Since its first outbreak in the late 1960s, progressive rock has been one of the most controversial genres in all of music. The tag is sort of an umbrella term that the viewer thinks may incorporate The Beatles due to their work on sergeant. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Bandas well as metal legends Dream Theater.
However, when talking about prog-rock, it usually focuses on the British wave that arose out of the psychedelic rock movement in the late 1960s, the usual suspects being Genesis, Yes, King Crimson, Jethro Tull, ELP and tentatively, Pink Floyd. However, this scene is not entirely British, with figures like Todd Rundgren also playing a role in its development.
The story surrounding this set of bands is one you’ve probably heard before. They were inspired by the vast plan established by sergeant. Pepper and the loose but incredibly impactful Canterbury scene. Elsewhere, prog-rock has also drawn heavily on acid jazz and classical music to create a form of rock that is both majestic and intensely cerebral. In short, it was rock music embracing high culture, epitomized by Jon Anderson of Yes, calling it a “higher art form.”
Investigate gender for the new yorker in 2017, Kelefa Sanneh offered an interpretation of what gender is: “In April 1971, rolling stone reviewed the debut album of a band with a name more suited to a law firm: Emerson, Lake & Palmer. The reviewer liked what he heard, although he couldn’t quite define it. ‘I guess your local paper might call it ‘jazz-influenced classic rock’.
I would say that Sanneh’s narrative is the most succinct definition of prog-rock that exists. This “jazz-influenced classic rock” brought together a collection of like-minded bands, creating a scene and giving fans and haters a paradigm to understand. However, the story of the genre does not end there.
As we all know, prog-rock became a pompous parody of itself, which led to it being derided by many and eventually sent to the guillotine by the first wave of punk in the late 1980s. 1970. The overuse of synthesizer, sequins and capes became the grotesque symbols of the genre, and the refreshing essence it might have initially faded into outright anger at the refusal of these middle-class wizards to become aware of oneself.
Other key characteristics of the genre were the shifting dynamics, the fantasy-infused lyrics and, most notably and polarizing, that the progressive songs were so expansive, often split into sequels, that they had the power to bore or sparkle, according to the listener. . The extended play, in all its various guises, is arguably the most defining characteristic of prog, with it still alive and well today in the works of bands such as Dream Theater and Queensrÿche.
But why is it such a vital part of the genre? It boils down to one thing; prog is inherently technical. Each act considered the most important of the genre wanted to expand the music beyond the stuffy realm of three-minute pop music and create something of the same majestic quality as the classical and jazz that inspired them.
The long song was not only a means of denying popular music but also a way of exploring more “intellectual” themes than ever before. In a practical way, it also gave them the opportunity to show off their technical skills, which were clearly far superior to everyone else’s.
To get a taste of what it was all about, check out Yes Live in 1977 below. It’s the most prog thing you’ll probably ever see.
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