Writing Forums

Writing Forums is a privately-owned, community managed writing environment. We provide an unlimited opportunity for writers and poets of all abilities, to share their work and communicate with other writers and creative artists. We offer an experience that is safe, welcoming and friendly, regardless of your level of participation, knowledge or skill. There are several opportunities for writers to exchange tips, engage in discussions about techniques, and grow in your craft. You can also participate in forum competitions that are exciting and helpful in building your skill level. There's so much more for you to explore!

I Know What I Like: Trollheart's History of Progressive Rock (1 Viewer)

Trollheart

Senior Member
ftk2.jpg

For those who don't know, and for some reason didn't suss it out from the fact that I'm writing such a treatise, I'm a proghead, so the first part of the title above is very appropriate to me: I do know what I like, and I often tend not to venture too far past that. There are a lot of prog rock bands I have never heard, heard of, or refuse to try. I've never heard a Camel album, nothing from Caravan, I know virtually nothing about the Canterbury Scene, have an abiding hatred for ELP and am not crazy about early Yes, though I've heard little. I doubt I've ever heard any Krautrock and King Crimson remain a mystery to me.

These are not good things to admit when you're a proghead, and so I've decided to try to do something about it. The plan here is for me to go chronologically through the development of progressive rock, from its origins (though not too far back: I know some people talk about the Beatles having progressive albums, and Miles Davis, and others; these I won't be touching on, only those who have become or emerged as true progressive rock bands) through its heyday in the seventies to its death and then rebirth in the eighties, bringing in the evolution of progressive metal, and on to the present day, where it continues to enjoy a resurgence and constantly changes and evolves as its name implies.

Although I'm fifty-six this year (oh no!) I only got into what I would class as “my own music” when I was about 15, so that would be 1978, and once I found artistes I liked I tended to stick with them, buying all their albums and occasionally branching out a little, but I was not one who wanted to explore a genre. I found what I liked and I was happy with that. As a result, I could not in any way be said to have a comprehensive knowledge of progressive rock, certainly not a personal one, so I will have to rely on the recollections of others in order to trace the history of this oft-maligned and misunderstood subgenre of rock.

To help me, I will be using mostly two books I have purchased recently, shown below. Why those? Well, to be perfectly honest, I bought my sister a Kindle for Christmas, and then thought of getting one myself I was so impressed with it. But on discovering I could download an app for my phone which would allow me to read Kindle books, a lot of expense was spared and I am now able to read e-books. So rather than wait for books to arrive in the post, I can now just download them and read them right away. Certainly saves time, and often money.


512MaVVdJTL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU02_.jpg

These books are the only real authoritative records I could find on progressive rock, and so I've decided to let them guide my feet on the steps of this journey I'm undertaking. I may look into some online sources too, but only for reference: I do not in any way want to plagiarise anyone's work or rob from their writings, and the books I mention are there for my own information and to allow me fill in the details I don't have or am not aware of. Wiki will of course play its part, as it always does. Generally the way I'm going to do it is this:
51aWztwEzSL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU02_.jpg

Going chronologically (what other way would I go, after all?) I'll be looking at the beginnings of the subgenre, noting any important albums along the way and mini-reviewing them. Any albums I'm aware of, have heard or know will be noted and spoken about, and here I will bring to bear any personal knowledge or insights or memories that are appropriate. I will try to do it as a kind of book, labelling chapters in important eras, as well as year-by-year. If I can.

I invite any progheads, or anyone interested or who has stories, information, corrections or advice to assist me: this is certainly one of the biggest undertakings I have ever attempted, so any help is certainly appreciated. Do remember though, if you intend to contribute, to keep strictly within the guidelines for chronology. In other words, don't start posting about an album released in 1972 when we're only in 1968, and so on. Which is not to say that we can't discuss same, but I'd like to try to keep the conversation pertinent to the year or era being covered at the time.

I'll be doing my best to give an overall picture of the genre as it has developed over the decades. If an album or artiste I feature here does not tally with your view of prog rock, bear in mind that I'm being guided by these authors, and while I won't slavishly follow their recommendations and advice, they obviously know more about the subject than me and I will have to mostly defer to their expertise. However, if you feel there's an artiste I'm not covering, or I'm covering someone I shouldn't be in this context, feel free to let me know.


