Simply the case that which artist first come to mind that is simultaneously an all time great artist and awful and allow people here to fill in what they interpret that to mean while at the same sharing what I meant.
Now I know that there is a lot of people point out that almost every artist with longevity will eventually reach a period of mediocrity. There are countless great artist who wrote series of bad albums in the 80's that it has become a cliche.
However most of those artist I would never say they are awful because they wrote so many great albums and great songs that I think it's silly to judge their career out of their peak period.
For example The Beach Boys sucked in the 80's onward but they wrote 2 decades of good to great work that people calling them an awful band seems like wilful ignorance.
Jethro Tull on the other hand I would be tempted to agree with the awful tag more than any other artist and be more harsh towards their late career deterioration.
I mentioned the period between debut to TAAB as the peak period. however in reality the debut, Benefit I just consider to be decent 10/15 type album. I consider it a peak period simply because the debut album is a good album and hence a class above every other post-TAAB album and hence within the same era where Jethro Tull was writing good music.
However Jethro Tull only have three significant albums that makes them an all time great band. Stand Up (12/15), Aqualung (13/15) and Thick As A Brick (14/15)
So the peak period of Jethro Tull is significantly shorter than the peak period of other classic rock band as it is only 3 albums. Which is relatively paltry.
- Jumped the shark in 1973 which is significantly earlier than most classic rock bands where they only went downhill in the 80's.
- There was no solid decent albums. Even when bands are past their peak they still produce listenable albums eg. The Kinks produce some decent solid albums such as Sleepwalker, Misfit, low Budget and State Of Confusion while nowhere near their peak works of the 60's are still solid listen.
- Nil late career revival. Most classic rock groups follow the formula of sucking in the 80's and then having a comeback album in the 90's and 00's where they produce decent album. ie. Bob Dylan and Paul McCartney, Steve Hackett. Deep Purple had Perpendicular. Even Ray Davies who is normally used as a great artist gone bad had "Other People's Lives" as perfectly good return to form solo album.
- Absent of even isolated good song. Deep Purple post Machine Head era album aren't particularly good. However the song Burn and Mistreated, Stormbringer, Rat Bat Blue are good songs even if the album it is on sucked. Jethro Tull I struggled to even mention one good song after TAAB.
- No mitigation as live artist. Again Deep Purple were still a good live band during the Coverdale era (I am not the only one who has this opinion, both John Mcferrin and George Starostin gave their live albums decent scores). Jethro Tull has a good live reputation with Live Bursting out, however having listen to that album along with the bonus CD with all their reissues of the 70's that has full concerts I can't say I agree with that.