The song was written by the band's frontman, Ian Anderson, and his then-wife Jennie Franks. Like many of Jethro Tull's songs, "Aqualung" tells a story —in this case, the story of a homeless man who's pedophilic, dirty, and dripping snot.Aqualung was Jethro Tull's first American Top 10 album, reaching #7 in June 1971.
The original recording runs for 6 minutes and 34 seconds, the first six notes of "Aqualung" may well demonstrate Anderson's clear interest in Beethoven and his fifth symphony. Also, the song contains what might well be considered Martin Barre's most stunning and melodic guitar solo in his entire career. Twenty years later, after he laid down that solo, he said: "The only thing I can remember about cutting the solo is that Led Zeppelin was recording next door, and as I was playing it, Jimmy Page walked into the control room and waved to me. How I didn't stop playing I don't know, but I carried on somehow". "Aqualung" was named the 90th greatest hard rock song by VH1 in 2009.