|Stylistic origins||Psychedelic rock, Progressive folk, avant-garde, experimental rock, jazz fusion, free jazz, classical music, Canterbury scene, folk rock, baroque pop|
|Cultural origins||Late 1960s, United Kingdom|
|Typical instruments||Guitars, bass, keyboards and drums. Jazz and classical instruments, such as saxophone, timpani, flute and violin may also be used.|
|Derivative forms||Math rock, post-rock, experimental metal, New age music|
|Progressive metal, avant-garde progressive rock, symphonic rock, Wagnerian rock, neo-progressive rock, new prog, space rock, krautrock, progg, zeuhl, Italian progressive rock|
|Art rock, Hard rock, ambient music, Berlin School, arena rock, Rock in Opposition, Progressive house|
Progressive rock, also known as prog rock or prog, is a rock music subgenre:71-5 that originated in the United Kingdom, with further developments in Germany, Italy, and France, throughout the mid-to-late 1960s and 1970s. It developed from psychedelic rock and originated, similarly to art rock, as an attempt to give greater artistic weight and credibility to rock music. Bands abandoned the short pop single in favor of instrumentation and compositional techniques more frequently associated with jazz or classical music in an effort to give rock music the same level of musical sophistication and critical respect. Songs were replaced by musical suites that often stretched to 20 or 40 minutes in length and contained symphonic influences, extended musical themes, fantasy-like ambience and lyrics, and complex orchestrations. Music critics, who often labeled the concepts as "pretentious" and the sounds as "pompous" and "overblown," tended to be hostile toward the genre or to completely ignore it.:7
Progressive rock saw a high level of popularity throughout the 1970s, especially in the middle of the decade. Bands such as Jethro Tull, The Moody Blues, Pink Floyd, Yes, King Crimson, Genesis, and Emerson, Lake & Palmer (ELP) were the genre's most influential groups and were among the most popular acts of the era, although there were many other, often highly influential, bands who experienced a lesser degree of commercial success. The genre faded in popularity during the second half of the decade. Conventional wisdom holds that the rise of punk rock caused this, although in reality a number of factors contributed to this decline.:1 Progressive rock bands achieved commercial success well into the 1980s, albeit with changed lineups and more compact song structures.
The genre grew out of the 1960s space rock of Pink Floyd and the classical rock experiments of bands like The Moody Blues and The Nice. Most of the prominent bands from the genre's 1970s heyday fall into the "symphonic prog" category, in which classical orchestrations and compositional techniques are melded with rock music. Other subgenres exist, including the more accessible neo-progressive rock of the 1980s, the jazz-influenced Canterbury sound of the 1960s and 1970s, and the more political and experimental Rock in Opposition movement of the late 1970s and onward.:4-5 Progressive rock has influenced genres such as krautrock and post-punk, and it has fused with other forms of rock music to create such sub-genres as neo-classical metal and progressive metal. A revival, often known as new prog, occurred at the turn of the 21st century and has since enjoyed a cult following.
Progressive rock originally referred to "classical rock" in which a band performed together with an orchestra, but the term's use broadened over time to include Miles Davis-style jazz fusion, some metal and folk rock styles, and experimental German bands. It does not refer to a single style but to an approach that combines elements of diverse styles. Jerry Ewing, editor of Prog Magazine, explains that "Prog is not just a sound, it's a mindset," and Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci points out that it is defined by its very lack of stylistic boundaries.
A guitar-less trio with a Hammond organ lead plays music with abrupt rhythmic shifts and unusual time signatures, then transitions into the next movement of a suite
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The advent of the concept album and the genre's roots in psychedelia led albums and performances to be viewed as combined presentations of music, lyrics, and visuals.:57-58 Progressive rock abandons the danceable beat that defines earlier rock styles:232-233 and is more likely than other types of popular music to experiment with compositional structure, instrumentation, harmony and rhythm, and lyrical content.:57-58 It may demand more effort on the part of the listener than other types of music.:161
Musicians in progressive rock typically display a high degree of instrumental skill, although this is not always the case.:10 Neither Greg Lake nor Boz Burrell had ever been a bassist prior to filling that role in King Crimson. Pink Floyd:115 and Brian Eno are notable examples of artists who are able to build complex structures out of simple parts:10 and who are virtuosos in the sense that their instrument is the recording studio.:120
Progressive rock songs often avoid common popular music song structures of verse-chorus form, and their extended lengths allow complex themes that cannot be fully developed within the span of a three-minute single.:129 Musical forms are blurred through the use of extended sections and of musical interludes that bridge separate sections together, which results in classical-style suites. These large-scale compositions are similar to medleys, but there is typically more thematic unity between the sections. Transitions between electric and acoustic sections provide dynamic contrast.:93 Extended instrumental passages marry the classical solo tradition with the improvisational traditions of jazz and psychedelic rock. Although many progressive rock songs are of three to five minutes in length, and bands such as Kraftwerk did adhere to pop songwriting principles,:131 long-form pieces of twenty minutes or more are not uncommon.
A Hammond organ plays melody variations while the guitars play a baroque-style ground bass figure
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These extended pieces are usually considered to be the result of experimentation with classical music forms, although an alternative viewpoint holds that they are explorations of the complexities possible within the popular music format. Many bands did, however, use compositional techniques borrowed from classical music. Gentle Giant, whose Kerry Minnear held a degree in composition from the Royal Academy of Music,:148 often used counterpoint in their pieces.:4 Kansas songs such as "Miracles out of Nowhere" often contain complex passages in which the violin and one or more keyboards and guitars all play separate contrapuntal parts.:41 "Close to the Edge," by Yes, uses a classical compositional technique in which the arrangement is developed by the use of varied repetitions of a theme throughout the piece's structure:13-14 and has elements of sonata form.:99
Elements of classical music are sometimes borrowed for the cultural significance they carry. Yes frequently used contrapuntal sections to create the impression of a baroque style, as in a fugue-like section at the eight-minute mark of "Close to the Edge" and in the harpsichord solo of "Siberian Khatru.":10 Gentle Giant created a medieval feel through their use of the madrigal.:58
The Mellotron was used both as a substitute for stringed instruments and for its darker, often menacing tone
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Early progressive rock groups expanded the timbral palette of the then-traditional rock instrumentation of guitar, keyboard, bass guitar, and drums by adding instruments more typical of folk music, jazz or music in the classical tradition. A number of bands, especially at the genre's onset, recorded albums in which they performed together with a full orchestra.:32 The Moody Blues, who until then had been a blues-based British invasion band with a single hit to their credit, launched the trend with the huge success of their Days of Future Passed album. Days used arrangements that combined the band and orchestra, and it used orchestral interludes to bridge together the individual songs.
It was impractical to work together with an orchestra on a regular basis, so the Moody Blues turned to the Mellotron as a substitute. The Mellotron is an instrument that contains tape loops of recorded instruments and plays back their sounds when the keyboard is pressed. Its sounds included woodwinds, choirs, brass and, most famously, strings. Limitations of the technology meant that its sounds were not exact reproductions of the instruments, but instead had a wobbly, muted quality that many bands prized. This instrument became the signature sound of the Moody Blues and was closely associated with many later progressive rock acts including Genesis, Strawbs, Pink Floyd and King Crimson.
