Guest post by ChasC
Well, it’s good to see that after all these years in the wilderness, the existence of progressive rock has finally been acknowledged by it’s very own award ceremony sponsored by Orange (the amplifiers not the phone company!) I was always a HiWatt man myself, but never mind.
It brought back lots of memories of bands populated with blokes with too much hair – although I see that Rick Wakeman, who was named as Prog God in the awards, is doing his best to address that problem in his old age.
The nominations were interesting and brought back memories of bands who I had completely forgotten about. Some of these I thought were crap at the time and, having taken a fresh ear to their music, I have realised that I misjudged them and they are really rather good. Having said that, some of the ones I liked at the time I now realise actually were crap. Of course, this could just be a sign of old age.
There’s a few in there that I never really thought were progressive bands in the true Prog Rock sense – like the Moody Blues who I always classified as straight pop and Pink Floyd who were just straight unclassifiable. It brought back memories of a night at Eel Pie Island when we played and Floyd were the support band. They naturally went on to greater things than our good selves. Bastards!
Were Jethro Tull ever progressive? Well, the ‘Thick as a Brick’ certainly qualifies. As do Yes, Genesis, ELP, Hawkwind, and King Crimson.
Prog was never singles material. It was characterised by volume, physicality and very, very long solos in strange keys and time signatures. On some occasions it was just plain weird. On others, almost classical. Just take a listen to ‘Island’ by Renaissance for some serious piano work and haunting vocals by Jane Relf. whatever happened to them, I wonder?
And the ultimate prog for me? Well, the live version of ‘Crossroads’ by Cream. Although I guess some people would argue that it’s not prog.
But however you define it, it’s good to see it recognised.