

My actual pick is “Living in the Past,” a song by the group Jethro Tull. It features, as do most Jethro Tull songs, flutist Ian Anderson. So my representative instrument for this prompt is the flute. But before I get into the meat of this post, a quick story.

Back in the early 70s, I scored two tickets to a Jethro Tull concert. I had been on a few dates with a girl and I asked her if she’d like to go with me to see Jethro Tull. She looked at me with her big, brown doe eyes and said, “Oh Jethro Tull. I love him.” Wrong answer. You see, Jethro Tull was an 18th century British agriculturist, and the band’s booking agent, a history enthusiast, eventually christened the band “Jethro Tull” after that agriculturist. The girl I asked to the concert may have been referring to Ian Anderson, the band’s lead vocalist, flutist, acoustic guitarist, and principal songwriter, thinking his name was Jethro Tull. But the fact that she thought that Jethro Tull was a musician and singer and not the name of the band was enough to make me lose interest in her. Anyway…

“Living in the Past” was a song by British progressive rock group Jethro Tull. One of the band’s best-known songs, it was released in the U.S. in October 1972 and became the band’s first Top 20 hit in the U.S., peaking at number 11.

According to Anderson, he wrote the song after Jethro Tull’s manager, Terry Ellis, challenged him to write a hit single, “to keep the pot boiling.” To humor him, Anderson replied, “Sure Terry, just give me a couple of hours and I’ll run upstairs to my room and write a hit single.” Anderson said that he “fiddled around with an acoustic guitar and a flute line, and it was done, really, in a couple of hours.” He added that “to further humor Terry and amuse me, I decided I’d write the least commercial thing I could by using an uncommon 5/4 time signature and a definitely not-trendy title, ‘Living in The Past.’”

About the song, Anderson explained that it was a critical reflection of the hippie lifestyle and a general naivete of the era. In an interview he said, “Lyrically it was a bit of a rejection of the swinging fashion of that post-Beatles, slightly hippy idealistic period. There were a lot of people talking pompously about love and peace and revolution and, you know, people then as now were quick to jump up and scream and shout, but they’re not actually really quite sure what they’re stamping their feet about.”

Here are the lyrics to “Living in the past.”

Happy and I’m smiling
Walk a mile to drink your water
You know I’d love to love you
And above you there’s no other

We’ll go walking out
While others shout of war’s disaster
Oh, we won’t give in
Let’s go living in the past

Once I used to join in
Every boy and girl was my friend
Now there’s revolution, but they don’t know
What they’re fighting

Let us close our eyes
Outside their lives go on much faster
Oh, we won’t give in
We’ll keep living in the past

Oh, we won’t give in
Let’s go living in the past

Oh no, no we won’t give in
Let’s go living in the past

And, as promised:

17 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday — The Rock Flutist

  1. SadiRose October 31, 2021 / 3:03 am

    Cannot like this choice enough! He (Ian) is amazing and the band worthy of being seen live as many times as one can!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango October 31, 2021 / 6:04 am

      There are so many great Jethro Tull songs and virtuoso flute performances by Ian Anderson to chose from.


  2. Maggie October 31, 2021 / 6:43 am

    I am so glad you chose to feature Jethro Tull and the talented Ian Anderson. This song ranks near the top as on of my favorites. I had all their albums back in the day. Of course I also had a number of Boots Randolph albums as well. Great choice, Fandango!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. newepicauthor October 31, 2021 / 7:41 am

    The other day I told the cashier that I just wrote a post about Stevie Nicks and she said, “Oh I love him” and that was the end of our conversation. I have always been a Jethro Tull fan, but I never knew much about this song, thanks for explaining it Fandango. You could have went with Yakety Yak as that has lyrics and it features King Curtis playing tenor saxophone, but I did enjoy Boots Randolph.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Marleen October 31, 2021 / 8:57 am

    That’s some serious talent!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango October 31, 2021 / 10:36 am

      He really is talented.


  5. TheHiddenEdge October 31, 2021 / 9:16 am

    New JT album due out next year. Really quite remarkable – me thinks!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Carol anne October 31, 2021 / 10:43 am

    cool song fandango! I had never heard it before! I enjoyed it!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Paula Light October 31, 2021 / 10:57 am

    Love them! Almost did “Skating Away,” but decided to go with the Stones 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  8. J-Dub October 31, 2021 / 5:33 pm

    This has to be my favorite from Jethro Tull. Thanks for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

  9. leigha66 November 21, 2021 / 12:06 am

    I love Jethro Tull… they were a great band. Now I need to dig through my vinyl and see if it still plays ok. Great choice!

    Liked by 1 person

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