The Hammond organ is another instrument closely associated with progressive rock. It is a versatile instrument that can function like a pipe organ, can be played through a guitar amplifier for a distorted tone, is capable of sustained notes and rapid melodic runs, and can make percussive sounds.:33-34 The ability to adjust its timbre while a note is held and its capabilities of vibrato and, when a rotating Leslie speaker is used, tremolo, make it a very expressive lead instrument.:7-8 The use of organs and choirs reflects the background in Anglican church music shared by many of the genre's founders.:287
Various other electronic and electro-mechanical keyboard instruments were in common use. The RMI Electra-Piano was favored by Rick Wakeman of Yes, and Genesis keyboardist Tony Banks often used it in place of the Hammond organ. RMI pianos could also substitute for harpsichords, as could the Clavinet. The Wurlitzer electric piano was a signature of Supertramp's sound. Some bands, notably Genesis, used Yamaha's electric grand piano, and string synthesizers were sometimes employed.
The birth of progressive rock roughly coincided with the commercial availability of synthesizers. Early modular synthesizers were large instruments that used patch cords to route the signal flow. Programming the instruments meant placing the patch cords to connect the individual modules. The Minimoog, a smaller, simplified synthesizer that needed no patch cords, began production in 1971 and provided keyboardists with a more-easily programmed instrument that could imitate other instruments, could create new sounds of its own, and was highly portable and affordable. Progressive rock was the genre in which the synthesizer first became established as a common part of popular music.:34-35 Synthesizers could be used to play the rapid, virtuosic lines that changed the perception of keyboard instruments.
The synthesizer is capable of a multitude of textures and tones and can replace guitar as a lead instrument
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The reliance on the use of multiple keyboard sounds meant that keyboardists such as Rick Wakeman appeared onstage surrounded by ten or more keyboards at a time. Modern digital synthesizers and samplers have reduced the need for huge keyboard stacks, as they typically allow sounds to be layered:60 or for one keyboard to trigger another's sounds through a MIDI connection. They also provide a reliable alternative to instruments such as Mellotrons, whose delicate mechanical apparatus is prone to breakdowns, and are much more portable than bulky instruments such as the Hammond organ. Digital synthesizers are also suitable chordal instruments, unlike early analog synthesizers such as the Minimoog, Moog Taurus and ARP Odyssey, which could play only one note at a time and so were mainly suitable for drones, basslines and lead playing.:35
The concept of the studio as an instrument led certain audio effects units to become identified with progressive rock. Pink Floyd, especially in their early days, were noted for their heavy use of vocal delay. Robert Fripp developed a tape loop system, later dubbed "Frippertronics," that allowed self-accompaniment and the creation of textural, evolving soundscapes. Frippertronics debuted on Fripp & Eno's 1973 (No Pussyfooting) album, and was later incorporated into Fripp solo albums and mainstream works such as Peter Gabriel and Daryl Hall's 1977 Sacred Songs. Progressive rock guitarists showed a distinct preference for Hiwatt amplifiers.
Progressive rock bands often use instruments in ways different from their traditional roles. The role of the bass may be expanded from its traditional rhythm section function into that of a lead instrument. Bassists often play contrapuntal lines that are more independent and melodic than conventional bass lines, which emphasize the chord root.:74 This is often accompanied by the use of an instrument such as a Rickenbacker bass, whose sound contains an unusually large amount of treble frequencies,:38 or a Chapman Stick, which is operated with both hands on the fretboard and allows polyrhythmic and chordal playing. Treble may be emphasized by the choice of strings, by playing with a pick, and by use of the instrument's higher registers.:109 Drum kits are frequently expanded with orchestral percussion such as timpani and gongs. Acoustic guitar becomes more prominent and often appears as interludes played in the classical style of Andres Segovia. Piano is played in a style derived from the classical piano repertoire rather than from the blues or boogie-woogie styles previously in use. Guitar may be dispensed with altogether, and traditional rhythm guitar is almost never used, as chordal backgrounds are typically played on a keyboard instrument such as the Hammond organ.:35-6 Genesis built huge, orchestral textures by blurring the lines between the roles of the keyboard and the guitar.
Rhythm, melody and harmony
There is a tendency towards greater freedom of rhythm than exists in other forms of rock music. Progressive rock artists are more likely to explore complex time signatures such as 5/8 and 7/8. Tempo, key and time signature changes are common within progressive rock compositions. John Wetton, a veteran of several prominent progressive rock groups, later described frequent meter changes as an immature behavior that one grows out of.:136 Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman explained their use as necessary for matching the music to Jon Anderson's lyrics.:71-72 Complex time signatures are sometimes used to create a polyrhythmic effect, as in "The Journey," from Rick Wakeman's Journey to the Centre of the Earth. An ostinato, played on a Clavinet in a 9
8 meter subdivided as an unusual 2+2+2+3 pattern, is overlaid by a 6
8 choral pattern in a 9
8 time signature with the standard 3+3+3 subdivision.
Progressive rock often discards the blues inflections and pentatonic scale-based melodies of mainstream rock in favor of modal melodies. Compositions draw inspiration from a wide range of genres including classical, jazz, folk music and world music. Melodies are more likely to comprise longer, developing passages than short, catchy ones.
A section of music that begins with a folk-based violin melody and a contrapuntal acoustic guitar accompaniment, then abruptly shifts into eccentric hard rock and uses dissonant harmonies while segueing into an unusual metric signature
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Chords are typically standard triads,:54 although many keyboardists would alter these triads by playing a nonchord tone in the bass.:55 Quartal harmony, which uses chords built on intervals of fourths rather than thirds and was used heavily in the 1960s by John Coltrane pianist McCoy Tyner, is a key feature of Keith Emerson's style. ELP also use bitonality, or the use of two keys simultaneously, in "Infinite Space" and "The Endless Enigma.":55 Some bands, such as King Crimson, incorporated atonality and free improvisation into their works.:4 "Red" and "Fracture," both King Crimson pieces built on the whole tone scale, are two examples.:55 Chord changes are typically based on modes, as is typical of rock music, and deviate significantly from the tonality of music from the classical era.:10-11 Unexpected chord changes in the style of impressionist composers like Claude Debussy are common.:30 Jazz harmonies appear in the music of Canterbury groups such as Soft Machine.:126
Progressive rock lyrics tend to avoid common rock and pop subjects such as love and dancing. Bands also avoid such youth-oriented themes as violence, nihilism, rebellion, and the macabre. Sex is not a common subject, although the occasionally leering lyrics of Jethro Tull are an exception.:83-84 Themes found in classical literature, fantasy and folklore occur frequently, and intellectual topics such as psychological theories may be addressed. Romantic poetry and J. R. R. Tolkien are frequent sources of inspiration.:86,94-98
Renaissance, at the genre's commercial and artistic peak, performs with orchestra. The lyrics depict Alexander Solzhenitsyn's imprisonment.
