Encyclopedia  |   World Factbook  |   World Flags  |   Reference Tables  |   List of Lists     
   Academic Disciplines  |   Historical Timeline  |   Themed Timelines  |   Biographies  |   How-Tos     
Sponsor by The Tattoo Collection
Progressive rock
Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Progressive rock

Progressive rock is a broad and convergent style of rock music and progressive music which arose in the late 1960s, reaching the peak of its popularity in the early 1970s, but continuing as a musical form to this day. Progressive rock is often closely identified with other styles of music such as experimental music, symphonic rock, art rock and progressive metal.

Progressive rock artists sought to move away from the limitations of the radio formatted rock, mainly its cyclic structure, favoring a progressive one (hence the term "progressive"). Progressive rock is often perceived as complex and elaborate music, requiring a high level of musicianship from the artists, mainly because of the impression left by some of the most popular progressive bands.

Some common, though not necessary, elements of progressive rock include:

Although the elements mentioned above are common to progressive rock, none of them can be used to define progressive rock because they are not specific to it.

Progressive rock very often borrows one of these forms (alone or in combination):

Having emerged as an entity of its own at the close of the 1960s, progressive rock's popularity peaked in the mid 1970's, when progressive rock artists regularly topped readers' votes in mainstream popular music magazines. With the advent of punk rock in the late 1970's, and its earlier precursor pub rock, popular and critical opinion moved toward a simpler and more aggressive style of rock, with the words "pretentious", "pompous", and "overblown" often being used to describe progressive rock. This attitude has remained in place to the present day, particularly among mainstream music writers.

The early 1980s saw something of a revival of the genre, led by groups such as Marillion. Groups that arose during this time are sometimes labelled neo-progressive. At the same time, some progressive rock stalwarts modified themselves to some extent, simplifying their music and including more obviously electronic elements. In 1983, Genesis achieved international success with the song "Mama", with its heavy emphasis on a drum machine riff. In 1984, Yes had a surprise number one hit with the song "Owner of a Lonely Heart", which contained modern (for the time) electronic effects and was accessible enough to be played at discos.

The genre received another minor surge of popularity in the 1990s with a wave of new bands, many of which played harder-edged music known as progressive metal. These later bands are usually happy to be unashamedly known as progressive, and produce very long pieces and concept albums, a resurgence of the 1970s progressive ethic. Several of the leading bands in the prog-metal genre (particularly Dream Theater) cite pioneer progressive hard rockers Rush as a prime influence.

The work of contemporary artists such as Radiohead, Sigur Rós and Godspeed! You Black Emperor could be said to incorporate some of the more experimental elements of progressive rock, sometimes combined with the aesthetic sensibilities of punk rock, to produce music which many find at once challenging, innovative and imaginative. Tool has done the same thing with traces of heavy metal, with some commercial success.

Progressive rock has also had some influence contemporary classical music, particularly as atonal music has slipped out of fashion. The Japanese composer Takashi Yoshimatsu, for example, publicly cites progressive rock bands as a prime influence on his work.

See also

External links

> {| id="toc" style="margin: 0 2em 0 2em;" Rock and roll | Rock genres Garage rock | Glam rock | Glitter rock | Hard rock | Heartland rock | Instrumental rock | Jangle pop | Post-rock | Power pop | Psychedelia | Pub rock (Aussie) | Pub rock (UK) | Rock en español; | Soft rock | Southern rock | Surf Blues-rock | Country rock | Folk-rock | Progressive rock | Rockabilly Japanese rock | Kiwi rock