Wednesday, April 4, 2007 rock.......?

@ Wiki

Progressive rock, sometimes shortened to prog or prog rock, is a subgenre of rock music which arose in the mid-to-late 1960s, reached the peak of its popularity in the 1970s, and has continued as a form of popular music to this day. It is commonly associated with symphonic rock and art rock, although the term progressive rock in today's usage often embraces a significantly wider spectrum of music than these styles.

Progressive rock acts often combine rock formats with elements of classical music, or sometimes with styles such as jazz, usually rejecting specific genre norms, and instead utilizing relatively uncommon musical structures and ideas. More than in any other genres, progressive rock is usually very melodic and/or symphonic, and progressive acts tend to be dramatic. As such, it can be seen as an approach to songwriting as well as a genre of its own.

The term "progressive rock" was initially applied to the music of bands such as King Crimson, Genesis, Yes and Emerson, Lake and Palmer, who are widely regarded as prime exponents of the genre - but other examples of notable early progressive rock bands include Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, Rush, Gentle Giant, and Kansas. The characteristics of progressive rock can be difficult to define with precision - for example the above mentioned bands are different from one another in their respective sounds and fan bases.

The styles and often lengths of the pieces mean that this music is album-oriented rather than singles-oriented, and as such, progressive rock acts are rarely found in the top 40 singles lists.


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@ Allmusic
Progressive rock
and art rock are two almost interchangeable terms describing a mostly British attempt to elevate rock music to new levels of artistic credibility. The differences between prog-rock and art rock are often slight in practice, but do exist. Prog-rock tends to be more traditionally melodic (even when multi-sectioned compositions replace normal song structures), more literary (poetry or sci-fi/fantasy novels), and more oriented toward classically trained instrumental technique (with the exception of Pink Floyd). Art rock is more likely to have experimental or avant-garde influences, placing novel sonic texture above prog-rock's symphonic ambitions. Both styles are intrinsically album-based, taking advantage of the format's capacity for longer, more complex compositions and extended instrumental explorations. In fact, many prog bands were fond of crafting concept albums that made unified statements, usually telling an epic story or tackling a grand overarching theme. In addition to pushing rock's technical and compositional boundaries, prog-rock was also arguably the first arena where synthesizers and electronic textures became indispensable parts of a rock ensemble. The earliest rumblings of progressive and art rock could be heard in the poetry of Bob Dylan and conceptually unified albums like the Mothers of Invention's Freak Out! and the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, all of which suggested that rock was more than just teenagers' music and should be taken seriously as an art form.

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Rock in the Name of Progress
By Brian L. Knight

\Pro*gress"ive\, a. [Cf. F. progressif.] 1. Moving forward; proceeding onward; advancing; evincing progress; increasing; as, progressive motion or course; -- opposed to retrograde. (Websters Dictionary)

"Guitarist/writer seeks receptive musicians determined to strive beyond existing stagnant forms". This was an advertisement that guitarist Steve Hackett placed in the Melody Maker during the late 1960s that eventually united him with the band Genesis. In the years following, Hackett and Genesis would live up to the standards that were voiced in the ad. Through albums like Nursery Cryme, Foxtrot and Trespass, Genesis took their music beyond "stagnant forms" and the band became the harbingers of a musical phenomenon known as progressive music. This musical form would take a roller coaster ride over the next three decades experiencing intense popularity and then sinking into virtual nonexistence and then an eventual revival. In the next five issues of the Vermont Review, we will discover that progressive music went much further beyond the music of Genesis. We will come across some the lesser known, but equally innovative peers of Genesis as well as modern representatives of the genre. Let us begin.

