Glascock, Jethro Tull's third bass player, was the first member
of Jethro Tull to have had a recording career that didn't start
with Ian Anderson. He was
with the band for only four years (1975-1979), before he died suddenly
at the age of twenty eight from complications stemming from a congenital
Pleasant, unaffected, and highly competent, John was well liked by the other
members of the band; he and Barrie Barlow were
particularly close. He enjoyed playing for Jethro Tull, and is remembered fondly
by fans for his energetic performances and his flamboyant stage clothes, many
of which he sewed himself.
Although known primarily for his work with Jethro Tull, John had already had
an impressive career beforehand, playing on a total of eight albums starting
at age seventeen, seven of which are available today on CD. His first venture
into music, however, was with a single he made with the Juniors, a quintet
which included future Rolling Stone Mick Taylor, and his older brother Brian
on drums (Brian is best known as the drummer of the Motels). In spite of their
brief existence, they were written up in fan magazines, and opened at a pop
festival at Wembley Stadium.
John was left handed, but played right handed bass with a pick. He changed
his strings daily, to keep his sound precise. His lyrical, melodic style was
greatly influenced by Paul McCartney, whom he had to good fortune to meet while
in the Juniors. John's earlier work comprised several different styles of music,
ranging from progressive rock with Ken Hensley and Lee Kerslake in the Gods,
soul and blues with Cliff Bennett in Toe Fat, and more blues in Chicken Shack,
a band which remained obscure in the United States but enjoyed a huge following
in the U.K. and Europe.
In spite of John's years around the London music scene, it was his detour through
Los Angeles that wound up bringing him to Jethro Tull, a band he had long admired.
In 1972, John went to visit Brian, who was living in L.A., to check out the
avant-garde Flamenco-Rock fusion band his brother was playing in. The band,
to be known as Carmen, had excellent credentials and a fresh, unique sound.
They didn't fit into any existing rock genre, and were finding it difficult
to find a market. Carmen needed a bass player, so John decided to stay, intrigued
by the art of Flamenco, and left the success of Chicken Shack for a new venture.
It appeared for a while that everything was going to go right for Carmen, They
moved to London, recorded two albums with Tony Visconti, David Bowie's producer,
appeared with Bowie on the Midnight Special, toured England, and then returned
to the United States to open for major rock acts. In January 1975, they landed
a 13 week engagement, opening for Jethro Tull on the War Child tour.
It was after the tour with Jethro Tull, where Ian first encountered John, the
band found out they were broke, they no longer had a recording contract, and
that their upcoming tour opening for the Rolling Stones had fallen through.
That, coupled with their drummer's serious injury from a fall off a horse abruptly
ended the band in 1975. John found himself suddenly unemployed at the not-yet-famous
Long View Farm, in North Brookfield, Massachusetts, where he chose to stay
for several months, working on the farm in exchange for the privilege of using
the recording studio at the farm. With Jeffrey
Hammond's departure at hand, Ian asked John to audition for him, after
hearing of Carmen's demise.
John had been with Jethro Tull three years, when he became gravely ill on the
Heavy Horses European tour. It was discovered that a tooth infection had spread
to his heart, seriously damaging a weak valve, a condition he had inherited
from his father. He underwent major heart surgery, to replace the valve, but
he never totally recovered. John missed the 1978 Bursting Out tour in the U.S
in the fall of 1978, then returned for the second leg the following spring.
He played his last gig on May 1, 1979, in San Antonio, Texas, three years to
the day of his first gig with Jethro Tull. John's condition deteriorated during
the recording of the Stormwatch album, forcing him to leave Jethro Tull.
He was replaced by David Pegg.
On November 17, 1979, after his body ultimately rejected the new valve placed
in his heart, John Glascock died. The suddenness of his death, especially at
his young age was a terrible and lasting shock to the many people who loved
him, and didn't get to say goodbye. To this day he is sadly missed.
JOHN GLASCOCK DISCOGRAPHY:
(not including work with Jethro Tull)
There's a Pretty Girl/Pocketsize Decca
1968 GENESIS Columbia SCX 6286 Repertoire CD REP 4418-WY
Baby's Rich/Somewhere in the Street Columbia DB 8486
Hey Bulldog/Real Love Guaranteed Columbia D 8544
1969 TO SAMUEL, A SON Columbia SCX 6372 Repertoire
CD REP 4555-WY
Maria/LongTime, Bad Time, Sad Time Columbia DB 8572
1970 TOE FAT Rare Earth RS 511 Repertoire CD REP 4416-WY
1971 TOE FAT TWO Rare Earth RS 525 Repertoire CD REP 4417-WY
BGO CD 278 UK
(both records on one CD)
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