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My List of Top 10 or 20 Progressive/art Rock Tunes

 
 
Fountofwisdom
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jan, 2009 12:28 am
@jespah,
Here are my guidelines for a prog rock album:
You would not want the fact that you own it bought up if you were on trial for the possession of narcotics.
It is not played at parties. (Ones that don't involve cavorting or altering ones senses)
It is not covered by acts on Pop Idol or the American equivilent.
There are less than 6 tracks per side and one is over 8 minutes.
You never mention owning these to cool people for fear of ridicule.
They are not called Marillion: and contain no members of the Beach Boys.

Rush are probably on the border: Bonus point for mentioning Renaissance, which are a Northern band.

No one has mentioned queen: Our advocate of yes didn't include Tales of Topographic Oceans which has an artier title.
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jan, 2009 02:48 am
@Fountofwisdom,
fountof wisdom said:
Quote:
With lists you always realise you missed some obvious choices. I am now going to mention Hotel California. Ooops.


The eagles? Progressive? Why? Because they produced one thematic album (Desperado).
If you want to talk about progressives in terms of concept albums - you need to mention Quadrophenia for sure.
And in fact, I do think the Who were pretty progressive for their time, in terms of musical, lyrical and thematic arrangements.

Fountof wisdom said:
Quote:
Here are my guidelines for a prog rock album:
You would not want the fact that you own it bought up if you were on trial for the possession of narcotics.
It is not played at parties. (Ones that don't involve cavorting or altering ones senses)
It is not covered by acts on Pop Idol or the American equivilent.
There are less than 6 tracks per side and one is over 8 minutes.
You never mention owning these to cool people for fear of ridicule.
They are not called Marillion: and contain no members of the Beach Boys.


In fact, Hotel California would not be considered a progressive album by your own definition- (above)
Hotel California was played at many parties...believe me. And it produced at least three top forty hits (in America) that I can think of right off the top of my head. It was played over and over and over on every top forty radio station in the country (and still is).
I don't really get what progressive is I guess. If you mean a band who added to a genre's ouvre to the point that they moved it along to a different space conceptually - a lot of bands would fit that bill no matter how cool the people who listened to them were or weren't or how well known they were or weren't. All music moves music somewhere.

To me, progressive means innovative- something totally new that no one had ever really done or attempted before. Maybe to British ears, the Eagles represented a new and different sound, but in America they were a wonderful (in their earlier years and in my opinion) though actually somewhat later addition to what was already a pretty well-defined and well represented musical phenoomena coming out of southern California at the time.
They made it more well known and popularly accepted, but they certainly weren't progressive in terms of being pioneers of the genre of music they played.

Dire Straits/U2/Aerosmith? Love some of all of the stuff all of them did, but I wouldn't call them progressive (except maybe U2- they were pretty different for their time). But actually, when I think about it, they were different in that they were almost sort of a return to basics, at a time when punk had pretty much replaced a lot of that.
I don't know, but it seems to me that you might be labeling bands who produced concept albums as being musically progressive, no matter that what they produced musically wasn't exactly what I'd call progressive - except in the broadest sense of that word.
Fountofwisdom
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jan, 2009 03:43 am
@aidan,
OK I withdraw my nomination for Hotel California. I think I do emphasise progressive albums possibly because bands could change radically: I think the "concept" album is largely a prog term. I have never been to a party where "Hotel California" has been played; guess I'm just lucky.
Actually the Eagles are a British band, their first 2 albums were recorded at Abbey Road: apparently their music wasn't appreciated in the U.S. at the time.
I have asked some music journalists I know for their input. They mention Jethro Tull, Wishbone Ash and Magnum, I am not an expert on any of these bands.
Two groups on the obscurist wing are Soft Machine and Can: who are loved by musicians. Can apparently don't tour because they feel their music will be lost on the stupid public. In fact they don't like appearing in public or making albums. They are not a marketing man's Dream.
While I'm on the Continent I will also bring in John Michelle Jarre's Oxygene and Tubular Bells. Which is by Mike Oldfield. Forgot my grammar.
One one these has to be included.

Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jan, 2009 09:02 am
@Fountofwisdom,
The purpose of my creating this thread was to spark discussion and I'm pleased to see that it has done the task.

Don't withdraw the nomination for 'Hotel California' just yet. I defend it...but not just with regards to the music itself. With the intial release of `Hotel', and later on when re-released in SACD with video format around 2000, they incorporated state-of-the-art studio technology. Around 2000, with SACD and sight & sound, this was at the cutting edge of creativity with musical technology. This is a broader effect and had to do with music as an art form.

