What about Yes? I bet you’ve never heard of Gong, Gentle Giant, or Porcupine Tree. Remember Keith Emerson sticking knives into his massive bank of synthesizers while performing mad versions of “Pictures at an Exhibition”? Probably you’ve listened to Genesis and Pink Floyd. And who of a certain generation didn’t fall in love with Tubular Bells by reluctant prog superstar Mike Oldfield?
This largely forgotten world from the sixties and seventies sparkles back into life in The Show that Never Ends: The Rise and Fall of Prog Rock, a new music history by Washington Post journalist David Weigel. My friend Graham, a prog tragic, read it in days and passed it to me, and I whizzed through its memories and revelations. Weigel pitches the narrative perfectly, with no indulgence but feverish with personal recollections. So much brought back to me my teens and twenties, yet I learnt oodles about the hidden, tumultuous history of the prog rock scene.
And Weigel even covers a more modern prog rock incarnation, Marillion. Remember them?