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Medievalism and science fiction themes are common and often appear as metaphors for spiritual transformation and the quest for an ideal society.:73, 82 Magma's 1970s output is a single science fiction narrative spread out over several albums and written in the Kobaian language, which was invented for the purpose.:93 Dystopian and apocalyptic themes drawn from science fiction criticize totalitarianism and the dehumanizing effects of society. These occur in Van der Graaf Generator's "Lemmings," Roger Waters' Pink Floyd lyrics in the mid-to-late 1970s,:73, 74, 78 Rush's "2112", and Radiohead's OK Computer. King Crimson's "21st Century Schizoid Man" anticipates cyberpunk by several years:156 and carries a theme of technology run amok that is also found in ELP's Tarkus and Brain Salad Surgery albums.:71
Many early lyrics express utopian themes that reflect the genre's origins in psychedelic rock:82-3 and address the subject of spiritual transformation.:76 Spiritual and religious themes are common, as in Yes' "Close to the Edge", which is based on Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha,:80 and Aphrodite's Child's 666, an apocalyptic album with imagery drawn from the Biblical Book of Revelation.:75-6
A Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band-style humor appears in some progressive rock lyrics. This is especially pronounced in the more eccentric, Dadaistic approach adopted by some of the Canterbury bands.:112 Song titles such as Hatfield and the North's "Big Jobs (Poo Poo Extract)" reflect this. Puns are common, as in the Caravan album title Cunning Stunts. The more serious symphonic prog bands occasionally recorded such comical tracks as "Jeremy Bender," by ELP, and "The Story of the Hare Who Lost His Spectacles," an interlude from Jethro Tull's album-length A Passion Play.:113
Social commentary is frequently present. The British class system is criticized in Genesis' Selling England by the Pound, Gentle Giant's Three Friends and Jethro Tull's Thick as a Brick,:71 which also functions as a satire of the concept album. Breakfast in America, by British expatriates Supertramp, questioned the American Dream. The Nice's instrumental "America" is considered to have made a similar point musically through a series of dissonant variations on the song's melody.:27 Organized religion is criticized in Jethro Tull's Aqualung, ELP's "The Only Way (Hymn)" and King Crimson's "The Great Deceiver.":79
Rush lyricist Neil Peart describes himself as a "left-wing libertarian," and his political viewpoints are reflected in songs such as "The Trees.":15 Italian progressive rock bands, such as Premiata Forneria Marconi,:110-11 had a greater tendency toward politicized lyrics.:154 Bands and festivals in Italy were sometimes sponsored by the Italian Communist Party, and it was not uncommon for bands to hint, through either their lyrics or their actions, at support for armed revolutionary groups such as the Red Army Faction:140 and the Palestine Liberation Organization.:110-11 The very act of forming a band could be seen as politically subversive in Communist Eastern Europe, and acts such as Omega, in Hungary, and Aquarium, in the Soviet Union, initially existed as underground groups. Various members of the Czech band The Plastic People of the Universe endured prison sentences.:151-2
Henry Cow, an especially avant-garde British band with Marxist leanings, took the viewpoint that the major record labels were using their economic power to dictate which styles of music ever got heard by the public. The band organized a "Rock in Opposition" (RIO) festival to unite bands who similarly opposed music business practices. Italy's Stormy Six and Belgium's Univers Zero aligned themselves with the RIO movement,:157 as did later bands such as the 5uu's and Thinking Plague.:162
Pastoralism and ecology
Many progressive rock bands were strongly rooted in British folk music, and this resulted in a tendency toward pastoralism in the lyrics. Genesis, especially when Anthony Phillips was a member of the band, use mythological figures and fairytale worlds to create this effect in songs such as "Shepherd" and "Ripples." These are used to explore a darker side of nature in songs such as "The Musical Box" and "The Return of the Giant Hogweed.":58-61 As social and economic problems increased in Britain of the late 1970s, Jethro Tull increasingly retreated into albums such as Songs From the Wood and Heavy Horses, whose lyrics emphasized nature.:53
Awareness of nature sometimes combined with social criticism to produce lyrics that expressed concern over the ecology. This appears on the major Yes albums of the early 1970s:129 and their later "Don't Kill the Whale.":205 Ecology also figures heavily in Magma's lyrical concept. Manfred Mann's Earth Band's 1974 album The Good Earth carried an ecological theme and included a coupon that entitled its purchasers to a square foot of mountain property in Wales.
Several groups valued lyrics so strongly as to employ a lyricist as a full-time band member. These include Peter Sinfield with King Crimson and Keith Reid with Procol Harum. Renaissance maintained a longtime relationship with lyricist Betty Thatcher. Hawkwind for a time featured lyrics by science fiction author Michael Moorcock.:72
The late 1960s and early 1970s saw a general trend among rock and pop artists toward albums in which all the songs shared a common theme. This tendency was especially pronounced in progressive rock.:41-42 Experimentation with expanded musical forms contributed to this, as songs, which may be more or less thematically related, are often combined into suites that contain several movements.:85 This occurred as early as the 1966 album Freak Out!, by Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention, in which the multi-part "The Return of the Son of Monster Magnet" occupied the entire fourth side of the album. Two influential examples followed in 1968: the title track of Ars Longa Vita Brevis, by The Nice, and "In Held 'Twas in I," from Procol Harum's Shine On Brightly, both of which used sonata-type forms.:26-28
Many of these extended pieces are inspired by works of literature. Pink Floyd's Animals is a concept album based on George Orwell's Animal Farm.:74 Genesis' Selling England by the Pound was influenced by T. S. Eliot's poem The Waste Land.:70 Rush's "2112" was inspired by Ayn Rand's Anthem. Arthur C. Clarke's novel Childhood's End inspired both Pink Floyd's Obscured by Clouds and Genesis' "Watcher of the Skies.":96,126
Darwin!, by Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, is a concept album based on Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.:17 Gentle Giant's The Power and the Glory addressed current events, primarily the Watergate scandal.:58 Story arcs may also be spread out over several albums, as with the "Chapters" on the first four Saga albums, Rush's Cygnus X-1 and Fear series, Magma's mythology:70 and, more recently, the ongoing science fiction narrative of Coheed and Cambria's albums.
The advent of multi-part suites that occupy an entire LP side roughly coincided with the rise of FM radio and its practice of playing albums, or album sides, in their entirety.:22 These extended works are at best, as with "Close to the Edge":105 and "2112," considered to be among the bands' greatest works. Some bands stretched the format beyond audiences' capacity to tolerate. This was the case with Yes' Tales from Topographic Oceans,:182 a two-LP set that contained a single 20-minute song on each side. The album caused disagreements that led to keyboardist Rick Wakeman's departure from the band, as he would protest the new songs by eating onstage instead of playing. In the punk era, Tales became a symbol of progressive rock self-indulgence.
Pink Floyd pioneered the concept of concerts as multimedia events, and they used sophisticated light shows meant to suggest or enhance the use of LSD.:61-62 Their laser show was later replaced by even more sophisticated props such as airplane crashes, flying animals, and a giant wall that was constructed behind them and then torn down.:245 Genesis took a less spectacular approach, as frontman Peter Gabriel used multiple costume changes to accent the theatrical nature of his lyrics. Their The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway tour reinforced this with a slideshow of as many as 1500 images.:123
Pink Floyd's interest in multimedia performances later led to soundtrack work on several films:126 and ultimately expressed itself in the film Pink Floyd – The Wall.:131 Other progressive rock bands dabbled in the medium. Peter Gabriel collaborated with surrealist filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky in an attempt to write a Lamb Lies Down on Broadway screenplay, and the Italian band Goblin was noted for their soundtrack work on Dawn of the Dead, Profondo rosso and Suspiria.:131
Some acts indulged in pure showmanship. Jethro Tull frontman Ian Anderson was noted for his Pan-like persona and energetic performances in which he played the flute while standing on one leg. Grobschnitt displayed a cabaret-style show with pyrotechnics and slapstick acts.:63 Rick Wakeman concerts in support of his The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table album featured ice skaters in Arthurian costumes.:119 Keith Emerson, while with The Nice, was noted for plunging daggers into his organ keyboard to hold notes, and with ELP he is known to have played his Moog modular synthesizer using his buttocks.:122 ELP frequently used dangerous props and gimmicks such as flying pianos and exploding synthesizers in their stage act, and drummer Carl Palmer once cracked several ribs when jumping over his drum set.:62
Progressive rock visual styles sometimes extended to the stage sets. Roger Dean designed stage sets for Yes that continued the visual themes used in the album covers he designed for them. Props included giant mushrooms and a drum set encased in a seashell, which nearly suffocated drummer Alan White when it failed to open during one performance. Tangerine Dream had a preference for performing in Gothic cathedrals:135-6 and used light shows ranging from the minimal to full laser shows. Jean-Michel Jarre integrated projections and fireworks into his performances.:131
This enthusiasm for showmanship was not shared by all progressive rock bands. King Crimson initially employed a dramatic light show, but guitarist Robert Fripp became concerned that it distracted from the music. Fripp and Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett notably engaged in no stage movement at all and, instead, stayed seated throughout performances.:63-64
Album covers prior to The Beatles'' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band usually consisted of a photograph of the group, but the trend toward concept albums was accompanied by a move toward artwork that depicted the album's concept. This artwork often contains science fiction and fantasy motifs executed in a surrealist style. Fragile, by Yes, has cover art that depicts the Earth splitting into pieces, which reflects the ecological focus of their lyrics.:126-7 Tarkus, by ELP, has a William Neal-designed LP gatefold that symbolically illustrates the titular suite's concept through a series of drawings of fantastic, cybernetic creatures who battle one another.:88
A number of artists became closely associated with the genre, such as Roger Dean, who worked extensively with Yes; Paul Whitehead, famous for his work on early Genesis albums, and Hipgnosis, a London design firm with close personal ties to members of Pink Floyd.:57-60 Artwork was sometimes commissioned from artists who were famous in their own right, such as the H. R. Giger design for ELP's Brain Salad Surgery and caricaturist Gerald Scarfe's illustrations for Pink Floyd's The Wall. This combination of music and artwork is intended to function as a total work of art, which is a further use of concepts borrowed from high culture.:127 The practice of connecting an album's artwork to its concept still exists, but its effectiveness is limited by the smaller packaging used by compact discs.