Progressive Rock, as the name itself suggests, does not belong is some musical time vacuum – it is always moving forward and developing. Despite this sense of musical evolution, progressive bands have drawn upon many aspects of world music such as American jazz and blues, European classical music, African poly-rythyms and Middle Eastern instruments, to create an individually distinctive sound. Progressive music suggests forward motion and non-regression but like human knowledge, the genre’s growth is empirical - elements of old music styles are combined together to create a new sound. There are numerous examples of progressive’s retro nature. Keith Emerson’s first band, the Nice, was known for playing elaborate versions of Bach while bands like Renaissance and Gryphon elaborated upon traditional American and English folk tales. King Crimson’s In the Court of the Crimson King and the numerous Rick Wakeman solo projects about King Arthur and Henry VII alluded to medieval times. Although they played spaced out blues influenced pyschedelia, Pink Floyd received their name by combining the names of two American blues singers – Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. Pink Floyd continuously used the Second World War as a point of reference and the ultimately paid respect to ancient times by playing an audience-less concert at the ruins of Pompeii.


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A definition of Progressive Rock Music

@ Progarchives

Progressive rock ("prog") is an ambitious, eclectic, and often grandiose style of rock music which arose in the late 1960s principally in England, reaching the peak of its popularity in the early 1970s, but continuing as a musical form to this day. Progressive rock was largely a European movement, and drew most of its influences from classical music and jazz fusion, in contrast to American rock, which was influenced by rhythm & blues and country, although there are notable exceptions in the New World such as Kansas and Rush — considered by many to be the finest examples of the form. Over the years various sub-genres of progressive rock have emerged, such as symphonic rock, art rock and progressive metal.

Progressive rock artists sought to move away from the limitations of radio formatted rock and pop, and "progress" rock to the point that it could achieve the sophistication of jazz or classical music. It is admired by its fans for its complexity, requiring a high level of musical virtuosity to perform. Critics have often derided the genre as pompous and self-indulgent. This is because, unlike such stylistically consistent genres as country or hip hop, progressive rock is difficult to define in a single conclusive way. Outspoken King Crimson leader Robert Fripp has voiced his disdain for the term. The major acts that defined the genre in the 1970s (Yes, Genesis, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Rush and King Crimson) do not sound alike. There is also debate on whether bands such as The Beatles, Phish, and Radiohead belong to the genre.


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@ Piero Scaruffi
The "emigration" of rock music from the USA to Britain was not only beneficial but even pivotal for the development and propagation of the new genre.

First of all, rock music was digested by the British "fashion" industry, which transformed it into a well-publicized, iconic commodity, thus generating cash-cow phenomena such as the Beatles. In Britain rock music became "trendy" when in the USA it was still, mainly, an underground, cult (and occasionally taboo) phenomenon, boycotted by both the major record companies and the (puritan) middle-class audience. The British media made rock music fashionable. If rock music had remained the music of Dylan, Fugs, Zappa and Velvet Underground, it would have remained a cultural phenomenon with a huge impact, capable of producing artistic masterpieces and generating intellectual debates, but, most likely, it would have never captured the imagination of the masses the way it did during the late 1960s. In the USA, rock music had been perceived as a revolutionary event, very much related to a generation gap (between the "great" generation and the "hippy" generation) and to an ideological gap (between the Establishment and the underground). In Britain, rock music, while not reneging on those premises, morphed them so that they became popular icons, comparable to the miniskirt and the long hair, icons that could appeal not only to juvenile "delinquents" but also to the bourgeois masses. In other words, rock music in the USA was antagonistic, hostile, conflictual, whereas, in Britain, rock music made peace with society at large. Thus it became a commodity, destined to become, like cinema, one of the arts that exerted the strongest influence on the costume at the turn of the century.

The "British Invasion" also brought an artistic benefit to rock music. Since the beginning, British musicians were less "literal" in their interpretation of the rock'n'roll canon (less rooted in country and blues). Later on, British musicians began to graft onto the spirit of rock'n'roll the artistic, political and philosophical issues of European culture (just like it happened with cinema). Zappa and the Fugs had merely meant to lampoon the American way of life; the Velvet Underground and the Jefferson Airplane had merely meant to hail hallucinogenic substances; and Bob Dylan had merely meant to fight political and social injustice; but British musicians did not have (or wanted) to deal with those issues and transfigured them into universal messages that related to the daily lives of people all over the (western) world. For American musicians, rock was the medium, not the message. For British musicians, rock became the message.