After reading several, quite boring and arty-farty chapters of the first book I mentioned I've come to the conclusion that it is --- how can I say this without giving offence? --- total crap. Well, that's not fair, but I had hoped it would give me something of a timeline, who was first, what elements make up a prog album, and so on, a starting point if you will. But it's been jumping back and forth from Duke Ellington to The Who, The Nice to Floyd and I'm still as confused as I was before I began reading. Attempts to answer this question --- which was the first prog album --- have yielded almost flame wars in forums and websites, and everyone has their own idea but there is no clear answer it would seem. Therefore, for the moment (and given that the other book is on Prog Metal which did not really get going till much later) I will discount these authors' opinions and fall back on my good friend Wiki, as I almost always do.

While they do not list a definitive starting point for prog rock --- and it is really hard, given that so much of psychedelia, blues and other forms had nascent elements of prog within their structure --- there is a basic agreed “ground zero” point of 1967 as being the accepted year that progressive rock as a whole more or less came into being. There are albums from the previous year that seem to figure too, though, and so what my plan is here (right or wrong) is to look briefly at albums that are considered allied to the progressive rock movement but not actually part of it --- albums that have, or started, certain principles that became the founding logic of prog rock --- and more deeply into ones which were composed by bands who became important to the movement and influenced other bands later on. I will therefore grade albums on their importance and relevance to the genre.

One which are considered intrinsic to Progressive Rock, founding fathers if you will, will be graded as Type A. Ones which had an effect on Prog Rock, but are not specifically that genre, will be Type B and ones which are decidedly not (in my opinion) Progressive Rock albums will be type C. These grades will appear in the reviews. The reviews themselves may be quite short, a simple look at the album, or they may be reasonably in-depth, but given how much I have to get through here, I don't envision extensive, in-depths reviews. I will be trying to achieve four things with this journal:

1. Get a deeper understanding of the history and legacy of this music
2.
Finally listen to albums and bands I have not, for whatever reason, listened to
3. Introduce anyone who wishes to this subgenre as best I can and
4. Afford those who deserve it their place in the history of Progressive Rock

So buckle up, get your best cape ironed and prepare to sneer at anyone who listens to a song that's less than nine minutes long. It's gonna be a bumpy ride, but hopefully a fun one too.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Note: Album reviews are not included in this; they are listed below separately by year

Chapter I:Into the Mystic: the Courtship of Progressive Rock
Before the Storm
Reflections on 1967
Introduction to 1968
Album Review List for 1968
Reflections on 1968
The Agreed Definition of Progressive Rock. Maybe.
Chapter II: Children of the Revolution
Changing Times: Ascendancy of the Album

INDEX OF ALBUMS BY YEAR

Note: (1966 only) since several albums are reviewed in each post, the links shown here will bring you to that post, where then you'll have to scroll down to find the album(s) you want. Sorry, but there's no other way to do it and hey: it's just a little scrolling.

1966
The Beach Boys: Pet Sounds, The Mothers of Invention: Freak Out! and The Byrds: Fifth Dimension
1967
The Velvet Underground and Nico - The Velvet Underground and Nico
Procol Harum - Procol Harum
The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Pink Floyd - The Piper at the Gates of Dawn
Captain Beefheart - Safe as Milk
The Moody Blues - Days of Future Passed
The Nice - The Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack
1968
The Mothers of Invention - We're Only in It for the Money
The United States of America - The United States of America
Pink Floyd - A Saucerful of Secrets
Family - Music in a Doll's House
The Moody Blues - In Search of the Lost Chord
Giles, Giles and Fripp - The Cheerful Insanity of Giles, Giles and Fripp
Caravan - Caravan
Jethro Tull _ This Was
The Nice - Ars Longa, Vita Brevis
Soft Machine - The Soft Machine
Procol Harum _ Shine on Brightly
The Pretty Things - S.F. Sorrow
 
Last edited:

Ralph Rotten

Staff member
Media Manager
What about Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes?

[video=youtube;xeSZHpKERdI]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xeSZHpKERdI[/video]
 

Ralph Rotten

Staff member
Media Manager
Another by Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes

[video=youtube;xU0sOVDqpGo]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xU0sOVDqpGo[/video]
 

Trollheart

Senior Member
I've never heard of them. Will check them out. What year are we talking here? Remember, we begin in 1967 so really, although it's not a hard and fast rule, discussion should be limited to any bands from that year for the time being.
 

