There's no prog rock thread... (1 Viewer)


Founding member
...and probably for good reason, but here's a conversation stimulant: The Whitest Music Ever.

There are some great lines in there:

"...prog rock, the extravagantly conceptual and wildly technical post-psychedelic subgenre that ruled the world for about 30 seconds in the early 1970s before being torn to pieces by the starving street dogs of punk rock..."

"...Geddy Lee’s voice, squealing inside the nonsense clockwork of Rush..."

"...Yes hit big in 1983 with the genderless cocaine-frost of 'Owner of a Lonely Heart.'"

"The proggers got away with murder, artistically speaking. And then, like justice, came the Ramones."

(Though in all fairness, I think you could apply the term "genderless cocaine-frost" to most of the records that were made in the 80s.)

I can't bear listen to any of it anymore, it just sounds like music from an alien universe to me, but when I was 13 or 14 years old I had Brain Salad Surgery and Uriah Heep Live, so I've progged, baby, I've progged. Not that they were in heavy rotation in my bedroom. I was usually in more of an Alice Cooper, Beatles, Black Sabbath or Led Zeppelin frame of mind.

I bought Brain Salad Surgery because the sound of the thing fascinated me. Not the music, the production. I bought a lot of things for the way they sounded, because it was all voodoo and magic to me and I was trying to figure it all out ("What do you mean, 'Listen to the bass?' How do I do that?").

I'm pretty sure I bought Uriah Heep Live because it was 99 cents. There were five copies in every cut out bin in the country. And because, you know, Easy Livin' rocked.
Why Pandora, why? Why did you open this box? Now all the prog rock will leak out!

Purple Stickpin please ignore this thread. Thank you.

In high school we had to wrap our textbooks in some sort of paper (dustjacket type thing).To preserve the learning and whatnot, I guess. I chose pages from the NME. This is back when it was a newspaper, not a glossy mag. My math book had an ad for the new Mighty Lemon Drops album. The ad had a close-up of a Rickenbauer headstock. My friend, who lived prog rock, said "I bet that Rickenbauer is going to waste." He might have been right, but that was a typical prog rock comment I heard/hear/will hear.
Go pound sand; I'm not going to ignore anything - it's not in my nature. But if I happen to smile incongruously, you must understand why. And what the hell is a Rickenbauer? If you're going to be critical of something, you might actually want to consider the concept of being somewhere nearly accurate about it.
I'm surprised that Eddie Rickenbacker didn't show up somewhere in there. Anyway, other than pretty much all of King Crimson, the first two ELP albums (self titled and Pictures at an Exhibition) and the first few Yes albums (and perhaps Caress of Steel and A Farewell to Kings by Rush), I don't have any great connection to prog. I don't hate the rest, but I'm certainly not wedded to it.
"Rush never tried to make a hit song and they simply didn’t care about being radio-friendly."

I wouldn't be so sure about that.

Every band wanted their music to be on the radio (back when radio was the only way to broadcast music). That's how you sold records and concert tickets and t-shirts. Unless you're suggesting Rush were communists or anarchists or something.
I have read many interviews with the band where they talked about this. They knew they should change their music to make it more radio friendly, but they didn't want to do that. They relied on giving the best live performances and making great albums. They relied on word-of-mouth advertisement, not radio play.

In 1975, after releasing the Caress of Steel album, their record company told them to make their next album more accessible by making shorter songs or the record label would fire them. Rush did the exact opposite of what the record label told them, and made the album 2112 which opens with a 20 minute long epic track. It was their breakthrough album...
A lot of bands relied on word of mouth over radio play, and became very successful. That doesn't mean they didn't want to get their songs on the radio, despite the stories they may tell through the hazy 20/20 hindsight of success.

I listened to American radio every day in 1975, and there were all kinds of long songs. One of the two stations I listened to played Autobahn every day, for christ's sake, and that song was more than 20 minutes long. By 1970 the 3 minute single rule was dead and buried, and the jams and indulgent prog/shit were prancing merrily, with their elves and shit, all over its grave.

I've heard Rush's early records, and I would bet all of my bitcoin holdings that their music had nothing to do with why they weren't on the radio. They weren't on the radio because of the "unique" voice of their singer. The music is not at all different from a lot of music that was being played on the radio. And I'm talking about AM rock radio. It would have been even easier for someone like Rush to get played on FM radio. You know, if it wasn't for that singer.

- - -

On a somewhat unrelated note, I find it kind of funny, in retrospect, how uncomplicated and unadvanced most "prog" was. At the time it seemed very esoteric and impenetrable to most of us drooling young goobers, but as you grow older and maybe gain more musical skill or insight, you see it for what it is. Just a bunch of pretentious dinks showing off how awesome they think they are. When you finally come to that realization you see the irony in the "progressive" label.

You can't progress away from something anyway, you have to progress toward something. And none of those bands progressed toward anything. They were just rock bands who had learned how to count to 8 (or in a few rare cases, 16), separating themselves somehow from those who could still only count to 4.

i'm working on an essay of my own - "RUSH and the Incel Movement - is there a connection?"

i'll post it when it's done.
I had to look up what an incel is. Jesus, what a sad bunch. How do you know about this stuff? Are you 15 or something?
A lot of bands relied on word of mouth over radio play, and became very successful. That doesn't mean they didn't want to get their songs on the radio, despite the stories they may tell through the hazy 20/20 hindsight of success.
They didn't talk about it in hindsight. They talked about it in many interviews at the time, not in hindsight. They also ignored the advice of their record company at the time. They decided to focus on the concert halls, not the airwaves. They talked about this in the lyrics to the song 'The Spirit of Radio' in 1980:

"One likes to believe
In the freedom of music,
but glittering prizes
and endless compromises
shatter the illusion
of integrity.

