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Old 09-12-2012, 03:16 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default An introduction to Progressive Rock


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It has occurred to me that there may be people who are fans of this genre but don't even know it(or at least not familiar with the term "progressive rock," "prog rock" etc). Some of you may have seen the section for "progressive rock" and not know what that means. So I decided to start this thread to help the newbies or fans of classic rock or those who want a primer.


Simply put, if you are a fan of Yes, Genesis(before they made frequent appearances in the top forty), Rush, Dream Theater, Jethro Tull(some of it anyway), Emerson, Lake and Palmer or King Crimson or even Pink Floyd then you may be a prog fan. Even the band Kansas could be lumped into the genre(especially their early stuff).

Genesis, Yes, Pink Floyd and Rush are household names to most rock fans(if not then you need to get out more). However, there are tons of lesser known bands(such as Gentle Giant, Focus, Camel, Renaissance, Van der Graaf Generator(VDGG for short), Nektar, Gong and Caravan for starters)and newer bands such as Riverside, Porcupine Tree, The Mars Volta, Dream Theater, Glass Hammer, Transatlantic, The Flower Kings and Spock's Beard(again, for starters).

A few essential albums(that would also make great introductions)would include:

Pink Floyd-Wish you were here (I suspect most already own Dark side of the moon;if not then go get it asap).

Emerson, Lake and Palmer(ELP)- Brain salad surgery

King Crimson- In the court of the Crimson King

Genesis- Selling England by the Pound

Yes-Close to the Edge

Jethro Tull-Thick as a Brick(Be warned as it's one long 45 minute track)


Now the next time someone asks you "do you know what progressive rock is?" You can say "why, yes, yes I do."

If someone asks you what is progressive rock and or how do you define it, well that's a different story. Prog typically is rock that operates outside the box so to speak. It's not that prog bands don't ever write short catchy songs since many of them did or do(especially in the waning days of prog's initial era when bands were urged to become more commercial and make more concise and radio friendly songs and albums)but the whole point of prog was to stretch boundaries and try new things musicially while still using a rock foundation. Songs could be as long as they needed to be and were often arranged more as suites often taking up an entire side of vinyl. Also instead of the usually 4/4 time signature, progressive rock often utilized unusual time signatures such as 7/8 etc. The basic rock instrumentation of guitars, bass and drums were augmented by adding more keyboards including synthesizers and mellotrons, strings, horns, woodwinds etc. Lyrics often dealt with topics not normally found in standard rock n roll such as philosophy, spirituality as well as the often cited fantasy and sci fi themes that often stereotype the genre. Progressive rock is music for those who want to take a journey and visit places they may not have thought possible from a so called normal rock band.

Last edited by Bonham'ssqueakypedal; 09-14-2012 at 07:33 PM. Reason: more information necessary
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Old 09-12-2012, 06:06 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: An introduction to Progressive Rock

Thank you for the introduction to prog rock BSP. Hopefully people will follow up on your post and educate themselves.
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Old 09-12-2012, 07:07 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: An introduction to Progressive Rock

You're welcome. I posted it mainly so people could understand who is considered prog rock so if they wish they can educate themselves further. If people don't know what it is then they can't know what it is they do or don't like. They might see the "progressive rock" forum but not be inclined to check it out because they don't know what that is.

It would be like me not ordering a cup of coffee in Spain simply because I didn't know what the Spanish word for coffee is. I know I already like coffee but I would need someone to tell me the word in Spanish so I could order it.