Deleted member 56686

Retired Supervisor
WF Veterans
If you're talking 1967 I can think of Pink Floyd- The Pipers at the Gates of Dawn, The Moody Blues- Days of Future Passed, and Procol Harum (self titled album). Also Zappa and your favorite, Captain Beefheart :lol:
 

Trollheart

Senior Member
Chapter I: Into the Mystic: the Courtship of Progressive Rock

Even for those of us who weren't there, or old enough to appreciate being there at the time if we were, the sixties is acknowledged as one of the pivotal decades of the twentieth century. Long held conventions were being challenged, youth was on the rise and the old order was slowly crumbling. In art, poetry, literature and a rising trend towards what would become known as “mind-expanding” drugs, in sexual relationships and in man (and woman)'s relationship with the Earth, in fashion and fad, in cinemas and theatres, in schools and universities, the entire world was on a collision course. Old stood firm against the tide of young, but knew in its heart it would not be able to hold: age is the downfall of the more mature, and youth's exuberance can push it to undreamt-of heights. So, in the student riots and sit-ins and protests of the sixties, the names of new heroes and heroines coming through - Mary Quant, Andy Warhol, Bob Dylan - the old guard saw its eventual and inevitable fall, but refused to go down just yet.

Attitudes towards youth by the elders became entrenched in opposition and such buzzwords of the time as “beatniks”, “acid heads” and of course “hippies”. Later, words like “draft-dodgers” would make their way into the vocabulary of both sides, a matter of shame and disgrace for the elders, who had after all done their bit in World War II, so that these idle layabouts could waste their formative years smoking pot and listening to the wrong influences and taking a stand against authority. On the other side of the fence, “draft-dodgers” and “peaceniks” became badges of honour for the young; they hadn't asked for a war in southeast Asia, they had nothing against the Viet Cong: why should they fight and die in a rich man's war? Their parents may have held fast to certain principles, but that didn't mean they had to. The old guys didn't get it: this was a new era, an age of love and brotherhood and understanding, and war was not on the agenda.

It stood to reason, then, that these “bright young things”, the rising force of youth and the hope for the future would not be content to listen to their parents' music, no more than they shared their outmoded values. They wanted something different, something happening, something now. And if it wasn't available, why then they would create it. How hard could it be? In a kind of reverse echo of the punk movement of the late seventies, everyone suddenly began joining or forming bands, or “groups” as they often preferred to be known. This can be seen in the formation of acts like The Animals, The Birds, Pink Floyd, The Nice, The Moody Blues, Soft Machine, Van der Graaf Generator ... the list goes on. And these bands would speak with their own voice, not that of the establishment. They would challenge the old order, they would bring it down. Not like with punk rock, using anger and aggression and a sense of disenchantment, but with love, understanding, new perceptions and new ideas. These bands would open their minds to the endless possibilities that existed, both in music and the world at large, possibilities their “square” parents (ask your parents. Or grandparents) had closed themselves off from, ignored, refused to see. They would, to quote Jim Morrison, open the doors to perception, and if they needed some help getting there via LSD, marijuana and such, then as the Beatles once wrote, let it be.

Everyone was not along for the ride. There were of course some bands of the sixties who were content to play what we would term “normal” rock or pop, with a structured verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus-chorus pattern, and to only sing about things like love and girls and maybe cars, and fair play to them. Many of them became huge writing this sort of music and being appreciated for it. But other bands were not happy to be placed in a box, even one of their own devising, and looking at their music notation, or down at their musical instruments, they asked the question that has presaged all great discoveries in science, maths and all other disciplines: what if?

And so they began experimenting with unconventional song structures. Who says a song can only be three or four minutes long? Here: this one's seventeen! Take that, Government! I don't want to sing about girls and dates: this song's about a dragon's journey of self-awareness, achieved through the use of drugs. In your face, establishment! Guitar, bass, drums? Nah! Let's try a clarinet! A saxophone! A violin! In fact, what are those new machines you invented called again, Mr. Moog? A synth-esiser, eh? I'll have one of them: see what we can do with that! What do you think of me now, family values?

