Jethro Tull: “Too Old to Rock ‘n’ Roll, Too Young to Die”

ALBUM: Too Old to Rock ‘n’ Roll, Too Young to Die

YEAR: 1976

WRITER: Ian Anderson

A rock radio airplay hit, it didn’t make the pop chart.

As we’ve seen in many political campaigns, artists aren’t always in control of how their songs are used. Ian Anderson recalls a particular instance of a Jethro Tull song being used in a way he’d never intended — to help depose a Panamanian dictator. “‘Too Old to Rock ‘n’ Roll,’ I think, was a track that was played by the C.I.A. to get Noriega out of his safe sanctuary. They were bombarding him with psychological warfare via a Jethro Tull track. [Laughs] ‘Too Old to Rock ‘n’ Roll,’ a message he couldn’t ignore.”

The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus — the unaired 1968 British TV special that includes the only performance Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath¬†ever did as Jethro Tull’s lead guitarist — was finally released on video and album 20 years ago today (October 12th, 1996).


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