History of Rock
One of the aspects that I find most fascinating about the history of Rock and Roll is the how quickly the music began sprouting back up in such a wild bouquet of colors textures and forms. Rebellion being at its core, Rock inherently and by necessity continues to morph into the next “thing.” As much as I enjoyed this class and The History of Rock and Roll series, I felt that one of my favorite sub- genres was left virtually unrepresented.
The Progressive Rock bands of the late sixties and early seventies, composed mostly of British bands such as Yes, King Crimson and Emerson, Lake and Palmer, left an indelible impression on me. The Oxford companion to music states that Progressive Rock bands “…explored extended musical structures which involve intricate instrumental patterns and textures and often esoteric subject matter.” I t is my opinion that some of the best musicians and composers in rocks history were of this class.
Two albums released in 1969 that set the stage for Prog Rock were Yes, Fragile and In the court of the Crimson King by King Crimson. Fragile helped to bring Prog Rock to the mainstream with the hit Roundabout. The album also yielded such timeless classics as Long distance runaround and Heart of the sunrise.
According to music critic Piero Scaruffi the “bands that nurtured prog-rock through its infancy were Traffic, Jeff Beck, Family, Jethro Tull and Genesis; while King Crimson, Yes and Van der Graaf Generator represent the genre at its apex.” Other bands that contributed to pro-rocks success were The Moody blues (1964),Pink Floyd (1965), Soft Machine (1966), Barclay James Harvest (1966),Frank Zappa (1966), Gong (1967), The Nice (1967), Caravan (1968), Supertramp (1969), and Gentle Giant (1969).
The popularity of punk rock and disco, both simpler and more aggressive, led to the decline of the prog-rock era. Pro-rock helped to spon other...