For the words of the profits
are written on the studio wall:
Echoes with the sounds...
of salesmen."

By the way, when you write about Rush, it seems you are stuck in 1976. Rush stopped being a proggy band with Ayn Rand lyrics after their first albums.. From 1980 until 2018 they were more mature. You saw them in the seventies when they were still very young and still looking for their sound and style. It's like someone judging The Beatles based on their first singles, while ignoring every other thing The Beatles went on to do...
Last edited by a moderator:
Okay okay, I get it. Rush never wanted to get their songs on the radio, they weren't prog, and they were just like The Beatles. I'm glad that's settled.

You saw them in the seventies when they were still very young and still looking for their sound and style.
When I saw them they had released six albums and were headlining a 20,000 seat arena. It may be reaching to suggest that they were still "looking for their sound" at that point.
When I saw them they had released six albums and were headlining a 20,000 seat arena. It may be reaching to suggest that they were still "looking for their sound" at that point.
No, it's not reaching at all. They started finding their own sound just after you've seen them. In 1980 they were really becoming special. And I never said they were anything like the Beatles. I also don't get why you're always so condescending and stuck-up. It's just pop music. We all have different tastes. You act like you know everything, when it's clear you know nothing about Rush.

"All this machinery
making modern music
can still be open-hearted.
Not so coldly charted
it's really just a question
of your honesty."
This guy's STILL going on about RUSH?

Dude, seriously, let it go. you're an embarrassment to the RUSH ARMY...
This guy's STILL going on about RUSH?

Dude, seriously, let it go. you're an embarrassment to the RUSH ARMY...
Take it easy, keyboard warrior. MJP is the one who created this thread and talked about Rush, I only replied to it. I was under the impression this was a discussion forum. Silly me. You should be happy at least someone's posting on here, there's not much else going on around here is there?

I'm sorry my musical taste is not hip enough for you. If Bukowski himself would rise from the grave and post on here, you mods would probably call him an 'incel' or another hip, trendy insult and you would probably hate on him for liking Beethoven instead of the Beatles too...
Well, as you know, all of written literature revolves around only seven basic plot lines, and regrettably, it is the same situation where online insults are concerned.

In fact there are likely fewer than seven basic online insults. But while there may be only 4 or 5, "[The subject of this discussion] would hate you!" is certainly on that list. It's not at the top (the top spot is solidly occupied by, "You're probably just some fat, pimply kid typing in his parent's basement!"), but it's in there, right behind, "Meet me in real life and we'll see how tough you are!"

The rest of the basic online insults are variations of comparisons to Hitler.
Just go back to listening to 'All You Need Is Love" in your mother's basement, you fat pimply Beatle-lover. You're worse than Hitler.

This guy... This is not my kind of guy.

And if you don't like it, we're gonna take it outside and I'll show you what it's like!
we're discussing how bad a band RUSH is and how anyone older than 14 can have any interest in them.
People say the same about Bukowski. Like I said, I'm sorry I'm not hip enough for you, keyboard warrior.
keyboard warrior
keyboard warrior
Don't say that again!

It's an ancient incantation, and if you repeat it three times it unlocks the PROG underworld, releasing this poncey fop, who will suddenly appear out of nowhere wearing one of his complicated blouses. If that happens we'll all be sorry...

well, i was aiming at modern day warrior status so i guess i fell short of the mark.

but i still got me a MEAN, MEAN STRIDE, brother!
I hate prog bands like ELP, by the way. I like bands like Black Sabbath, Led Zep, and Rush. The Beatles have great songs, and terrible songs.

The Beatles invented prog rock with songs like 'A Day In The Life'. So you can blame your precious Beatles for creating monsters like Keith Emerson.

Rush was more inspired by bands like The Who, Led Zeppelin, and Jethro Tull. In their early years that is. At the end of the seventies, there was not much prog rock left in Rush. Gone were the long epics, weird lyrics, and lengthy solos. But you guys wouldnt know that, because you're stuck in the seventies...
"I was later able to infer that Rush have some sort of collective paranoia about making mistakes during a live performance. Of course, this is intrinsically impossible, as their material is one gigantic mistake unto itself."

thanks that was great!

btw i'd forgotten i was a keyboard warrior!
Last edited:
it became my favorite genre among all these rock and roll, heard King Crimson for the first time about decades ago but that was enough to blew my mind!,to me it was like a warp to a black hole where someone in there told me " you haven't heard shit until now"although i had heard some tool mars volta to name a few of those contemporaries i truely ignored the term progressive in the label, i liked all kinds of rock music but in all honesty i can tell you i 've never ever heard something like those old bands that started the genre, Gentle giant,pink floyd, KC, rush, ELP, CAMEL and many others, "A Catastrophe of instruments exploding all at once playing the largest tunes i ve heard."
Last edited:
King Crimson is borderline prog, and they do rock. Rush isn’t prog, but what I call “fairytale” music. Hurts my ears. ELP is ok. Yes sucks really, really hard. Terrible noise. No Todd Rundgren may also fit the prog category, at least for a few albums.

Users who are viewing this thread