The 70’s was known for an overabundance of Prog-rock, short for Progressive rock, short for really long self-indulgent songs showcasing musicianship and inane lyrics that only sound good when you are stoned. Yes, that was a run-on sentence, just like the 14 minute piano solo on any Emerson, Lake & Palmer album.
I don’t mean to pick on Prog rock, but I actually do. You see, I was sucked into the prog-rock vortex back in the day. It started with Jethro Tull’s Thick as A Brick and moved on to Yes and the aforementioned ELP.
My early experimentations with cannabis brought me to the gates of Prog rock hell. I stayed there for what seemed like an eternity. and like I would imagine the real hell, it got really boring.
Okay, so you can play three keyboards at the same time while spinning in the air. So, you can play a triple neck guitar solo sitting down for twenty minutes. I wish I was more impressed.
The lyrics in prog rock were usually about wizards and interplanetary beings showing man how he is destroying the planet with his evil war mongering and littering. yawn.
The culmination of bad prog rock was probably The Alan Parsons Project. Probably the worst band ever invented. Apparently Alan Parsons was one of the engineers on Abbey Road and Dark Side of the Moon. This gave him a free ticket into the prog rock club.
I liked Yes (the band), the Fragile album. It had some pop sensibility. I actually enjoyed the earlier “Time And A Word” album even more. They lost me on “Close To The Edge.” Ten minutes of water dripping is not my idea of a pop song. I owned Yessongs, the triple live album and listened to it enough to get the idea of Yes. After that I was pretty much saying No to Yes.
Genesis, early Peter Gabriel, Genesis were interesting. I recall them scaring me during a performance they did on Midnight Special (a very cool late night concert show). I went out and bought a few of their albums. Once Peter Gabriel left, they sucked big time.
However, there were a few bands that were labeled Prog-rock that I actually still like. King Crimson, Gentle Giant, Nektar and um, um…that’s it