My assessment here is not just about placing them in this niche. We may or may not ever agree on what we define as Art Rock / Progressive Rock. What they did here, IMHO, was ART and they sure progressed beyond the presentation of what came prior. The sound and sight was far advanced in many creative ways over 99% of other releases of their time. In fact, I selected my audiophile/videophile system components based on the presentation of that very album as did 1000s of other music-lovers. Some people bought this album for it's musicality and for it's state-of-the-art technology and presentation of the beauty of rock music.

However, what I think I could be detecting from you, Aidan, is either a displeasure with their style or perhaps because of their commerciality and pervasiveness of the music...LATER ON. Unfortunately, every now and then, even Progressive or Art Rock will catch on with the mainstream buyers. Even the unwashed masses can love it and adopt it. That can be tedious.

For me, all of this does not take away the speciality of when I FIRST heard it. And it doesn't take away the creative genius of what it took to think it up and be different than what the record company or mainstream THEN was used to. It's hard to objectively grasp what the dynamics in music and entertainment were like at THAT TIME with the eyes and ears of today.

I can't help it if people accidentally discover something good and then play it in the ground. Hell, it could EVEN be elevator music by now. I've heard 'Stairway to Heaven' on an elevator, so anything goes. First time I heard 'Stairway', I was blown away. But this last time I heard it, I was yawning.

It's all relative, but this is not strictly about popularity and acceptance. If you take, as an example, the acceptance of the progressive art group Steely Dan. For the moment, we can put aside the group being categorized as rock-jazz fusion. They were strictly a niche group only played predominantly in the urban northeast and urban college towns scattered in west coast, etc . After perhaps a decade or maybe 15 yrs, much to the chagrin and horror of Steely Dan, mainstream people started to discover them. No matter who bought the records or how often played, the music is still the same..or perception of it shifts.

So we might agree that this is all sliding scale, so to speak. What was Art or Progressive Rock at the time of release is one thing, but what happens aftewards is another phenomenon entirely. Is it The Beatles fault that almost everyone in music changed their creative direction after 'Sgt. Pepper's'and 'Abbey Road'. One might argue about how progressive they really were then, but one can't argue about the massive creative effect they had on ALL of music. Hell, even stodgy classical music became more popular and incorporated elements of rock music. It was not JUST about commerciality, it was about the elements of creativity...literally PROGRESS of the art.
Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jan, 2009 09:05 am
@Fountofwisdom,
Just because The Eagles were produced at Abbey Road that doesn't make them a British band. How do you figure that? Was their anyone in the group that is from UK or had UK citizenship? James Taylor was one of those produced in the same studio. Is he a Brit because he recorded there and couldn't get recorded in US at that time?

However, that being said, it does speak highly for a British Studio corporation, though. The fact that American studios became conservative or had their heads up their butts, would play out further later on. Right now, the whole industry is in a mess because of their greed and short-sightedness.
0 Replies
 
Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jan, 2009 09:13 am
@Fountofwisdom,
You can add Tangerine Dream to that list of progressives too.

I'll look back in the thread, but I can't recall much discussion about Grateful Dead. They should be in this list, fo' sho'!
Fountofwisdom
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jan, 2009 09:46 am
@Ragman,
Actually I was teasing about bands being British: Britain is a lot smaller than America: it is easier to have a Nationwide hit.
It is to some amusement to the Brits that bands considered to be archetypically American actually recorded in Britain first. Bob Dylan I believed toured Britain before America. Hendrix too. I think the only bands more American than the Eagles are the Beach Boys and the Dixie Chicks.
The Grateful Dead are hard to categorise: certainly they need a mention.
Here are some obscure(ish) hippy bands. Man are definitely prog rockers, and worth a listen if not outstanding. They are little known outside Wales, but have been producing records and growing their hair since the 60's.
The Pink Fairies are on the rockier side, but don't charge people for their gigs (they are that hippy.)
Hawkwind's views that LSD to be given to school children mean they dont get airplay.
For a single track I think Freebird by Lynyrd Skynyrd has to count.
Bi-Polar Bear
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jan, 2009 10:00 am
Gentle giant was prog rock...and King Crimson was unreal. some really major musicians have done time with Robert fripp.
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jan, 2009 10:05 am
@Ragman,
Ragman - I think it's just a matter of personal taste. I really, really loved the Eagle's old stuff and found Hotel California to be the start of their downward slide into commercialism.
To me, Hotel California represented a lack of progress - almost a regression in terms of their songwriting abilities- which up to then I'd found nothing but almost always fresh and worth listening to. I don't know very much about or listen out for technical expertise, but it seems you do, so I wonder if what you hear as technical wizardry, I hear as the beginning of that mellow smoothness that, in my mind turned into creeping middle of the roadness that I feel has overtaken them.

