This letter, From Martin Barre, of Jethro Tull, was written from Las Vegas, shortly after my brother, Ken Sander, and I had just met him in Los Angeles in the Summer of 1969. We were introduced by a mutual colleague and the three of us ended up adventuring around L.A. for an afternoon and an evening. Martin was one of the nicest people we ever met in the music scene. We were all on our way to being good friends…but that got swallowed up and lost in the turmoil and we never actually saw him face to face again.

Jethro Tull, collectively, was on their way up to Vegas to see Elvis's now-fabled re-emergence at the International Hotel. I'd seen it opening night and raved about it. This letter from Martin shows the passion that the Brit bands had for Elvis and their marvel/astonishment at things American in general.

Note how off-handedly he mentions declining to play Woodstock. Nobody could imagine what a blowout Woodstock would turn out be. Obviously, there was no chance to hook up the Monday after Woodstock. Phew!

[Dated] Fri [August] 15th [1969]

Dear Ellen,

Hi! Hope you got to New York O.K. - I thought I'd write to you before we returned to England. We said 'cheerio' pretty abruptly in Los Angeles. When I got back to the hotel I thought shit - what happened - it got mixed up somewhere - I think, being selfish, I was disappointed when I realised I wasn't going to see you on your own.

I didn't realise that you hadn't seen your brother, probably for some time. I wanted to tell you that and thanks for you and Kenny being really nice.

As you can see from the groovy notepaper, we made it to see Presley - we had a Cinderella night by hiring out tuxedo's [sic] -- we all looked like rich hippies and Clive [Bunker, drummer] looked like a bouncer from Liverpool [word illegible].

As you said the place was vast - I could imagine Blackpool monsters dreaming of such things. We just finished San Francisco and we're on our way to San Antonio and Houston - we were going to play Woodstock on Sunday but - couldn't make it. So we'll be in New York on Sunday and Monday. We're staying at the Midtown Inn and I'll try and phone you. - I'd like very much to see you before we go back.

Bye for now,



N.B. I had occasion to meet Ian Anderson some time later. Suffice it to say he was not nearly as personable as his guitar player, Martin.