This experimentation of course was not always received with open arms by the audiences, many of whom just “didn't get it”, being too steeped in the traditions of rock and roll or pop music to be able to break through the barrier and reach beyond the boundaries. They probably thought such music only fit for college intelligentsia, dropouts and hippies. And to a degree they were right. Coming from the twin influences of jazz and folk music, via straight ahead rock and roll, there was, or would be, a lot to what would become progressive rock music, and it would not be for everyone. Few prog rock bands had hit singles initially (though of course later they would, but still not anywhere as many as the more conventional rock or pop bands) and they didn't really care, concentrating more on developing their themes and ideas into often album-long tracks, sometimes so long they had to be broken up into sections, becoming suites of songs. To a great degree, in form and structure prog rock would mirror classical music, which was often long and convoluted, and went through many changes over the span of the length of a concerto or symphony. Because of this, as well as other factors, prog rock would come to be seen as an elitist form of music, a snobby form only practiced by what we would call today tossers. Real bands didn't play prog rock, that was just wanking around, an accusation Mr. Rotten and his army of slavering punks would level at the subgenre ten years later and which, at that point, would be quite true.

But in 1966 and 1967, the dream was being born. Bands such as The Nice, Van der Graaf Generator and The Moody Blues, Zappa and Floyd, a nascent Genesis and Procul Harum were all about to stop dancing to the standard music of the day and begin writing sheet music for a whole new kind of waltz, one which would take its dancers to strange new places, open their minds and allow their spirits to soar, give birth to the idea of the concept album - and album listening in general, where people had more or less just picked tracks from them before, or bought singles - nod back to the progenitors of music and point the way forward to the next progression (!) of the form. It would be a wild and crazy, often drug-fuelled ride, but if you had the imagination, the sense of adventure and the idea that the current music was stale and boring, and the desire to look beyond the obvious, break the rules and write new ones, you were going to find yourself in a wonderful new place.

Generally accepted as the first progressive rock album, or at least the first to point the way, I always find it odd that a surf rock band like The Beach Boys get such credit, but I guess up until then nobody had really thought of messing with reverb, voice tracks and trying out strange new instruments. The use of the theremin would become part of the signature sound of these California boys, and lead to others adopting it, as well as weirder, more unconventional instruments, into their sound. Impressed with The Beatles' Rubber Soul, composer Brian Wilson was amazed that the album sounded like, well, an album, not just a collection of hit singles destined for the charts, surrounded by a bunch of other sub-standard songs, which was generally how albums were recorded up to that point. Utilising the latest recording techniques in vocal harmonies and instrumentation, Wilson set out to produce a rival to the English band's masterpiece, enthusing to his wife that he was about to write “the greatest rock album ever made”.

The general consensus is that he did just that.

PetSoundsCover.jpg
Album title: Pet Sounds
Artiste: The Beach Boys
Nationality: American
Label: CBS Columbia
Year: 1966
Grade: B
Previous Experience of this Artiste: I have heard this album before, but only listened to it briefly. Like everyone else, I've heard (and pretty much loathed) their hit singles.
Landmark value*: Seen as one of, if not the first progressive rock albums, the first to really embrace the multi-layered sound and utilise the then-cutting edge recording techniques, and the first US album to be written as other than a collection of singles and filler tracks. Influenced bands from Pink Floyd to Paul McCartney (the latter of which is ironic, given that Wilson was spurred to make this album after listening to a Beatles record) and from Sonic Youth to Fleet Foxes.
Track listing: Wouldn't it be nice/You still believe in me/That's not me/Don't talk (Put your head on my shoulder)/I'm waiting for the day/Let's go away for a while/Sloop John B/God only knows/I know there's an answer/Here today/I just wasn't made for these times/Pet sounds/Caroline, no
Comments: You certainly have to give them points for the most instruments used on an album. Prior to Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells this has to be in the running: I count over thirty separate instruments! Despite that though, there's often not the “wall of sound” you might expect. I've never been able to justify this album's position in the pantheon of progressive rock luminaries, although in fairness I've only listened to it twice now, but people better qualified than me to make that judgement have made it, so who am I to disagree? Still, to me it's just a pop/rock album with a lot of interesting sounds and vocal harmonies, but nothing more than that. I don't see my stance on this ever changing.
Favourite track(s): Wouldn't it be nice, Don't talk (Put your head on my shoulder), I'm waiting for the day, Let's go away for awhile, Sloop John B, God only knows
Least favourite track(s): Everything else
Overall impression: Don't get me wrong: I don't hate this album. In fact I'm starting to quite enjoy it. I just don't see it as being a precursor to progressive rock. Sorry, can't see it. Decent album, ground breaking maybe but not the grandaddy of prog, not for me. Probably doesn't help that I don't like the Beachies.