But no, early Eagles...I loved, though I still wouldn't call them progressive or any more progressive than Gram Parsons and the Flying Burrito Brothers, who I believe actually came first and probably informed the music of the Eagles and Jackson Browne, etc.

I was thinking about the Grateful Dead too - they changed the way music was played and listened to live - in fact sparked a whole lifestyle for a load of people. I think they're definitely musical progressives.
Bi-Polar Bear
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jan, 2009 10:19 am
@aidan,
I love the Eagles but to call them prog rock is completely out of the ball park...not even in the parking lot outside of the stadium.

As for the Dead... never could get with that...or Phish. Mys oldest is a Dead Head...although not a drop acid follow them around one.
0 Replies
 
Bi-Polar Bear
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jan, 2009 10:21 am
@Fountofwisdom,
please go back to my post and see the word Tales.... REAL prog rockers find that sufficient. It was their best album with the possible exception of Close to the Edge. I smoked hash with Rick Wakeman and some of their road crew after that show in Roanoke Va. across the street at Holiday Inn.

I first saw Yes as an opening act when Howe had just joined. A lot of people dont know that Peter Banks was actually responsible for a lot of the stuff on The Yes album and was never credited for it. Speaking of Peter Banks let's give a nod to Flash. Tony Kaye did one album with a band called Badger after Yes and Roger Dean did the artwork for the album....but it was more mainstream-ish.
Bi-Polar Bear
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jan, 2009 10:23 am
Hawkwind may not have gotten much play but Lemmy is immortal Wink
0 Replies
 
wandeljw
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jan, 2009 11:27 am
The lead singer from The Verve does a live version of Bittersweet Symphony with musicians from Coldplay at this youtube link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHhVTVMXbPQ
0 Replies
 
wandeljw
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jan, 2009 12:06 pm
Three female vocalists join Pink Floyd in a live version of "Great Gig in the Sky":
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIXuufXJs98
0 Replies
 
jespah
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jan, 2009 12:14 pm
@Bi-Polar Bear,
Bi-Polar Bear wrote:
Gentle giant was prog rock...and King Crimson was unreal. some really major musicians have done time with Robert fripp.


Thank you thank you thank you was trying to remember the name Gentle Giant.
Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jan, 2009 03:59 pm
@aidan,
So let me understand you...where in their development and within the spectrum of their work were they less commerical? Do you think that 'Peaceful Easy Feelin' is/was less commercial than 'Hotel California'? I think that they were always on the comemrical side.

I still feel that musical groups can be commercial AND progressive, though that achievement is rarely achieved. The history of Rock is littered with groups that tried to do it and failed.

Rather than repeat what I wrote earlier, I ask that you reread it. My point was that later on some of where their progressiveness comes into play is with bringing better and better technology to their music. This results in music that brings home a feeling of realism, rather than a distancing as with other advances in technology. The music and the feel of emotions they convey comes cross so much better than with other groups studio work. Granted, it's not earthshaking, but to me it's in the ballpark; however, they won't be confused with Pink Floyd, etc.

I disagree strongly about your perception of a decline in their writing. IMHO, they have excellent writing. What they sing about may not suit you (relationships, romance). When Henley split off from them, he recorded and wrote some much darker, critical and serious sorts of lyrics.

I think possibly either you don't like this style of music or perhaps got tired of hearing it, so perhaps you won't be swayed by my debate. Which is OK, as I appreciate you (and others) taking the time to express yourselves here.
Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jan, 2009 04:04 pm
@Bi-Polar Bear,
BPB:
Thanks for posting your personal experiences with Wakeman, et al. Yes clearly is at the forefront of Art and Progressive rock. I respect your opinions as I know you worked in the industry and have been exposed to these groups in the flesh.

Being a photographer and a vinylphile, I mourn the loss of cover art as a medium. Roger Dean artwork had some of the best there is.
0 Replies
 
Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jan, 2009 04:12 pm
@jespah,
Yup on Gentle Giant!

Also I'm thinking of including of Jan Hammer on the list. Jeff Beck is already on it.

This might be a bitioff topic, but what the heck. For those fans of rock virtuosos, check out this video and awesome playing (lots of Brits) for the benefit NYC tribute to Ronnie Lane:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFnsYS-JoFA
0 Replies
 
Bi-Polar Bear
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jan, 2009 04:24 pm
Mahavishnu Orchestra....Soft Machine.
Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jan, 2009 04:27 pm
@Fountofwisdom,
No prob, Fount. I enjoy the exchange. Bless their hearts...UK has disproportinately contributed (positively) an immense amount of music to our shores and forever shaped the direction of popular and progressive music.
 

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