Bob Dylan's poetry, the 1966 album Freak Out! by The Mothers of Invention, and the 1967 album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles have all been mentioned as important in the genre's development. Sgt. Pepper's, with its lyrical unity, extended structure, complexity, eclecticism, experimentalism, and influences derived from classical music forms, is largely viewed as the beginning of the progressive rock genre:15,20 and as the point at which rock, which previously had been considered dance music, became music that was made for listening to.:3 The Beach Boys' concept album Pet Sounds (1966), which itself influenced Sgt. Pepper's,:53 and Jefferson Airplane's second album, Surrealistic Pillow (1967), also influenced many progressive rock bands.
Bob Dylan introduced a literary element to rock through his fascination with the Surrealists and the French Symbolists and his immersion in the New York City art scene of the early 1960s.:156-7 The trend of bands with names drawn from literature, such as The Doors, Steppenwolf and The Ides of March, was a further sign of rock music aligning itself with high culture.:179 Doors singer Jim Morrison referenced such literary concepts as Nietzsche and the Apollonian and Dionysian dichotomy.:183
Freak Out!, a Dadaist mixture of progressive rock, garage rock and avant-garde layered sounds, was rock music's first double album and is often considered to be its first concept album. The band 1-2-3, later renamed Clouds, began to experiment with song structure, improvisation, and multi-layered arrangements that same year. In March The Byrds released "Eight Miles High", a pioneering psychedelic rock single with a guitar lead inspired by the "sheets of sound" soloing style of jazz saxophonist John Coltrane. The Who later that year recorded "A Quick One While He's Away", a miniature rock opera considered to be the first example of the form. The rock opera was more fully realized in S.F. Sorrow, an influential 1967 album by The Pretty Things. "Revelation," a nineteen-minute track from the album Da Capo by the American band Love, became the first rock song to occupy an entire LP side.:26 Jimi Hendrix, who rose to prominence in the London scene and recorded with a band of English musicians, initiated the trend toward virtuosity in rock music.:164-5
Procol Harum was one of the first rock bands to record with a full orchestra
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Harpsichords, orchestral wind instruments and string sections were used in mid-1960s recordings such as "Eleanor Rigby" by The Beatles and "Lady Jane" by The Rolling Stones.:4 This created the form of Baroque rock heard in the Bach-inspired "A Whiter Shade of Pale" (1967), by Procol Harum. The use of instruments traditionally associated with classical music increased after the release of Sgt. Pepper's. The Moody Blues established the popularity of symphonic rock when they recorded Days of Future Passed together with the London Festival Orchestra, and Procol Harum began to use a greater variety of acoustic instruments. Classical influences sometimes took the form of pieces adapted from or inspired by classical works, such as Jeff Beck's "Beck's Bolero" and parts of The Nice's Ars Longa Vita Brevis. The latter, along with such Nice tracks as "Rondo" and "America", reflect a greater interest in music that is entirely instrumental. Sgt. Pepper's and Days both represent a growing tendency toward song cycles and suites made up of multiple movements.:21-22
Jazz influences appeared in the music of Traffic, Colosseum and Canterbury scene bands such as Soft Machine. Canterbury scene bands emphasized the use of wind instruments, complex chord changes and long improvisations.:20 Several bands that included jazz-style horn sections appeared, including Blood, Sweat & Tears and Chicago. Of these, Chicago in particular experimented with suites and extended compositions in their early work.:163-4 Jethro Tull began as a heavy blues band fronted by Ian Anderson, a flautist deeply influenced by jazz musician Rahsaan Roland Kirk.:168
Early 1970s classic era
The Nice, The Moody Blues, Procol Harum and Pink Floyd all contained elements of what we now call progressive rock, but none represented as complete an example of the genre as several bands that formed soon after.:22-23 Almost all of the genre's major bands, including Jethro Tull, King Crimson, Yes, Genesis, Van der Graaf Generator, ELP, Gentle Giant and Curved Air, released their debut albums during the years 1968-1970. Most of these were folk-rock albums that gave little indication of what the band's mature sound would become, but King Crimson's In the Court of the Crimson King (1969) was a fully formed example of the genre.:23 The term "progressive rock," which appeared in the liner notes of Caravan's 1968 self-titled debut LP, came to be applied to these bands that used classical music techniques to expand the styles and concepts available to rock music.:26
Most of the genre's major bands released their most critically acclaimed albums during the years 1971-1976.:27 These include Pawn Hearts, by Van der Graaf Generator; The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, by Genesis; Yes' The Yes Album, Fragile and Close to the Edge; Aqualung and Thick as a Brick by Jethro Tull, Gentle Giant's Free Hand, ELP's Brain Salad Surgery, and Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon.
Progressive rock experienced a high degree of commercial success during the early 1970s. Jethro Tull, ELP, Yes and Pink Floyd combined for four albums that reached number one in the US charts, and sixteen of their albums reached the top ten.:28 Tull alone scored 11 gold albums and 5 platinum albums. Pink Floyd's 1970 album Atom Heart Mother reached the top spot on the UK charts. Their 1973 The Dark Side of the Moon, which united their extended compositions with the more structured kind of composing employed when Syd Barrett was their songwriter,:34-35 spent more than two years at the top of the charts:4, 38 and remained on the top 200 album chart for fifteen years.:245 Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells, an excerpt of which was used as the theme for the film The Exorcist, sold 16 million copies. A number of progressive bands released singles that became pop hits, including Kraftwerk ("Autobahn"),:131 Yes ("Roundabout"), Jethro Tull ("Living in the Past"), Focus ("Hocus Pocus"), Curved Air ("Back Street Luv"), Strawbs ("Part of the Union"), and Genesis ("I Know What I Like").
The genre has always had its greatest appeal for white males. Most of the musicians involved were male, as was the case for most rock music of the time,:204 although Curved Air vocalist Sonja Kristina and Renaissance singer Annie Haslam were prominent exceptions. During the genre's 1970s heyday, audiences were reserved in their behavior and tended to sit and intently concentrate on the performance. This contrasted with the more overtly emotional reactions of audiences of other rock music styles.