(A word on Rating: as I may not particularly like an album but it may be deserving of a higher rating due to its place in prog rock history, I will rate albums both on a Personal and a Legacy Rating, then use the average of those two to get a Final Rating).
Personal Rating: 2.5
Legacy Rating: 4.5
Final Rating:
prograting3andhalf.png
3.5



* (Landmark Value is exactly what it says it is: how critical, formative or important was this album --- despite my liking it or hating it, or even being ambivalent towards it ---- to the development of progressive rock, and how much did it have an influence on, or drive the subgenre?)

If the Beach Boys were not really the sort of band you would generally expect to see associated with the term progressive rock, Frank Zappa certainly is. A unique, often inscrutable personality, Zappa began his career with The Mothers of Invention, and in one of those pieces of irony fate loves throwing at us, he was asked to take over the already-formed band due to a fight between two band members, one of whom left. Once he was established as band leader, Zappa took total control of the Mothers, insisting they play his own original work and not covers, and becoming more of a control freak than Roger Waters and Brian Wilson put together. But it worked. Previously unknown, the Mothers (then called The Soul Giants) were discovered and soon began to make their presence felt on the underground music scene in LA, and went on to release their debut album, only the second double album in rock history and the first real concept album.

To quote the man himself:
If you were to graphically analyze the different types of directions of all the songs in the Freak Out!album, there's a little something in there for everybody. At least one piece of material is slanted for every type of social orientation within our consumer group, which happens to be six to eighty. Because we got people that like what we do, from kids six years old screaming on us to play "Wowie Zowie." Like I meet executives doing this and that, and they say, 'My kid's got the record, and 'Wowie Zowies their favorite song.
FreakOut%21.jpg

Album title: Freak Out!
Artiste: The Mothers of Invention
Nationality: American
Label: Verve
Year: 1966
Grade: B
Previous Experience of this Artiste: I've heard one track which I did not like, and I believe is on this album. I am not anticipating liking this but it must be experienced due to its importance in the overall development of prog rock.
Landmark value*: The first real concept album, so that has to count for something. Also one of the first from a new band to allow the artiste almost total creative freedom and provide him with a virtually unlimited budget with which to realise his vision. One of the first, I think, to take direct aim at the established American way of life and to lampoon it in music.
Track listing: Hungry Freaks, Daddy/ I Ain't Got No Heart/ Who are the Brain Police?/Go Cry on Somebody Else's Shoulder/ Motherly Love/ How Could I be Such a Fool/ Wowie Zowie/ You Didn't Try to Call Me/ Any Way the Wind Blows/ I'm Not Satisfied/ You're Probably Wondering Why I'm Here/ Trouble Every Day/ Help I'm a Rock ((i) Okay to Tap Dance (ii) In Memoriam, Edgard Varese (iii) It Can't Happen Here)/ The Return of the Son of Monster Magnet ((i) Ritual Dance of the Child-killer (ii) Nullis Pretii (No Commercial Potential))
Comments: Well initially I'm surprised at how straight rock-and-roll this is, though no doubt it'll get more out there later. But I really did expect something like ten men standing on hills a mile apart and banging dustbin lids while farting. That's probably his third album. Pleasant surprise, very sixties rock with a dash of psychedelia, some great lyrics which he would of course become known and even infamous for. "Who are the Brain Police?" is that one Zappa track I mentioned that I have heard, and I can appreciate it more in the context of the album but I still don't like it. In fact, a little way in I find myself getting bored. "Help, I'm a Rock" is where it really starts to get freaky and psychedelic, and by the end it's more or less where I expected it would be. I suppose his music goes on in this weird, experimental (heavy on the mental!) vein. Bah.
Favourite track(s): Hungry Freaks, Daddy, I Ain't Got No Heart, Go Cry on Somebody Else's Shoulder, Trouble Every Day
Least favourite track(s):Who are the Brain Police?, You're Probably Wondering Why I'm Here, I'm Not Satisfied, Help I'm a Rock, The Return of the Son of the Monster Magnet
Overall impression: Started well but fell apart about halfway. Not that I did not expect this, but by the time we were onto the third side I had lost interest and was totally bored.
Personal Rating: 2.5
Legacy Rating: 4.5
Final Rating: 3.5
prograting3andhalf.png



