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Jethro Tull: Too Old to Rock’n’Roll: Too Young to Die!

Jethro Tull: Too Old to Rock’n’Roll: Too Young to Die! (Chrysalis CDP 32 1111 2)

Too Old to Rock’n’Roll: Too Young to Die!
Jethro Tull

Chrysalis CHR 1111 (LP, UK, March 1976)
Chrysalis 6307 572 (LP, GER, 1976)
Chrysalis CDP 32 1111 2 (CD, AAD, UK)

Produced by Ian Anderson for Five Star Records;
Engineered by Robin Black with assistance from Trevor White and Peter Smith;
Recorded at Radio Monte Carlo by the Maison Rouge Mobile Studio


Ian Anderson: vocals, acoustic guitar, flute, harmonica, occasional electric guitar and percussion;
Martin Barre: electric guitar;
John Evan: piano;
Barriemore Barlow: drums and percussion;
John Glascock: bass and vocals

David Palmer: arranging and conducting the orchestra, sax solo [5];
Maddy Prior: vocals [8];
Angela Allen: vocals [2, 7]


Side 1

  1. Quizz Kid (5.12)
  2. Crazed Institution (4.49)
  3. Salamander (2.52)
  4. Taxi Grab (3.56)
  5. From a Dead Beat to an Old Greaser (4.12)

Side 2

  1. Bad-Eyed And Loveless (2.12)
  2. Big Dipper (3.38)
  3. Too Old to Rock’n’Roll: Too Young to Die! (5.43)
  4. Pied Piper (4.36)
  5. The Chequered Flag (Dead or Alive) (5.23)

All songs written by Ian Anderson;
All tracks published by Five Star Publishing Ltd. © 1976


Quizz Kid

Cut along the dotted line - slip in and seal the flap.
Postal competition crazy, though you wear the dunce’s cap.
Win a fortnight in Ibiza - line up for the big hand out.
You’ll never know unless you try - what winning’s all about -
be a quizz kid.
Be a whizz kid.

Six days later there’s a rush telegram
Drop everything and telephone this number if you can.
It’s a free trip down to London for a weekend of high life.
They’ll wine you; dine you; undermine you -
better not bring the wife -
be a quizz kid.
Be a whizz kid.

It’s a try out for a quizz show that millions watch each week.
Following the fate and fortunes of contestants as they speak.
Answerable to everyone; responsible to all; publicity dissected -
brain cells splattered on the walls of encyclopaedic knowledge.
May be barbaric but it’s fun.
As the clock ticks away a lifetime,
hold your head up to the gun of a million cathode ray tubes
aimed at your tiny skull.
May you find sweet inspiration - may your memory not be dull.
May you rise to dizzy success.
May your wit be quick and strong.
May you constantly amaze us.
May your answers not be wrong.
May your head be on your shoulders.
May your tongue be in your cheek.
And most of all we pray that you may come back next week!
Be a quizz kid.
Be a whizz kid.

Crazed Institution

Just a little touch of make-up; just a little touch of bull;
just a little 3-chord trick embedded in your platform soul;
you can wear a gold Piaget on your Semaphore wrist;
you can dance the old adage with a dapper new twist.
And you can ring a crown of roses round your cranium,
live and die upon your cross of platinum.
Join the crazed institution of the stars.
Be the man that you think (know) you really are.

Crawl inside your major triad, curl up and laugh
as your agent scores another front page photograph.
Is it them or is it you throwing dice inside the loo
awaiting someone else to pull the chain.
Well grab the old bog-handle, hold your breath and light a candle.
Clear your throat and pray for rain to irrigate the corridors that echo in
your brain filled with empty nothingness, empty hunger pains.

And you can ring a crown of roses round your cranium,
live and die upon your cross of platinum.
Join the crazed institution of the stars.
Be the man that you think (know) you really are.


Salamander -
born in the sun-kissed flame.
Who was it lit your candle -
branded you with your name?
I see you walking by my window
in your Kensington haze.
Salamander, burn for me
and I’ll burn for you.

Taxi Grab

Shake a leg, it’s the big rush,
can’t find a taxi can’t find a bus.
Bodies jammed in the underground
evacuating London town.
Nowhere to put your feet
as the big store shoppers and the pavements meet.
Red lights - pin stripes - short step shuffle into the night.
Tea time calls - the Bingo Halls open at seven in the old front stalls.
How about a Taxi Grab.

There’s an empty cab by the taxi stand
driver’s in the café washing his hands.
Big diesel idles - the keys inside -
c’mon Sally let’s take a ride.
Flag down - uptown - no sweat.
For rush hour travel, it’s the best bet yet.
Taxi Grab.

From a Dead Beat to an Old Greaser

From a dead beat to an old greaser, here’s thinking of you.
You won’t remember the long nights;
coffee bars; black tights and white thighs
in shop windows where blonde assistants fully-fashioned a world made
of dummies (with no mummies or daddies to reject them).
When bombs were banned every Sunday and the Shadows played F.B.I.
And tired young sax-players sold their instruments of torture -
sat in the station sharing wet dreams of Charlie Parker,
Jack Kerouac, Ren\’e Magritte, to name a few of the heroes
who were too wise for their own good - left the young brood to
go on living without them.

