50 Greatest Prog Rock Albums of All Time

From the Court of the Crimson King to the Comatorium

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Jethro Tull, 'Thick as a Brick' (1972)
50
7/50

7. Jethro Tull, 'Thick as a Brick' (1972)

Miffed that many critics mistook 1971's Aqualung for a concept album, Tull leader Ian Anderson decided to follow it up by parodying the entire concept-album concept. Consisting of one nearly 44-minute song stretched across a dizzying array of movements, Thick as a Brick came wrapped in a Monty Python-esque newspaper sleeve that attributed the song's lyrics to a fictional schoolboy and even "reviewed" the album within. It was a brilliant prank — one so seamlessly executed, in fact, that most people didn't get the joke. Not that they needed to in order to enjoy it. As Rolling Stone noted at the time, "Whether or not Thick as a Brick is an isolated experiment, it's nice to know that someone in rock has ambitions beyond the four- or five-minute conventional track, and has the intelligence to carry out his intentions, in all their intricacy, with considerable grace." D.E.

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