The most notable of this processes of "de-contextualization" of rock music was the process that led to progressive-rock, whose goal was not to comment on the youth culture, but simply to offer technical innovation. Progressive-rock (rock music that was emancipated from the traditional song format, and mixed different techniques, genres and even rhythms within lengthy, brainy pieces of music) was obviously an evolution of the eccentricities of psychedelic-rock, but was no longer related to a social practice. The artist got decoupled from the audience, and the traditional role of the western artist (as distinct from its audience) was reintroduced. Rock music had been the diary of the American youth. In Britain, it became the equivalent of an essay.

Similarly, folksingers began focusing on introverted themes, closer to the themes of modern poetry and philosophy. Musical satire was redirected towards the psychological nature of dadaism, surrealism and expressionism. And so forth.

Rock music flowed back to the USA as a completely mutated species. The original "grass-roots" phenomenon, raised in thousands of garages by illiterate kids, graduated to an intellectual discipline practiced by university alumni who belonged to artistic schools and movements. In other words, "high" art.

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The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll (Revised and Updated for the 21st Century)
by Holly George-Warren (Author), Patricia Romanowski (Author), Jon Pareles (Author) "spawned the #1 singles "Rush, Rush" (Abdul's first hit ballad) and "The Promise of a New Day," "Blowing Kisses in the Wind" (#6, 1991)......

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Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band @:

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is the most important rock & roll album ever made, an unsurpassed adventure in concept, sound, songwriting, cover art and studio technology by the greatest rock & roll group of all time. From the title song's regal blasts of brass and fuzz guitar to the orchestral seizure and long, dying piano chord at the end of "A Day in the Life," the thirteen tracks on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band are the pinnacle of the Beatles' eight years as recording artists. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr were never more fearless and unified in their pursuit of magic and transcendence.

Before Sgt. Pepper, no one seriously thought of rock music as actual art. That all changed in 1967, though, when John, Paul, George and Ringo (with "A Little Help" from their friend, producer George Martin) created an undeniable work of art which remains, after 30-plus years, one of the most influential albums of all time. From Lennon's evocative word/sound pictures (the trippy "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds," the carnival-like "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite") and McCartney's music hall-styled "When I'm 64," to Harrison's Eastern-leaning "Within You Without You," and the avant-garde mini-suite, "A Day in the Life," Sgt. Pepper was a milestone for both '60s music and popular culture. --Billy Altman

With Revolver, the Beatles made the Great Leap Forward, reaching a previously unheard-of level of sophistication and fearless experimentation. Sgt. Pepper, in many ways, refines that breakthrough, as the Beatles consciously synthesized such disparate influences as psychedelia, art-song, classical music, rock & roll, and music hall, often in the course of one song. Not once does the diversity seem forced -- the genius of the record is how the vaudevillian "When I'm 64" seems like a logical extension of "Within You Without You" and how it provides a gateway to the chiming guitars of "Lovely Rita." There's no discounting the individual contributions of each member or their producer, George Martin, but the preponderance of whimsy and self-conscious art gives the impression that Paul McCartney is the leader of the Lonely Hearts Club Band. He dominates the album in terms of compositions, setting the tone for the album with his unabashed melodicism and deviously clever arrangements.

Of course you're tired of hearing about how it turned rock into art. Of course the "sophistication" that this "concept album" introduced led to innumerable sins of pretentiousness. Of course the "tangerine trees and marmalade skies" sound dated. But have you actually listened to Sgt. Pepper lately? The songs are breathtaking, the musicianship unparalleled, the production perfect. There has never been another band that could do so many different things — songs like "Good Morning Good Morning," "Getting Better," and, of course, the climactic "A Day in the Life" cover more ground than you get in most rock careers. Backlash be damned; a splendid time is still guaranteed for all.

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