Progressive Rock Music?

by hillary_step 37 Replies latest social entertainment

  • hillary_step

    I place a question mark on the thread title as I have never read a definition of this genre of rock music that seemed to fit the bill. What is generally agreed is that it is a European musical phenomena that began in the late 60's and peaked in popularity in the early 70's though it has always had an audience and one which seems to be growing in popularity again.

    My own definition is one that suggests: 'music in which the musicians can move from jazz to rock to pop to classical and back again with equal ease'. I am sure that simplifies things.

    Here are a couple of examples:

    Caravan - playing in 1990 "Nine feet Underground" from their 1969 album 'In The Land Of Grey And Pink". The performance is in two parts due to its length. Part 1Part 2

    Soft Machine - Tales of Taliesin

    Gimme 'yer clips and favorites.


  • Terry

    It seems to have all begun with Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band.

    Suddenly, there was a platform for freeform in the guise of Rock acceptability.

    Moody blues and King Crimson took the bait and configured the workhorse rock band into an adjunct of 19th century orchestra bravura.

    Had Hector Berlioz lived....perhaps he'd have done it first. Who knows?

    The 60's pulled the plug on same-old same old.

    Lalo Schifrin created interesting "jazz" albums like the Marquis de Sade (fusion of jazz and chamber music.) and There's a Whole Lalo Schifrin Going On.

    Radio stations went from playing any/everything formats to solely ONE GENRE top forty recyclings of Brit Invasion and American copycats.

    The point of it all?

    What Picasso did for (or is it "to"?) the art world---Progressive Rock would do for Rock n' Roll.

    Rhythmn and Blues hijacked black church music sensibility and packaged it in secular popularity. Why couldn't Progressive Rock do the same for average white bands?

    The fact is---money could be risked on never-before-heard ventures which employed live musicians playing something never before heard by audiences!

    This can't be a bad thing.....can it?

    An idea is only as good as its execution! Alas, some ideas were better than others.

    Pink Floyd created a monster of a performance delivery with combined artistic fusions crammed into the mind-boggling 4-Track tape machine. Same limitation as George Martin and the Beatles!!

    When it comes to any art---it is the limitation which defines the genius.

    When all the stops are pulled----all you get (or invite) is EXCESS. Often it is wretched excess!!

    How far can a 3 chord venue take us anyway??

    The advent of Progressive Rock allowed free form and wild experimentations with harmonic freedom and timbre explorations down a road from which there was no turning back.

    Then, it all collapsed in a heap!

    Can anybody doubt the hysterical histrionic overload of burned out druggies shambling about in drag and costume in aural masturbations at the volume level 11? (Where is Spinal Tap when you need them?)

    More interesting things would happen for less investment----and did.

    Only somebody like Paul McCartney, Elton John and Billy Joel can get away with travelling circus style venues anymore without losing money. (Yes, there are others...but...why mention THEM?)

    Music in the Progressive Rock era was never less than Ringling Brothers meets Picasso. What Van Gogh's pallette knife was to oil paint, heavy-handed color was to our Rockers. Vibrant smears of insanity trapped in genius which might compel one to cut off and ear or so!

    I bemoan the state of music today. I'm 61--why wouldn't I?

    We are frozen in Corbonite times with vapidity laced tatoos festooning bubble-gum teenyboppers in a show of hairless crotch fantasies.

    I'll take King Crimson at their peak any day over Hannah Montana!

    (Now, back to In the Hall of the Crimson King!!)

  • llbh

    Weather Report would come into your definiton above i think Not a great recording

    Miles Davis moves between genres too



  • DanTheMan

    Yes - Owner of a Lonely Heart - one of my favorite 80's songs. (Does it count as prog? Seems like there's a lot going on in it). The video i've linked is a little weird - the song stops and then starts over again at about 2:17.

    HS, I checked out that Soft Machine that you linked. I have the same question about them as I have for a lot of the scholarly members on this site: Where in the hell is the school where they teach you all that? LOL

  • serotonin_wraith

    Progressive rock's my favourite type of music. I love how layered and complex it can be without falling under its own weight.

    It can seem like any old thing has been added just to make it loud, but once you're used to it, you notice every tune within the tune has been perfectly placed for good effect. It's like a film or TV series where every character counts, and they all see things from their own viewpoints and you care about them all. You get your favourites, but it just wouldn't be the same if part of it was missing.

    Forget about your 3 minute pop songs too, these things can go on for 10, 20, even 30 minutes or more. A lot of the time, every song in the albums join together.

    My favourite album is Six by Mansun (UK version).

    Other faves when it comes to progressive rock are The Mars Volta (Frances The Mute especially), Everything Picture by Ultrasound and Sing To God by Cardiacs.

    Here's one from that album-

    Now to check the others people have suggested.

  • hillary_step


    Interesting summation.

    We are frozen in Corbonite times with vapidity laced tatoos festooning bubble-gum teenyboppers in a show of hairless crotch fantasies.

    lol..How could I ever disagree with that.

    People of our generation are accused of 'being stuck in the 70's'. I can but disagree. I am stuck in innovation and quality. Frankly, politically, musically and creatively the 60's and early 70's were by far the most interesting times that I have lived through, and I have a couple of decades to compare them with! That is not to say that there are not some stellar musicians out there, but few can fight the pimps and the Siren's call of a mortgage free life.

    Jim Irvin and Colin McLear compiled a book called the Mojo Collection which seeks to collect together the most influential albums from the late 50's to the modern age. The book is interesting in that it avoids the superlatives, is incredibly accurate in its detail and reasoned in its approach. What is most interesting is that the years between 1965 and 1975 are represented not just in those years but in the music being produced by muscians of that era even now.

    Here is Hatfield and the North in action not so long ago: Hatfield & The North. Never been a fan of Floyd I am afraid, at least not past the Syd Barrett days, though I do have all their work.


    Yeah, Weather Report - a stunning band, especially in their original line-up. I saw them perform a number of times but thought they lost it a little in the disco era, trying to 'outfunk' the funks and never really recovered their musical equilibrium.

    If you enjoy Jazz/Rock you might like IF, a UK band of ex club jazzers who got together in the late sixties to teach Chicago how to play. ;) click - IF

    Lots of excellent stuff from Italy too with : Banco and PFM (Pete Sinfield from King Crimson was their lyricist on the English numbers) Their politics might not suit most on this Board, but they suit me.

    If anyone has the first LP (not released on CD) by the Danish band Burning Red Ivanhoe in good condition lemeeno as I wish to buy it from you! Please contact me by PM.

    Cheers - HS

  • IP_SEC


    You put it in a way I've never thought of before. That was very interesting. I guess Im an old dog that can still learn something about music after all


  • nvrgnbk


    Close to the Edge

    King Crimson

    In the Court of the Crimson King



    Karn Evil 9- First Impression, pt. 1


    A Trick of the Tail

    Procol Harum

    Shine On Brightly

  • hillary_step


    Most of the Soft Machine, Caravan, Gong, Egg, Kevin Ayers, Bob Wyatt, Camel etc all matriculated from the same University - Canterbury and most shared the same music teachers.

    Here is Alan Holdsworth with the Soft Machine in the early 70's playing a track from the 'Bundles' album. I think you might enjoy it, the solo is at the end so please be pateint. ;)


  • llbh

    Hi HS

    I agree about King Crimson and the also the way that Weather Report went -Joe Zowinthul ( I hope that is how it is spelt) died recently- Miles Davis went a bit way out too.

    I enjoy soft machine too. What about Wishbone Ash ? They were a bit folky .

    David Bowie was innovative too,as were The Velvet Underground.

    I loved Yes too

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