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Thread: Proto-Prog Rock -- the Early Start of Progressive Rock

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    Senior Member regenmusic's Avatar
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    Default Proto-Prog Rock -- the Early Start of Progressive Rock

    This is an interesting topic. I'm talking mainly about the years from 1964 to 1966, where names like the Beach Boys, Baroque Pop bands, and even continental pop that was barely rock and roll play some part. A lot of people here have the musical chops to really analyze what's going on in these early years to say who was most influential.

    I think by 1967 true Prog Rock was pretty much developed and by 1971 one could even say it got to its full blown state.

    Sometimes I find it humorous to find the answer is not where real "rockers" want it to be. A song like The Lovers Concerto was a big hit in the UK and blended classical and rock in 1965.

    France Gall did this song with orchestra in 1965. Robert Fripp was to follow in his own way in 1969.


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    Senior Member regenmusic's Avatar
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    Also, "As Tears Go By" with full orchestra definitely fits that classical influenced spectrum. Strange to think of the Rolling Stones as Proto-Prog.

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    Senior Member Strange Magic's Avatar
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    If the Beatles Eleanor Rigby fits in with your thesis, then there is also The Left Banke's great Pretty Ballerina; both songs year 1966.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=m-Ep5x-DETc
    Last edited by Strange Magic; Mar-29-2016 at 08:39.

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    Senior Member norman bates's Avatar
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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZLWD75KKGA
    Frank Zappa - Brown shoes don't make it (1697)
    What time is the next swan?

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    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    I wouldn't say prog rock was developed by '67. It was getting started with bands like Procol Harum, and The Nice. And maybe Soft Machine? But they were more psych, as was early Pink Floyd. I suppose Yes was at their peak in '72. I never cared for much of their music after that. Zappa and Crimson had more 20th century modern musical influences.

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    Senior Member regenmusic's Avatar
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    I can understand the point about Prog not really starting until after 1967 but I would say that one can distinguish between Psychedelic and other Proto-Prog music.....some Psychedelic music is very simple compared to 1967 Nice, for instance.

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    Senior Member norman bates's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by starthrower View Post
    I wouldn't say prog rock was developed by '67. It was getting started with bands like Procol Harum, and The Nice. And maybe Soft Machine? But they were more psych, as was early Pink Floyd. I suppose Yes was at their peak in '72. I never cared for much of their music after that. Zappa and Crimson had more 20th century modern musical influences.
    sure, and in fact King Crimson are one of the most important progressive bands. I mean, if you look at progarchives you would find literally tons of bands that have 20th century musical influences (Holst, atonality, minimalism etc)
    Last edited by norman bates; Mar-30-2016 at 15:39.
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    Crimson made some good music but (in my mind) it was marred by inept lyrics. Fripp would've better served the band's legacy by going fully instrumental. Additionally, their catalogue is plagued by more than a few misfires.
    Last edited by Morimur; Mar-30-2016 at 15:53.

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    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    But there wasn't tons of bands in the early days. With the advent of the internet, I learned about dozens of bands that started up in the early 70s in Germany, Italy, and France, but there are very few that strike me as truly innovative, or that produced great material.

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    Senior Member Sloe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by regenmusic View Post
    France Gall did this song with orchestra in 1965. Robert Fripp was to follow in his own way in 1969.

    There was always an orchestra at the Eurovision Song Contest until 1998.
    Last edited by Sloe; Mar-30-2016 at 20:07.

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    Senior Member Simon Moon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morimur View Post
    Crimson made some good music but (in my mind) it was marred by inept lyrics. Fripp would've better served the band's legacy by going fully instrumental. Additionally, their catalogue is plagued by more than a few misfires.
    I believe it is arguable whether KC's lyrics are inept, either on the whole or in part.

    But, for the most part, lyrics are pretty much inconsequential to me. If I cared, then I wouldn't have such a large percentage of prog sung in languages that I don't understand. I almost think of the vocals as another instrument. Great lyrics can raise the level of an album somewhat, but bad lyrics don't mare the album, for me.

    I also don't care to much that they had some "misfires". Any band that is experimenting, is bound to have some things that don't work. I really don's care, as I tend to rate bands and musicians based on their best output, and tend not to downgrade them based on their worst.

    As far as the subject of the OP goes, this is a subject that comes up often on Progresseiveears.org, without any real resolution. But I do find it an interesting conversation none the less.
    Last edited by Simon Moon; Mar-31-2016 at 04:01.
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    Senior Member regenmusic's Avatar
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    Often things go totally under the radar, which is sad for the people who are the ones originating then. It seems one of the biggest differences is the harmonic structure and the length of the song. 1969's "Court of the Crimson King" had some symphonic harmonic feelings that were probably the most advanced, even if the baroque pop and others had the same amount of classical influence several years before. It could be argued that The Nice were doing side long and straight more advanced classical things before this. 1968 of course saw Mass in F Minor by the Electric Prunes which was like a collaborative effort with a composer but it still counts for me. I'm not sure where the Moody Blues fit in during 1966 to 1968 from a pure musical analysis.

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    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morimur View Post
    Crimson made some good music but (in my mind) it was marred by inept lyrics. Fripp would've better served the band's legacy by going fully instrumental. Additionally, their catalogue is plagued by more than a few misfires.
    Peter Sinfield's lyrics ('69 - '72) were hit and miss, quality varying from very good, when doing allegory ("Cirkus," "Indoor Games"), to pretentious crap ("Islands," "In the Wake of Poseidon") and overwrought melodrama ("The Letters").

    Richard Palmer James' lyrics (Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Starless and Bible Black, Red) on the other hand, are universally excellent — clean, vivid, and sincere.

    Adrian Belew's lyrics? (or whoever wrote the '80s through 2000s lyrics) All over the map. Brilliant and hilarious ("Neurotica," "Indiscipline"), warmed over Beatles ("Sex, Sleep, Eat, Drink Dream"), pointed and hard hitting ("Facts of Life"), tender and dark ("Inner Garden"). Quality quite variable as well.

    As for misfires, the only studio albums that were less than excellent, IMO, were Three of a Perfect Pair and In the Wake of Poseidon.
    Last edited by EdwardBast; Apr-01-2016 at 17:01.

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    Senior Member cwarchc's Avatar
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    Interesting thread
    It's debatable, but you could include Arthur Brown in this
    He really started in '66 but became more prolific after 67
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=en1uwIzI3SE
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    Senior Member Strange Magic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cwarchc View Post
    Interesting thread
    It's debatable, but you could include Arthur Brown in this
    He really started in '66 but became more prolific after 67
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=en1uwIzI3SE
    I am glad to see Arthur Brown and The Crazy World of Arthur Brown get some of the attention that I believe he deserves. I have long held the view that the Fire side of this disk is/was one of the best and most coherent "concept" works in rock history, and we have discussed at some length my contention that David Bowie very likely was influenced by Brown right at the beginning of his (Bowie's) career. Brown may have been a catalyst for Metal as well as Prog.

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