Aqualung

Not sitting on a park bench

Lifelong passion: Aqualung's Matt Hales is an old hand at a young age.
Lifelong passion: Aqualung's Matt Hales is an old hand at a young age.

Only because this is Arizona do we make this disclaimer: If you think this is the Rich Little of Jethro Tull tribute bands, don't hold your locomotive breath. England's Aqualung is Matt Hales, and according to his official bio, he was a child prodigy who wrote his first songs at age 4 and his first symphony at age 17, back when no one dared to compare him to Thom Yorke or Keene. From there, he's made superlative Britpop in bands like The 45s and Ruth (think Zumpano with Madness melodies) before going solo in 2000 (in 1995, though, he released a dance cover version of a-ha's "Take On Me" under the Aqualung name, which his bio neglects to mention but which puts the bad pencil drawing on his eponymous debut CD into perspective). Neither of his Aqualung albums has been released domestically, but their contents have been chopped up and corralled into the U.S.-only collection Strange and Beautiful, named after the hit song that won Aqualung worldwide fame in a Volkswagen commercial, which also did wonders for Nick Drake's posthumous career. More wicked trivia: A second promotional video had to be reshot for this song because it was believed the original one was "too introverted."

 
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