Ian Anderson Explains The Reason Jethro Tull Wasn’t A Perfect Fit For Rock Hall

Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson recently spoke about not being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and stated that he is glad he didn’t go through the embarrassment.

Jethro Tull is an English rock band formed in 1967 and stayed active until 2012. The band later reunited in 2017 and is still actively performing. However, it went through many lineup changes, and the vocalist and lead guitarist Ian Anderson remained the only constant member of the band.

He has been there for Jethro Tull throughout his career, and he recently spoke about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony. Even though the band is considered one of the most commercially successful and eccentric progressive rock bands, they haven’t been inducted into the rock and roll hall of fame.

According to Anderson, the band is not fit for the Hall because it is an American institution related to ‘American-inspired’ music and doesn’t represent the power of musicians from other nationalities. Even though he thinks it is an appropriate ceremony for American music, due to its more nationalistic approach, he doesn’t believe that Jethro Tull belongs there.

Here is what he stated about the Hall:

“So far, it’s a sense of relief that I haven’t had to face the embarrassing prospect of being invited into the Hall of Fame, to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. I’ve maintained the position that the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is an American institution about American-inspired music. It doesn’t necessarily preclude musicians of other nationalities, but I think it’s gotta be essentially about American music. Not necessarily exactly rock and roll, so we’re not talking about Chuck Berry, Little Richard, or Elvis Presley or whatever, but we’re talking broadly speaking, pop and rock music.

There is a certain sort of American styling, and certainly, the Rolling Stones for example would fit that perfectly. Because they owe everything to American music, whereas I guess Jethro Tull, apart from the first album, I would say, not a lot of Americana in the musical styles that I tend to work with. So I don’t think we are appropriate as inductees into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.”

He went further to state that he is glad they haven’t been called to the Hall because it would be an embarrassment. While noting that he would be embarrassed to accept it, he also made sure to say that he respects the institution. Anderson also added that he could think of a few musicians that do not belong there but didn’t give any names.

Here is how he continued:

“But the other side of the coin is when the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame opened its doors, it did so with a few Jethro Tull exhibits, which I provided to them, and they were in Cleveland when the place was shiny and new, and I went to take a look. It’s not as if we’re divorced from that whole thing entirely but, I think there’s a slight difference when it comes to being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and luckily, I’m not gonna be faced with the embarrassment of having to claim that I’m washing my hair that night and I can’t actually come to wherever it is they do such things.

Historically, Jan Wenner, who is, as I know, still one of the kingpins who sit on that board and decide who will be admitted through its grand portals, he’s always had a huge dislike of Jethro Tull, from Rolling Stone days onwards. So we’re not on his list of favorites for sure, and that’s fine. That’s fine by me, but genuinely, I respect the institution of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame enormously, but I don’t think we really belong in there, and I can think of a few artists who probably do who are not part of that. They owe so much to American music, and American music owes something to them too, because they have continued to keep that flame of musical Americana alive throughout the world, even if they are not citizens of the US.”

You can watch the interview below.