For a brief moment in the early 70s, progressive rock was the biggest rock music on the planet, with prog bands selling millions of records and going on best-selling concert tours.
In essence, prog evolved out of psychedelic rock in the late 1960s as musicians looked to jazz, classical and art music for inspiration in order to go beyond the confines of pop music.
Prog musicians viewed themselves and their music very seriously and believed that they were making art for a new generation of music lovers. And for a while they captured the zeitgeist of their times.
Bands like Pink Floyd, Yes, Genesis, Jethro Tull and others expanded the scope of rock music beyond the traditional blues and R&B stylings to embrace virtuosity and experimentalism.
Even their lyrics explored topics other than the usual boy-girl relationships prevalent in pop music of the time. Concept albums were the order of the day and serious themes were examined.
Of course, like anything else that becomes big – the inevitable excesses and over-indulgence would come into play and before long, a new music would rise up in response to prog’s flaws. Punk!
But when prog was good, it was awesome!
… still there’s more …