Although many bands who would go on to impact on the progressive rock scene were formed in or before 1966 - Soft Machine, Barclay James Harvest, Pink Floyd, The Moody Blues -- none had any released material until at least 1967, with the exception of The Moody Blues, who released their first album in 1965. This, however, was primarily a rhythm'n'blues album and seems to have no connection whatever to progressive rock, and their second album is regarded as the first of theirs to embrace or influence that subgenre. So that leaves us with very little to work with in 1966, but to complete the year I am, as I said, going to take a quick spin through the only other album deemed to have had any effect on prog rock, even though it seems like an odd choice, to me at any rate. But as I'e said so often before, and it's as true today as it was when I first uttered the words, what do I know?
5DCover.jpg
Album title: Fifth Dimension
Artiste: The Byrds
Nationality: American
Label: Columbia
Year: 1966
Grade: C
Previous Experience of this Artiste: “Mister Tambourine man”, “Turn, turn, turn”
Landmark value: It's said to have been the album that almost created the subgenre of psychedelic rock. How true that is I don't know, but if so then psychedelia had a real effect on the birth of progressive rock, so it's got to have a decent value.
Track listing: 5D (Fifth dimension)/ Wild mountain thyme/ Mr. Spaceman/ I see you/ What's happening?/ I come and stand at every door/ Eight miles high/ Hey Joe/ Captain Soul/ John Riley/ 2-4-2 Foxtrot
Comments: Nice organ work on the opening track, but it sounds quite Country to me and it's followed by a folk traditional song, then I guess Mr. Spaceman can claim to be psychedelic in part, referring as it does to aliens and extraterrestrials, which (maybe) had not been a subject pursued much if at all by bands or singers. It's played in a sort of bluegrass tone though, which I feel robs it of a little of its desired impact. I come and stand at every door, while a cover, sounds like a minstrel's lay or something.

They do a version of Hey Joe and though it's not his song, I think we all identify it with Hendrix by now. This version just sounds wrong to me. Generally I'm becoming less impressed as the album goes on. The harmonica instrumental Captain Soul is pretty good though.
Favourite track(s): Wild mountain thyme, Mr. Spaceman, Captain Soul
Least favourite track(s): Hey Joe, 2-4-2 Foxtrot
Overall impression: Yeah. Don't see it. There's little about this album that says nascent prog rock to me, or even psychedelia, though I'm not that familiar with that sort of music yet. I see it as a folk/rock album and that's pretty much it. Can't argue with history though. Anyway I wasn't impressed personally.
Personal Rating: 2.0
Legacy Rating: 3.0
Final Rating: 2.5

So that's 1966 done. Before I head on to the following year I think it's perhaps incumbent upon me to take a short trip back to note the bands formed in the two or three years prior, who would later rise to prominence within or contribute to the growth of progressive rock. Although none released any albums - at least, prog-worthy - until at least 1967, the mere event of their forming should really be marked, and a short piece perhaps written on who they were/are and what their general effect on and input to the progressive rock movement was. So I'll be doing that in the next entry, then moving on to 1967.

 
Last edited:

Deleted member 56686

Retired Supervisor
WF Veterans
Needless to say, we are in disagreement here. I'm still trying to set up my own reviews in the way of greatest bands and albums (I always have to rank things :lol:). But I will say that Pet Sounds is in my personal top ten. I can add here (and you'll probably hate this) that Brian Wilson used only session musicians, a studio band that was known as the Wrecking Crew to be exact, and only used his fellow Beach Boys for vocals. There was a pretty good documentary about the album on cable recently. The Beach Boys are not known for their classic albums otherwise but they would have a second wind creatively in the early seventies with Sunflower and Surf's Up.

And, no, you don't get the joke with Zappa. This was Zappa's style to poke holes at, well, everything. Freak Out is my favorite of all the Zappa albums and the Mothers of Invention as a whole probably fare better than the solo Zappa albums later. Honestly, I've listened to Freak Out dozens of times and even I can't remember every track, but Hungry Freaks Daddy, which opens the double album set (you can't get more progressive than that) and Who Are the Brain Police (a stab at weird psychedelia) would be the stand outs for me. Like Pet Sounds in a different way, this one may have to grow on you.

