Dimitris Athanasiou - Around You (Original Mix)

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Dimitris Athanasiou – Around You (Original Mix)

Progressive rock, a term sometimes used interchangeably with art rock, moved beyond established musical formulas by experimenting with different instruments, song types, and forms.[126] From the mid-1960s the Left Banke, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Beach Boys, had pioneered the inclusion of harpsichords, wind, and string sections on their recordings to produce a form of Baroque rock and can be heard in singles like Procol Harum‘s “A Whiter Shade of Pale” (1967), with its Bach-inspired introduction.[127] The Moody Blues used a full orchestra on their album Days of Future Passed (1967) and subsequently created orchestral sounds with synthesizers.[126] Classical orchestration, keyboards, and synthesizers were a frequent addition to the established rock format of guitars, bass, and drums in subsequent progressive rock.[128]

A color photograph of members of the band Yes on stage

Prog rock band

Yes

performing in concert in

Indianapolis

in 1977

Instrumentals were common, while songs with lyrics were sometimes conceptual, abstract, or based in fantasy and science fiction.[129] The Pretty ThingsSF Sorrow (1968), and the Kinks’ Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire) (1969) introduced the format of rock operas and opened the door to concept albums, often telling an epic story or tackling a grand overarching theme.[130] King Crimson‘s 1969 début album, In the Court of the Crimson King, which mixed powerful guitar riffs and mellotron, with jazz and symphonic music, is often taken as the key recording in progressive rock, helping the widespread adoption of the genre in the early 1970s among existing blues-rock and psychedelic bands, as well as newly formed acts.[126] The vibrant Canterbury scene saw acts following Soft Machine from psychedelia, through jazz influences, toward more expansive hard rock, including Caravan, Hatfield and the North, Gong, and National Health.[131]

Greater commercial success was enjoyed by Pink Floyd, who also moved away from psychedelia after the departure of Syd Barrett in 1968, with The Dark Side of the Moon (1973), seen as a masterpiece of the genre, becoming one of the best-selling albums of all time.[132] There was an emphasis on instrumental virtuosity, with Yes showcasing the skills of both guitarist Steve Howe and keyboard player Rick Wakeman, while Emerson, Lake & Palmer were a supergroup who produced some of the genre’s most technically demanding work.[126] Jethro Tull and Genesis both pursued very different, but distinctly English, brands of music.[133] Renaissance, formed in 1969 by ex-Yardbirds Jim McCarty and Keith Relf, evolved into a high-concept band featuring the three-octave voice of Annie Haslam.[134] Most British bands depended on a relatively small cult following, but a handful, including Pink Floyd, Genesis, and Jethro Tull, managed to produce top ten singles at home and break the American market.[135] The American brand of progressive rock varied from the eclectic and innovative Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart and Blood, Sweat & Tears,[136] to more pop rock orientated bands like Boston, Foreigner, Kansas, Journey, and Styx.[126] These, beside British bands Supertramp and ELO, all demonstrated a prog rock influence and while ranking among the most commercially successful acts of the 1970s, heralding the era of pomp or arena rock, which would last until the costs of complex shows (often with theatrical staging and special effects), would be replaced by more economical rock festivals as major live venues in the 1990s.[citation needed]

The instrumental strand of the genre resulted in albums like Mike Oldfield‘s Tubular Bells (1973), the first record, and worldwide hit, for the Virgin Records label, which became a mainstay of the genre.[126] Instrumental rock was particularly significant in continental Europe, allowing bands like Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Can, and Faust to circumvent the language barrier.[137] Their synthesiser-heavy “krautrock“, along with the work of Brian Eno (for a time the keyboard player with Roxy Music), would be a major influence on subsequent electronic rock.[126] With the advent of punk rock and technological changes in the late 1970s, progressive rock was increasingly dismissed as pretentious and overblown.[138][139] Many bands broke up, but some, including Genesis, ELP, Yes, and Pink Floyd, regularly scored top ten albums with successful accompanying worldwide tours.[99] Some bands which emerged in the aftermath of punk, such as Siouxsie and the Banshees, Ultravox, and Simple Minds, showed the influence of progressive rock, as well as their more usually recognized punk influences.[140]

 

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