Progressive rock came to be appreciated overseas, but it mostly remained a European, and especially British, phenomenon. Few American bands engaged in it, and the purest representatives of the genre, such as Starcastle and Happy the Man, remained limited to their own geographic regions.:185-6 This is at least in part due to music industry differences between the US and Great Britain. UK audiences were accustomed to hearing bands in clubs, and British bands could support themselves through touring. US audiences were first exposed to new music on the radio, so that bands in the US required radio airplay for success.:296-7 Radio stations were averse to progressive rock's longer-form compositions, which hampered advertising sales. Cultural factors were also involved, as US musicians tended to come from a blues background, while Europeans tended to have a classical music foundation.:286
North American progressive rock bands tended to represent hybrid styles such as the complex metal of Rush, the Southern rock-tinged prog of Kansas, and the eclectic fusion of the all-instrumental Dixie Dregs.:186 British progressive rock acts had their greatest US success in the same geographic areas in which British heavy metal bands experienced their greatest popularity. The overlap in audiences led to the success of arena rock bands, such as Boston, Kansas and Styx, who combined elements of the two styles.:186
Progressive rock achieved popularity in Continental Europe more quickly than it did in the US. Italy remained generally uninterested in rock music until the strong Italian progressive rock scene developed in the early 1970s.:154-55 Few of the European groups were successful outside of their own countries, with the exceptions of bands like Focus, who wrote English-language lyrics, and Le Orme and PFM, whose English lyrics were written by Peter Hammill and Peter Sinfield, respectively.:183-184
"Kosmische," or "krautrock" groups like Kraftwerk often experimented with construction of textures and did not stress virtuosity as much as did the symphonic prog bands
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Some European bands played in a style derivative of English bands. This can be heard in Triumvirat, an organ trio in the style of ELP; and Ange, who had a strong King Crimson influence.:267 Others brought national elements to their style: Spain's Triana introduced flamenco elements, groups such as the Swedish Samla Mammas Manna drew from the folk music styles of their respective nations, and Italian bands such as Il Balletto di Bronzo leaned toward an approach that was more overtly emotional than that of their British counterparts.:184
Some progressive rock subgenres are tied to national scenes. Zeuhl was a name given to the style of the French band Magma. A number of bands were strongly influenced by Magma and are considered to be part of that subgenre. The "Kosmische music" scene in Germany came to be labeled as "krautrock" internationally.:123 Bands such as Can, which included two members who had studied under Karlheinz Stockhausen,:22 tended to be more strongly influenced by 20th century classical music than the British bands, whose musical vocabulary leaned more toward the Romantic era. Many of these groups were very influential even among bands that had little enthusiasm for the symphonic variety of progressive rock.:82
Late 1970s decline
Political and social trends of the late 1970s shifted away from the early 1970s hippie attitudes that had led to the genre's development and popularity. The rise in punk cynicism made the utopian ideals expressed in progressive rock lyrics unfashionable.:78 Virtuosity was rejected, as the expense of purchasing quality instruments and the time investment of learning to play them were seen as barriers to rock's energy and immediacy.:115 There were also changes in the music industry, as record companies disappeared and merged into large media conglomerates. Promoting and developing experimental music was not part of the marketing strategy for these large corporations, who focused their attention on identifying and targeting profitable market niches.:108-110
Four of the biggest bands in progressive rock ceased performing or experienced major personnel changes during the mid-1970s. Robert Fripp disbanded King Crimson in 1974 and said later that the genre had gone "tragically off course.":177 ELP went on hiatus the following year. Genesis moved in a more mainstream direction after the 1975 departure of Peter Gabriel and especially after the 1977 departure of Steve Hackett. Yes experienced lineup changes throughout the 1970s before fragmenting in 1980. A number of the major bands, including Van der Graaf Generator, Gentle Giant and U.K., dissolved between 1978 and 1980.:187-188 Some decided that it was time to move on because they, as Caravan leader Pye Hastings admitted, had "got quite stale."
Many bands had by the mid-1970s reached the limit of how far they could experiment in a rock context, and fans had wearied of the extended, epic compositions. The sounds of the Hammond, Minimoog and Mellotron had been thoroughly explored, and their use became clichéd. Those bands who continued to record often simplified their sound, and the genre fragmented from the late 1970s onward.:181-183 Corporate artists and repertoire staff exerted an increasing amount of control over the creative process that had previously belonged to the artists,:188 and established acts were pressured to create music with simpler harmony and song structures and fewer changes in meter. This simplification can be heard as a softer, pop orientation in such albums as Genesis' ...And Then There Were Three..., Renaissance's A Song for All Seasons, and The Moody Blues' Octave. A number of symphonic pop bands, such as Supertramp, 10cc, the Alan Parsons Project and the Electric Light Orchestra, brought the orchestral-style arrangements into a context that emphasized pop singles while allowing for occasional instances of exploration. Jethro Tull, Gentle Giant and Pink Floyd opted for a harder sound in the style of arena rock.:187
Supertramp brought progressive rock's sophisticated arrangements and conceptual lyrics into a pop context
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Few new progressive rock bands formed during this era. The short-lived supergroup U.K. was a notable exception, although they tended to carry on in the style of previous bands and did little to advance the genre.:183 Some of the genre's more important development at this time occurred in its influence on other styles, as several guitarists with European ties brought a progressive rock approach to heavy metal and laid the groundwork for the future progressive metal style. Michael Schenker, of UFO, and Uli Jon Roth, who replaced Schenker in Scorpions, expanded the modal vocabulary available to guitarists. Roth studied classical music with the intent of using the guitar in the way that classical composers used the violin. Finally, the Dutch-born and classically trained Alex and Eddie Van Halen formed Van Halen, who redefined the standard for rock virtuosity and paved the way for the "shred" music of the 1980s.
Marillion and other neo-progressive rock bands played a style of music that resembled an updated, less-experimental version of 1970s symphonic prog
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A second wave:199 of progressive rock bands, which included Marillion, IQ, Pendragon, Saga and Solstice, appeared in the early 1980s and have since been categorized as a separate "neo-progressive rock" subgenre. These largely keyboard-based bands played extended compositions with complex musical and lyrical structures. They tended to be derivative in sound and image of the symphonic prog bands of a decade earlier, although they featured individual solos where earlier bands might have used group improvisation, and they included more world music elements. Lyrics became more personal and less esoteric. Concept albums were still created, but not as frequently and on a smaller scale.:183-6 Digital synthesizers took over many of the roles formerly filled by bulkier keyboards such as Mellotrons and organs,:35 and their modern sound tended to minimize the folk influences that had been typical of 1970s progressive rock.:242 Heavy metal bands such as Iron Maiden and Queensryche began to explore the mythological themes and extended concepts that had previously been the territory of progressive rock.:187
Some established bands moved toward music that was simpler and more commercially viable. Asia, a supergroup composed of veterans of several of the 1970s' major progressive rock acts, debuted in 1982 with an album that featured progressive rock-style Roger Dean artwork, some jazz influence, and advanced vocal arrangements. It however abandoned the complex song structures and interplay between music and vocals that had characterized progressive rock. The songs were based on pop hooks and repetitive choruses, were of a length appropriate for radio airplay, and featured slick production that pushed the vocals and snare drum to the front of the mix.:182
Echoes of progressive rock complexity could be heard in arena rock bands like Journey, Kansas, Styx, GTR, ELO, Foreigner and Queen, all except the last of which either had begun as progressive rock bands or included members with strong ties to the genre. These bands retained some elements of the orchestral-style arrangements, but they moved away from lyrical mysticism in favor of teen-oriented songs about relationships.:181-2 Genesis transformed into a successful pop act, and a reformed Yes released the relatively mainstream 90125, which yielded their only US number-one single, "Owner of a Lonely Heart". These radio-friendly groups have been called "Prog Lite."
