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!!)