Now the Byrds are one of my favorite all time bands and Fifth Dimension is my favorite album from them but I will concede that the Byrds were not known for classic albums. Actually, their most acclaimed album is probably Sweetheart of the Rodeo, a country rock masterpiece that is as far away from prog as you can get. As for Fifth Dimension, I do like it but there are some weak tracks admittedly. For me the stand outs are the infamous Eight Miles High, which Roger McGuinn swears is not about drugs :lol: and What's Happening with the sitar like psychedelic guitars.


And where's Revolver? If you're only doing one album per band, I get it, but Revolver is a very experimental album, at least in parts. It is certainly eclectic. But I'll say more on that in my Beatles review.

It's a good start, Trolls. Looking forward to 1967. :)
 

Princesisto

Senior Member
I've never heard the album Pet Sounds but I remember (doesn't that make ya feel young?) as a 10 year old some singles from it like "Wouldn't It Be Nice?" and "Sloop John B" and, with respect, I don't know how you get them into "Progressive": they are typical Beach Boys.

What is missing, however, is the first Progressive hit, as I can remember, which is from the Beach Boys and completely atypical, in December 1966: "Good Vibrations". Totally unique and we'd never heard music like that!

[video=youtube;5IYJtdtr678]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IYJtdtr678[/video]
 
Last edited:

Princesisto

Senior Member
And also, in December 1966, let's not whiten up everything: an equally popular first Progressive hit by Diana Ross and the Supremes: "Reflections".

[video=youtube;Y_NnXjMBwLQ]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_NnXjMBwLQ[/video]
 
Last edited:

Trollheart

Senior Member
@ Princesisto: Granted, probably, but I imagine there are quite a lot of bands/artistes who could be said to have had a song or songs that were touching on prog rock. This is a huge endeavour though and I personally am concentrating here on albums, not tracks. I can't see any argument for the inclusion of Diana Ross as a prog artist, or contributing to the prog movement in any way. So I won't be featuring that, and it's nothing to do with race. There were likely some black and of course Asian artists in prog rock, but overall I think it was at least 90% white (though don't quote me) so I'm just following the history of what happened.

@Mrmustard: You and your darn Beatles! :lol: Revolver wasn't mentioned in the Wiki article which is why I didn't select it, though now I look I can see there's a good reason to do so. Therefore, I will give it a spin, write my thoughts down and post that before I go on. Thanks for slowing the whole process up; as if I wasn't busy enough already! :lol:
 

Trollheart

Senior Member
Oh and by the way, we would have been on to 67 already if it hadn't been for you and your bloody Revolver! So settle down, and as soon as I have a spare minute I'll listen to it and write it up, THEN we can move on. As John Cleese remarked in the movie Clockwise: "Yes, we're all waiting for you!"
 

Ralph Rotten

Staff member
Media Manager
I've never heard of them. Will check them out. What year are we talking here? Remember, we begin in 1967 so really, although it's not a hard and fast rule, discussion should be limited to any bands from that year for the time being.


So it's only rock in 1967?
Kinda narrows it a lot.
 

Trollheart

Senior Member
So it's only rock in 1967?
Kinda narrows it a lot.
Not sure what you're saying here, Ralph me old mate. Prog rock is generally agreed to have begun in 1966/67, so that's where the history begins. Obviously, the plan is to go through each year right up to this, checking out the bands and the changes along the way, especially the emergence of things like the Canterbury Scene and the rise of Progressive Metal, the eighties reinvention of the genre with neo-progressive rock, and so on. I'm not sure why you think that "narrows it a lot": I'm hardly going to be including genres that have nothing to do with prog rock.

ETA: Having re-read your comment I think I see what you mean. Naturally, discussion of ANY prog bands here is fine, but if you want me to COVER a band from, say, 1972, I won't be doing that till we get to that year. Discussions are fine, but the history will proceed along chronological lines, so if you can suggest a band or album from 1967 that I should be covering now (as Musty did with Revolver) then I'll consider looking at it. But if you suggest, here and now, a band or album from 1985, I'll take note, but won't check them out until I do 1985. Clear enough?

The tealdeer version: you can talk about any prog bands here you wish to at any time, but the main chronological history I'm posting will follow the bands and albums from each year as it comes up.
 
Top