One band who did experience great 1980s success while maintaining a progressive approach was Pink Floyd, who released The Wall late in 1979. The album, which brought punk anger into progressive rock,:174 was a huge success and was later filmed as Pink Floyd – The Wall. Pink Floyd were unable to repeat that success, as they released only one more album before disbanding. Later versions of the group did not include Roger Waters, who had been the band's lyricist. Jethro Tull were able to capitalize on a 1980s interest in sword and sorcery with their 1982 The Broadsword and the Beast, but they drifted toward a more mainstream style later in the decade, as did Rush.:187
Crossover with post-punk styles
Progressive rock's influence was felt in the form of the post-punk bands, although these bands tended not to draw on classical rock or Canterbury bands as influences but rather Roxy Music and krautrock bands, particularly Can. Groups such as Public Image Ltd, Magazine, Wire, Cardiacs and Simple Minds showed some influence of prog along with their more usually recognized punk influences. Julian Cope of The Teardrop Explodes wrote a history of the krautrock genre, Krautrocksampler. New wave bands tended to be less hostile toward progressive rock than were the punks, and there were crossovers, such as Robert Fripp's and Brian Eno's involvement with Talking Heads, and Yes' replacement of Rick Wakeman and Jon Anderson with the pop duo The Buggles.:99 A number of bands in New York's no wave scene were impressed with punk's energy but not with its primitivism. This led to experiments that combined that energy with greater musical sophistication, such as the guitar orchestras of Glenn Branca and the noise experiments of Sonic Youth.:113-120
King Crimson regrouped with a radical change of approach that showed influences of new wave and African music
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One progressive rock artist who was very supportive of the punk and new wave movements was former King Crimson leader Robert Fripp, who relocated to New York after a three-year retirement and collaborated with the new wave groups Blondie and Talking Heads. He formed a new band that experimented with gamelan music in a similar way to Talking Heads' approach on their Remain in Light album. The band was to be called "Discipline" but instead became a revived King Crimson. This edition featured new instrumentation that included Bill Bruford's electronic drums, Tony Levin's Chapman Stick, and guitar synthesizers played by Fripp and Adrian Belew, who was familiar to Fripp from the Remain in Light sessions. Their sound was highly percussive, featured tightly interconnected minimalist instrumentals with industrial noise influences, and often had a metallic edge. It was a new form of progressive rock that de-emphasized solos and overt virtuosity, but the music was nevertheless very complex and difficult.:176-178
Gamelan and minimalism also influenced Brian Eno, who after departing Roxy Music had collaborated with Fripp. Rush borrowed elements from world music and new wave, as on the reggae-tinged "The Spirit of Radio" and "Vital Signs.":32
1990s and 2000s
A third wave of progressive rock bands, who might more properly be described as a second generation of neo-progressive bands,:199 emerged in the 1990s. The use of the term "progressive" to describe groups that follow in the style of bands from ten to twenty years earlier is somewhat controversial, as it has been seen as a contradiction of the spirit of experimentation and progress.:19 These new bands were aided in part by the availability of personal computer-based recording studios, which reduced album production expenses, and the Internet, which made it easier for bands outside of the mainstream to reach widely spread audiences. Record stores specializing in progressive rock appeared in large cities.
The shred music of the 1980s was a major influence on the progressive rock groups of the 1990s. Some of the newer bands, such as The Flower Kings and Spock's Beard, played a 1970s-style symphonic prog but with an updated sound.:47,127 A number of them began to explore the limits of the CD in the way that earlier groups had stretched the limits of the vinyl LP. "The Garden of Dreams," from The Flower Kings' Flower Power album, is nearly 60 minutes in length and is composed of 18 separate sections, and Transatlantic's The Whirlwind consists of a single track of 77 minutes in length.:200
Folk influences resurface on "The Garden of Dreams," a trend that also appears in Mostly Autumn's 2008 album Glass Shadows.:243 The Decemberists use folk themes and influences as a means of connecting with the past, while Midlake use them to express pastoralism:249-253 and Shanghai's Cold Fairyland use them for nationalist purposes.:254-5
The Radiohead album OK Computer is credited as having reintroduced unconventional songwriting and structures and as having inspired newer bands to adopt a more experimental approach. It also brought the idea of the album as a complete, unified statement back into favor, as the practice of Internet downloads and the inclusion of "bonus tracks" on CD re-releases had destroyed the perception of the album as a unit.:236 Rock critics' disdain for the genre diminished after OK Computer's release, and bands that followed were given freedom to reference earlier prog styles without the risk of being labeled as hopelessly unfashionable.:237
A multipart suite by Dream Theater that combines elements of progressive rock and heavy metal
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Progressive rock and heavy metal have similar timelines. Both emerged out of late-1960s psychedelia to achieve great early-1970s success despite a lack of radio airplay and support from critics, then faded in the late 1970s and experienced revivals in the early 1980s. Each genre experienced a fragmentation of styles at this time, and many metal bands from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal onward displayed progressive rock influences.:259-60 Progressive metal reached a point of maturity with Queensrÿche's 1988 concept album Operation: Mindcrime and Voivod's 1989 Nothingface, which featured abstract lyrics and a King Crimson-like texture.:260-2
King Crimson themselves returned in 1994 with a more metallic sound, as did Van der Graaf Generator in the following decade.:279 The US band Dream Theater's 1994 album Awake debuted at #32 on the album charts. Arjen Anthony Lucassen's Ayreon project, backed by an array of talent from the progressive rock genre, produced a series of innovative prog-metal concept albums from 1995 onward.
Several of the bands in the prog-metal genre, including the US bands Queensrÿche, Fates Warning, and Dream Theater as well as Sweden's Opeth, name Rush as a primary influence, although their music also exhibits influences from more traditional metal and rock bands such as Black Sabbath and Deep Purple. Tool have mentioned King Crimson as an influence on their work, although Robert Fripp feels that the reverse is true and that there is a strong Tool influence on latter-day King Crimson.
Progressive rock elements appear in other metal subgenres. Black metal is conceptual by definition:264 and is often virtuosic. Its guttural vocals are sometimes used by bands who can be classified as progressive, such as Mastodon and Opeth, whose In Live Concert at the Royal Albert Hall DVD featured packaging that referenced vintage progressive rock albums such as Deep Purple's Concerto for Group and Orchestra.:264,266 Symphonic metal is an extension of the tendency, somewhat overstated, toward orchestral passages in early progressive rock.:266-7 Progressive rock has also served as a key inspiration for genres such as post-rock, post-metal, avant-garde metal, power metal and neo-classical metal.
New prog, also known as nu prog or post-prog, is a term that appeared in the mid-2000s to describe a number of alternative bands who incorporated elements from progressive rock or had an expansive, musically diverse, approach to music played in a contemporary style. These bands often play a harder-edged, speed metal and punk-influenced music that is conducive to moshing. Songs often feature jarring shifts between soft acoustic sections and powerful metallic sections, as on "Blackest Eyes" by Porcupine Tree.:272
Ozric Tentacles play a kind of progressive rock that is based on elements of electronica and is popular with fans of rave music
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Ozric Tentacles employed a spacy, eclectic sound that became popular with rave audiences. The Mars Volta, who incorporated jazz, funk, punk rock, Latin music, and ambient noise into songs that range in length from a few minutes to over a half-hour, was formed by Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, former members of the post-hardcore band At the Drive-In. Their 2005 album Frances the Mute reached number 4 on the Billboard 200 chart after the single "The Widow" became a hit on modern rock radio. Coheed and Cambria are known for lengthy solos and an unusual conceptual approach in which each album corresponds to an installment in lead singer/guitarist Claudio Sanchez's graphic novel series, The Amory Wars. Mystery Jets is a father-and-son band that combines a modern sensibility with elements of progressive rock music from the 1970s. Muse not only borrows from the musical stylings of classic-era prog but also incorporates the genre's visual style into its stage show.