So if anyone has ever heard Pink Floyd or Yes or King Crimson or whatever and thought they were not really normal rock well now you know the technical term(ie progressive rock)that is often applied to these adventurous rock bands.
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Old 09-12-2012, 07:10 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: An introduction to Progressive Rock

^^Your OP was first class Bonham'SP, I've been a prog fan since I was 14 years old.
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Old 09-12-2012, 07:24 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: An introduction to Progressive Rock

Cool. How old were you when you realized you were a prog fan?
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Old 09-12-2012, 07:33 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I discovered I loved prog the first time my older brother played his brand new copy of Dark Side of the Moon. We wore that record out in a few months. Next came Fragile and from then on I was hooked on prog.
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Old 09-13-2012, 03:27 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: An introduction to Progressive Rock

I'm a prog rock fan as well!
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Old 09-13-2012, 03:40 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: An introduction to Progressive Rock

Nice post!! Another prog fan here...love Close To The Edge but I would have to go with Fragile as the key album when it comes to YES

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Old 09-14-2012, 07:30 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: An introduction to Progressive Rock

Your definition for prog was top class!
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Old 09-14-2012, 10:38 PM   #10 (permalink)
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My first true introduction to Prog was Mike Oldfield and "Tubular Bells". There are not too many people who have not heard this song, thanks to the movie "Exorcist".


My next experience with Prog was Yes, then came Pink Floyd and Genesis. All of these bands still rank very high on my 'best of' lists.


As I dug more into Prog, I discovered ELP via "Brain Salad Surgery". Keith Emerson just dazzles my ears with his keyboard work. I have to say I believe ELP to be my favorite prog band.



Most recently, I have discovered Porcupine Tree, thanks to an old buddy from another forum. PT has some top notch work.



There is an album out called "Wonderous Stories: A Complete Introduction to Progressive Rock"




This is an excellent 4 disc set with a fabulous tracklisting:


Disc 1:
1.Season Of The Witch - Sam Gopal
2.Walking In The Park - Colosseum
3.Song For The Bearded Lady - Nucleus
4.Darkness (11/11) - Van Der Graaf Generator
5.Diana - Comus
6.Aqualung (Live) - Jethro Tull
7.Devil's Answer - Atomic Rooster
8.Evil Woman's Manly Child - Dr. Z
9.Mice And Rats In The Loft - Jan Dukes De Grey
10.Back Street Luv - Curved Air
11.Roundabout - Yes
12.Golf Girl - Caravan
13.The Four Horsemen - Aphrodite's Child


Disc 2:
1.From The Beginning - Emerson, Lake & Palmer
2.Tubular Bells (Original theme from the Exorcist) - Mike Oldfield
3.Oily Way - Gong
4.Epic Forest - Rare Bird
5.Macarthur Park - Beggars Opera
6.In A Glass House - Gentle Giant
7.Lord Of The Ages - Magna Carta
8.Opening Move - Gryphon
9.The Seventh Secret - Fruup
10.School - Supertramp
11.Merlin The Magician - Rick Wakeman
12.Child Of The Universe - Barclay James Harvest


Disc 3:
1.Wondrous Stories - Yes
2.Hurdy Gurdy Man - Steve Hillage
3.Air Born - Camel
4.Fanfare For The Common Man - Emerson, Lake & Palmer
5.A Farewell To Kings - Rush
6.The Mighty Quinn - Manfred Mann's Earth Band
7.Some Are Born - Jon Anderson
8.Mocking Bird - Barclay James Harvest
9.Sasquatch - Camel
10.Five Miles Out - Mike Oldfield
11.Pussy Willow - Jethro Tull
12.Touch And Go - Emerson, Lake & Powell
13.I Know You're Out There Somewhere - The Moody Blues
14.Jigsaw - Marillion


Disc 4:
1.Eyes In The Night (Arrive Alive) - Pallas
2.The Weapon - Rush
3.The Old Man And The Angel - It Bites
4.The Moment Is Here - World Trade
5.Pull Me Under - Dream Theater
6.I Am I - Queensryche
7.The Drapery Falls - Opeth
8.Stranger In A Strange Land - Spock's Beard
9.Ten Speed (Of God's Blood & Burial) - Coheed and Cambria
10.Awakening - The Reasoning
11.Since We've Been Wrong - The Mars Volta
12.Going Home - Eureka
13.Frequency - IQ



I would recommend this compilation to anyone who wants to get a full prog experience.
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