Progressive Rock — Challenging Even the Most Accomplished Musicians!
Changing time signatures, long and winding compositions and cosmic concepts that only the diehard fan can make any sense of. Such is the foundation of progressive rock. Love it or leave it, one thing concerning progressive rock can not be denied: only musicians with a high level of talent and musical virtuosity can come close to performing such prog-rock flagship titles as the 21 minute “Close to the Edge” by Yes, the 23 minute “Echoes” by Pink Floyd or the 43minute “Thick as a Brick” by Jethro Tull.
The terms “radio friendly” and “progressive rock” do not go hand in hand. But that’s okay, because the whole prog-rock movement began as an effort to get away from the tried and true bi-bop formulas so typical of the Beach Boys and Partridge Family.
It can be argued that English musicians in the late 1960’s sought to break new ground both musically and artistically by creating a form of music that was all at once ambitious, eclectic, and often grandiose. It was a time ripe for experimenting. And the record-buying public agreed. By the early 1970’s, progressive rock was a term unto itself. The rock and roll stage turned into a theatre where musicians were able to tap into their collective unconscious and spin musical tapestries that were further enhanced by the drug culture so popular of the time.
It was no accident that the diversity of progressive rock created a new audience for classical music. As prog rock borrowed the best elements of classical music, many instruments – – specifically the violin and harp presented musicians with untold musical opportunities.
Progressive rock reached its peak by the mid-1970’s, but the arrival of punk rock only a few years later signaled the swan song of this musical hybrid of styles. Thirty years later, Progressive rock is again “in” and a variety of bands and musicians once again welcome the challenge of musical bombast.