Progressive rock continues to appeal to its longtime fans and is also able to attract new audiences. The Progressive Music Awards were launched in 2012 by Prog Magazine to honor the genre's innovators and to promote its newer bands. Honorees, however, are not invited to perform at the awards ceremony, as the promoters want an event "that doesn't last three weeks."
Many prominent progressive rock bands got their initial exposure at large rock festivals that were held in Great Britain during the late 1960s and early 1970s. King Crimson made their first major appearance at the 1969 Hyde Park free concert, before a crowd of 650,000, in support of The Rolling Stones. Emerson, Lake & Palmer debuted at the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival, at which Supertramp, Family and Jethro Tull also appeared.:50-51 Jethro Tull were also present at the 1969 Newport Jazz Festival, the first year in which that festival invited rock bands to perform. Hawkwind appeared at many British festivals throughout the 1970s, although they sometimes showed up uninvited, set up a stage on the periphery of the event, and played for free.:50
Renewed interest in the genre in the 1990s led to the development of progressive rock festivals. ProgFest, organized by Greg Walker and David Overstreet in 1993, was first held in UCLA's Royce Hall, and featured Sweden's Änglagård, the UK's IQ, Quill and Citadel. A festival called CalProg is held every year at Whittier, California in Los Angeles. The Northeast Art Rock Festival, or NEARfest, held its first event in 1999 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and has held annual concerts ever since. Other festivals include the annual Rites of Spring Festival (RoSfest) in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, The Rogue Independent Music Festival in Atlanta, Georgia, Baja Prog in Mexicali, Mexico, ProgPower USA in Atlanta, Georgia and ProgPower Europe in Baarlo, Netherlands. Progressive Nation tours were held in 2008 and 2009 with Dream Theater as the headline act.
The genre has received both a great amount of critical acclaim and criticism throughout the years. Progressive rock has been described as parallel to the classical music of Igor Stravinsky and Béla Bartók. This desire to expand the boundaries of rock, combined with some musicians' dismissiveness toward mainstream rock and pop music, insulted critics and led to accusations of elitism. Its intellectual, fantastic and apolitical lyrics and its shunning of rock's blues roots were abandonments of the very things that many critics valued in rock music.:168-173 Progressive rock also represented the maturation of rock as a genre, but there was an opinion among critics that rock was and should remain fundamentally tied to adolescence, so that rock and maturity were mutually exclusive.:107
Criticisms over the complexity of their music provoked some bands to create music that was even more complex. Yes' Tales from Topographic Oceans:145 and "The Gates of Delirium":158 were both responses to such criticisms. Jethro Tull's Thick As a Brick, a self-satirizing concept album that consisted of a single 45-minute track, arose from the band's disagreement with the labeling of their previous Aqualung as a concept album.
These aspirations toward high culture reflect progressive rock's origins as a music created largely by upper- and middle-class, white-collar, college-educated males from Southern England. The music never reflected the concerns of or was embraced by working class listeners,:144-148 except in the US, where listeners appreciated the musicians' virtuosity.:156 Progressive rock's exotic, literary topics were considered particularly irrelevant to British youth during the late 1970s, when the nation suffered from a poor economy and frequent strikes and shortages.:163-4 Even King Crimson leader Robert Fripp dismissed progressive rock lyrics as "the philosophical meanderings of some English half-wit who is circumnavigating some inessential point of experience in his life." The simplicity of punk was in part a reaction against the elaborate nature of progressive rock.
"...all that overblown dinosaur stadium rock with those appalling coke fuelled rock stars singing songs about Merlin and Pixies and Henry the 8th's wives and the like – what did THAT have to do with a bloke on the dole in Croydon?" - Captain Sensible, of The Damned:163-4
Punk rock, a simpler and more aggressive style that emerged in this era, labeled prog bands as "dinosaurs" whose time had passed. This new music rejected virtuosity and embraced the immediacy of minimalistic song structures even when, as with Suicide and Siouxsie and the Banshees, the songs extended to progressive rock length.:169 The popular music press, which for several years had championed the amateurishness of mid-1960s garage rock as an ideal, praised punk as having "authenticity.":164-5 Punk never surpassed progressive rock in popularity, but it attracted a disproportionate amount of media attention.:241
Bands such as ELP, who toured with three huge semi-trailer trucks, a 59-piece orchestra and a crew of 120,:119 came to be viewed as greedy individualists. Three-LP live albums such as Yes' Yessongs and ELP's Welcome Back My Friends to the Show That Never Ends...Ladies and Gentlemen, Emerson, Lake & Palmer were seen as symptoms of bloat. Fripp felt that the scale of these large concerts had caused musicians to lose contact with their audiences, who in turn had become passive.:177 Many mainstream rock and middle-of-the-road acts, such as Elton John, David Bowie and Queen, operated on a similar scale but were not singled out for criticism in the way that progressive rock bands were.:166-7
List of progressive rock bands
- Electric folk
- Free jazz
- List of musical works in unusual time signatures
- Minimal music
- Musique concrete
- Second Viennese School
- Third stream
- Category:Progressive rock record labels
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- Maske, Dan. Progressive Rock Keyboard. Milwaukee, WI: Hal Leonard Corporation, 2007
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- Macan, Edward. Rocking the Classics: English Progressive Rock and the Counterculture. New York: Oxford University Press. 1997
- Shuker, Roy. Popular Music: The Key Concepts. London: Routledge, 2002.
- Martin, Bill. Music of Yes: Structure and Vision in Progressive Rock. Chicago: Open Court, 1996
- Logan, Nick. Interview with Greg Lake in "New Musical Express," quoted in The Young Person's Guide to King Crimson. Compiled by Robert Fripp. EG Records Ltd., 1975. LP liner notes.
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- Chappell, Jon; Pete Prown. "When guitars went gargantuan: a prog rock primer." Guitar Player. Apr 2008. NewBay Media LLC.
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- Romano, Will. "A DIFFERENT VIEW: STEVE HACKETT." Modern Drummer : MD. Modern Drummer Publications Inc. Apr 2013
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- Friedlander, Paul. Rock and Roll: A Social History. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1996
- Guarino, Mark. "Genesis turns it on New tour looks back 40 years.(Time Out!)(Main event)." Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL). Paddock Publications, Inc. 29 Sep 2007. HighBeam Research. Accessed 11 May 2013. (subscription required)
- Martinez, Gerald. "Totally Tull." Sunday Mail. The New Straits Times Press. 7 Jul 2002. HighBeam Research. Accessed 11 May 2013 (subscription required)
- Santella, Jim. "Over the weekend, Jethro Tull, one of the '70s super-groups, headed the weekend lineup with a performance in the Darien Lake Performing Arts Center. The same night, George Carlin, a veteran comedian whose heritage goes back even further, delivered his satire to the crowd in Melody Fair." The Buffalo News (Buffalo, NY). Dialog LLC. 6 Sep 1993. HighBeam Research. Accessed 11 May 2013. (subscription required)
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- "Prog-Rock/Art Rock". AllMusic. AllMusic. 2007. Archived from the original on 2011-12-05. Retrieved 2007-12-04. "Progressive rock and art rock are two almost interchangeable terms describing a mostly British attempt to elevate rock music to new levels of artistic credibility."
- John Sidney Cotner, "Archetypes of progressiveness in rock, ca. 1966-1973" (University of Wisconsin--Madison, 2001), p.30.