Old queers with young faces - who remember your name,
though you’re a dead beat with tired feet;
two ends that don’t meet.
To a dead beat from an old greaser.

Think you must have me all wrong.
I didn’t care, friend. I wasn’t there, friend,
If it’s the price of pint that you need, ask me again.

Bad-Eyed and Loveless

Yes’n she’s bad-eyed and she’s loveless.
A young man’s fancy and an old man’s dream.
I’m self raising and I flower in her company.
Give me no sugar without her cream.

She’s a warm fart at Christmas.
She’s a breath of champagne on sparkling night.
Yes’n she’s bad-eyed and she’s loveless.
Turns other women to envious green.
Yes’n she’s bad-eyed and she’s loveless.
She’s a young man’s vision - in my old man’s dream.

Big Dipper

The mist rolls off the beaches:
the train rolls into the station.
Weekend happiness seekers - pent-up saturation.
Well, we don’t mean anyone any harm,
we weren’t on the Glasgow train.
See you at the Pleasure Beach:
roller-coasting heroes.
Big Dipper riding -
we’ll give the local lads a hiding
if they keep us from the ladies
hanging out in the penny arcades.
Shaking up the Tower Ballroom
throwing up in the bathroom.
Landlady’s in the backroom -
I’m the Big Dipper -
it’s the weekend rage.

Rich widowed landlady give me your spare front door key.
If you’re 39 or over, I’ll make love to you next Thursday -
I may stay over for a week or two
drop a postcard to my mum.
I’ll see you at the waltzer -
we’ll go big-dipping daily.

Too Old to Rock ’n’ Roll: Too Young to Die

The old Rocker wore his hair too long,
wore his trouser cuffs too tight.
Unfashionable to the end - drank his ale too light.
Death’s head belt buckle - yesterday’s dreams -
the transport caf’ prophet of doom.
Ringing no change in his double-sewn seams
in his post-war-babe gloom.

Now he’s too old to Rock’n’Roll but he’s too young to die.

He once owned a Harley Davidson and a Triumph Bonneville.
Counted his friends in burned-out spark plugs
and prays that he always will.
But he’s the last of the blue blood greaser boys
all of his mates are doing time:
married with three kids up by the ring road
sold their souls straight down the line.
And some of them own little sports cars
and meet at the tennis club do’s.
For drinks on a Sunday - work on Monday.
They’ve thrown away their blue suede shoes.

Now they’re too old to Rock’n’Roll and they’re too young to die.

So the old Rocker gets out his bike
to make a ton before he takes his leave.
Up on the A1 by Scotch Corner
just like it used to be.
And as he flies - tears in his eyes -
his wind-whipped words echo the final take
and he hits the trunk road doing around 120
with no room left to brake.

And he was too old to Rock’n’Roll but he was too young to die.
No, you’re never too old to Rock’n’Roll if you’re too young to die.

Pied Piper

Now if you think Ray blew it,
there was nothing to it.
They patched him up as good as new.
You can see him every day -
riding down the queen’s highway,
handing out his small cigars to the kids from school.
And all the little girls with their bleached blond curls
clump up on their platform soles.
And they say “Hey Ray - let’s ride away
downtown where we can roll some alley bowls.”
And Ray grins from ear to here, and whispers...

So follow me. Trail along.
my leather jacket’s buttoned up.
And my four-stroke song
will pick you up when your last class ends;
and you can tell all your friends:
The Pied Piper pulled you,
The mad biker fooled you,
I’ll do what you want to:
If you ride with me on a Friday
anything goes.

So follow me, hold on tight.
My school girl fancy’s flowing in free flight.
I’ve a tenner in my skin tight jeans.
You can touch it if your hands are clean.

The Pied Piper pulled you,
the mad biker folled you,
I’ll do what you want to:
If you ride with me on a Friday
anything goes.

The Chequered Flag (Dead or Alive)

The disc brakes drag,
the chequered flag sweeps across the oil-slick track.
The young man’s home; dry as a bone.
His helmet off, he waves: the crowd waves back.
One lap victory roll. Gladiator soul.
The taker of the day in winning has to say,
Isn’t it grand to be playing to the stand,
dead or alive.

The sunlight streaks through the curtain cracks,
touches the old man where he sleeps.
The nurse brings up a cup of tea -
two biscuits and the morning paper mystery.
The hard road’s end, the white god’s-send
is nearer everyday, in dying the old man says,
Isn’t it grand to be playing to the stand,
dead or alive.

The still-born child can’t feel the rain
as the chequered flag falls once again.
The deaf composer completes his final score.
He’ll never hear the sweet encore.
The chequered flag, the bull’s red rag,
the lemming-hearted hordes
running ever faster to the shore singing,
Isn’t it grand to be playing to the stand,
dead or alive.