"Aqualung" is a song by the British progressive rock band Jethro Tull, and the title track from their Aqualung (1971) album. The song was written by the band's frontman, Ian Anderson, and his then-wife Jennie Franks.


While this track was never a single, its eponymous album Aqualung was Jethro Tull's first American Top 10 album, reaching number seven in June 1971.


The lyrics convey a story of a homeless man named Aqualung. In stanzas 1 and 2, he is shown as a dirty tramp—possibly a pedophile ("Eying little girls with bad intent" and "Watching as the frilly panties run"). He cannot but evoke a sense of hopelessness and disgust, as not a single person in the world would ever help him. Aqualung is alone and sick, doomed to "bend to pick a dog-end" (British slang for a discarded cigarette butt). He is miserable—on the bottom of the society's status hierarchy (homeless, lonely, sexually attracted to little girls), sick, dying, and in pain.


He stands in stark contrast to the only other character portrayed in the song—Ian Anderson. Anderson is a rich and famous rock star—on the top of the status hierarchy for a young man in the counterculture of 1971. In stanza 3, Aqualung sees a light of hope for compassion, arising in encounter of the very storyteller (Aqualung my friend, don't you start away uneasy). But still, in stanza 4, Aqualung is "snatch<ing his> rattling last breaths". The indifference to grief is nevertheless reigning on earth, "and the flowers bloom like madness in the spring".


Despite the enormous gulf in status and wealth between Aqualung and Ian Anderson, Anderson portrays himself as a friend, saying "my friend, don't you start away uneasy". He suggests that they have some kind of ongoing relationship. When he says, "You poor old sod, you see it's only me", he implies that Aqualung should recognize him as a friendly face.





Lyrics


Sitting on a park bench

Eyeing little girls with bad intent

Snot running down his nose

Greasy fingers smearing shabby clothes

Hey, Aqualung

Drying in the cold sun

Watching as the frilly panties run

Hey, Aqualung

Feeling like a dead duck

Spitting out pieces of his broken luck

Whoa, Aqualung


Sun streaking cold, an old man wandering lonely

Taking time the only way he knows

Leg hurting bad as he bends to pick a dog-end

He goes down to the bog and warms his feet

Feeling alone, the army's up the road

Salvation a la mode and a cup of tea

Aqualung my friend, don't you start away uneasy

You poor old sod, you see, it's only me


Do you still remember

December's foggy freeze?

When the ice that

Clings on to your beard was

Screaming agony (Hey!)

And you snatch your rattling last breaths

With deep-sea-diver sounds

And the flowers bloom like

Madness in the spring


Sun streaking cold, an old man wandering lonely

Taking time the only way he knows

Leg hurting bad as he bends to pick a dog-end

He goes down to the bog and warms his feet

Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh

Feeling alone, the army's up the road

Salvation a la mode and a cup of tea

Aqualung my friend, don't you start away uneasy

You poor old sod, you see, it's only me

Me-me-me-me-me

Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh


[Guitar Solo]


[Bridge]

Dee-dee-dee-dee

Dee-dee-dee-dee-dee-dee-dee

Dee-dee-dee-dee-dee-dee

Dee-dee-dee-dee

Aqualung, my friend, don't you start away uneasy

You poor old sod, you see, it's only me


Sitting on a park bench

Eyeing little girls with bad intent

Snot running down his nose

Greasy fingers smearing shabby clothes

Hey, Aqualung

Drying in the cold sun

Watching as the frilly panties run

Hey, Aqualung

Feeling like a dead duck

Spitting out pieces of his broken luck

Hey, Aqualung


[Outro]

Whoa, Aqualung