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- Brian Hogg, The History of Scottish Rock and Pop. (BBC/Guinness Publishing);'1-2-3 and the Birth of Prog', Mojo, Nov. 1994
- Deloro, Joe. "Chimes of Freedom: ringing up The Byrds' jangle guitar sound." Guitar Player. NewBay Media LLC. May 1997.
- Christensen, Thor. "Rock music's unsung milestones.(The Dallas Morning News)." Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service. McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. 7 Jul 2004. HighBeam Research. Accessed 26 May 2013  (subscription required)
- J. S. Harrington, Sonic Cool: the Life & Death of Rock 'n' Roll (Milwaukee, WI: Hal Leonard Corporation, 2003), ISBN 0-634-02861-8, p. 191.
- Cowen, Andrew. "Three men in the Van; Peter Hammill tells Andrew Cowen why Van Der Graaf Generator are still firing on all cylinders.(Features)." The Birmingham Post (England). MGN Ltd. 1 Apr 2008. HighBeam Research. Accessed 28 May 2013 (subscription required)
- "We love Yes.(News)." Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales). MGN Ltd.31 May 2005. HighBeam Research. 25 May 2013  (subscription required)
- Kening, Dan. "New age, new art? Flashback to 1971 - 'Aqualung' and its tattered man are all over rock radio. Fast forward 25 years - the royalties are still streaming in. So why is Jethro Tull's frontman frustrated?(Time Out)." Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL). Paddock Publications, Inc. 6 Sep 1996. HighBeam Research. 25 May 2013  (subscription required)
- "Heading down Brick Lane; The legendary leader of Jethro Tull - Ian Anderson is bringing a classic album back to the stage. The musician reveals why it was time to dust down Thick as a Brick.(Features)." South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales). MGN Ltd. 2 May 2012. HighBeam Research. 25 May 2013  (subscription required)
- Romano, Will. "WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT...? JOHN WEATHERS." Modern Drummer. Modern Drummer Publications Inc. Jan 2011.
- "Where are they now? Emerson, Lake and Palmer." The Birmingham Post (England). MGN Ltd. 2000. HighBeam Research. 25 May 2013  (subscription required)
- Harrington, Richard. "One Giant Step for Pink Floyd; 20 Years Ago, `Dark Side of the Moon' Began Its Cosmic Trip." The Washington Post. Washingtonpost Newsweek Interactive. 28 Apr 1993. HighBeam Research. 25 May 2013  (subscription required)
- Whiteley, Sheila. The Space Between the Notes: Rock and the Counter-Culture. London: Routledge, 1992
- DeRogatis, Jim. "The Curse of `Tubular Bells'." Chicago Sun-Times. Sun-Times News Group. 28 Feb 1993. HighBeam Research. Accessed 27 May 2013  (subscription required)
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- DeRogatis, Jim. "'Pink Flag' still flies in the face of rock history." Chicago Sun-Times. Sun-Times News Group. 18 May 2003. HighBeam Research. Accessed 13 May 2013 (subscription required)
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- Tamm, Eric (2003) . "9 King Crimson IV and Andy Summers". Robert Fripp: From crimson king to crafty master (Progressive Ears ed.). Faber and Faber (1990). ISBN 0-571-16289-4. Zipped Microsoft Word Document. Retrieved October 26, 2011.
- Gill, Chris. "Prog gnosis: a new generation exhumes the list wisdom of the '70s." Guitar Player. NewBay Media LLC. April 1995
- Allen, Matt. "Prog's progeny." The Guardian. 10 Aug 2006. Accessed 28 May 2013. 
- Lindblad, Peter. "Ayreon constructs a 'Timeline' for an ending." Goldmine. Krause Publications. 13 Feb 2009. HighBeam Research. Accessed 29 May 2013 (subscription required)
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- Serpick, Evan (May 9, 2005). "Prog Rocks Again". Entertainment Weekly.
- Campbell, Dan. "Industrious Tree; Diverse threads united in concert at 9:30 Club.(LIFE - ARTS ETC.)(IN CONCERT)." The Washington Times (Washington, DC). News World Communications, Inc. 24 Jul 2003. HighBeam Research. 27 May 2013  (subscription required)
- Johnston, Andrew. "It's only rock 'n' roll, but the fans still like it ; REVIEW BIFFY CLYRO Odyssey Arena." Belfast Telegraph. Independent News & Media PLC. 30 Mar 2013. HighBeam Research. Accessed 27 May 2013  (subscription required)
- DeRogatis, Jim. "Bombastic Mars Volta plays to the pit." Chicago Sun-Times. Sun-Times News Group. 18 May 2005. HighBeam Research. Accessed 27 May 2013  (subscription required)
- Serpick, Evan (May 5, 2005). "For New-Prog Hogs". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2009-06-12.
- "Coheed and Cambria music review". Entertainment Weekly. September 16, 2005. Retrieved 2008-04-17.
- Thrills, Adrian. "Daddy cool gives Jets their lift-off." Daily Mail (London). McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. 3 Mar 2006. HighBeam Research. Accessed 28 May 2013  (subscription required)
- Clayton-Lea, Tony. "Reviews." The Irish Times. The Irish Times. 6 Nov 2006. HighBeam Research. Accessed 28 May 2013 (subscription required)
- "Covach, John. "Echolyn and American Progressive Rock." Contemporary Music Review 18.4 (1999):Web". Informaworld.com. Retrieved 2013-05-28.
- "Calprog.com". Calprog.com. Retrieved 2013-05-28.
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- Anderson, Ian. Interviewed in BBC Prog Rock Britannia: An Observation in Three Movements. BBC Four. 2008. Television.
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- Hegarty, Paul; Halliwell, Martin (2011), Beyond and Before: Progressive Rock Since the 1960s, New York: The Continuum International Publishing Group, ISBN 978-0-8264-2332-0
- Lucky, Jerry. Progressive rock. Burlington, Ontario: Collector's Guide Publishing, Inc., 2000
- Macan, Edward. Rocking the Classics: English Progressive Rock and the Counterculture. Oxford: Oxford University Press (1997), 290 pages, ISBN 0-19-509887-0 (hardcover), ISBN 0-19-509888-9 (paperback). Analyzes progressive rock using classical musicology and also sociology.
- Martin, Bill. Listening to the Future: The Time of Progressive Rock. Peru, Ill.: Carus Publishing Company (1998), 356 pages, ISBN 0-8126-9368-X (paperback). An enthusiastic analysis of progressive rock, intermixed with the author's Marxist political views.
- Lucky, Jerry. The Progressive Rock Files. Burlington, Ontario: Collector's Guide Publishing, Inc (1998), 304 pages, ISBN 1-896522-10-6 (paperback). Gives an overview of progressive rock's history as well as histories of the major and underground bands in the genre.
- Lucky, Jerry. The Progressive Rock Handbook. Burlington, Ontario: Collector's Guide Publishing, Inc. (2008), 352 pages, ISBN 978-1-894959-76-6 (paperback). Reviews hundreds of progressive rock bands and lists their recordings. Also provides an updated overview, similar to The Progressive Rock Files.* Snider, Charles. The Strawberry Bricks Guide To Progressive Rock. Chicago, Ill.: Lulu Publishing (2008) 364 pages, ISBN 978-0-615-17566-9 (paperback). A veritable record guide to progressive rock, with band histories, musical synopses and critical commentary, all presented in the historical context of a timeline.
- Stump, Paul. The Music's All That Matters: A History of Progressive Rock. London: Quartet Books Limited (1997), 384 pages, ISBN 0-7043-8036-6 (paperback). Smart telling of the history of progressive rock focusing on English bands with some discussion of American and European groups. Takes you from the beginning to the early 1990s.