Tull's initial musical approach was torn between Mick Abrahams blues vision and Ian Andersons more unique approach. When Abrahams left, his replacement Martin Barre became the key player in Tulls move towards a more progressive style.
recording sessions for this album started in April 69. One month
later, the band scored their first U.K. hit with "Living In The
Past," which charted at #3 (included in the remastered release)..
Starting with "Stand Up," the bands use of dynamics,
Celtic Folk, and classically-oriented tonal structures, along with
Ian Andersons flute playing and songwriting, became Jethro Tulls
signature. Simply put, "Stand Up" was the genesis of Tull's
sound and, not surprisingly, is one of Anderson's favorite Tull records.
Reflecting back, "Stand Up" seems an obvious career turn but at its release, the reality was Tull risked a great deal. The turn from the blue-orientated approach displeased important Tull radio and promoter connections.
"A New Day Yesterday" is almost a holdover from "This Was" with its blues-stylings while "Nothing is Easy," common in concert sets, is a blues-jazz fusion. "Bouree," a "cocktail jazz" (Ian's words) rework of a J.S. Bach classical piece, would become a Tull classic and an almost must for any concert set. Many Tull fans presume Far Eastern influences on the band's music begin with Anderson's solo album "Divinities." Yet, traces can be found in "Fat Man" (sometimes considered a jab at departed guitarist Mick Abrahams) and "Jeffrey Goes to Leicester Square," one of three Tull songs devoted to Ian's boyhood friend Jeffrey Hammond who would later join the band.
While hardly a "concept" album, lyrically the album devotes a lot to Anderson's relationship with his parents (a subject continued on "Benefit") and coping with new found pop stardom.
This was the first album to be filled with songs written and arranged by Ian Anderson, the bands first album to chart in the U.S. top 20, and their first album to hit #1 in the U.K. It hit #1 two days after its release and stayed there for eight weeks!