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Old 08-29-2008, 09:08 AM   #19
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Music Note Re: Why the evolution of the term "prog"?

Originally Posted by Annie
In that case, is there any post-pop rock band that ISN'T progressive?
I think the answer to my question is in Annie's question. She hit the nail on the head.

Methinks that progressive rock had its seeds in 1965-1966 with the experimentation of Bob Dylan when he went electric, of the Yardbirds when they recorded "Heart Full of Soul", of the Beatles when they released "Rubber Soul", of the Rolling Stones when they recorded "Paint It Black", etc. These seminal events influenced other bands and by 1967 the pop music scene was rife with experimental bands such as Cream, Jimi Hendrix Experience, Traffic, Spirit, Doors, Vanilla Fudge, Pink Floyd etc. Psychedelia and acid rock had virtually exploded overnight. A new term, "progressive rock", was coined by Thomas Aquinas and others to describe the music of all these experimental bands which had expanded the boundaries of pop music beyond the traditional three minute song.

But this trend was so powerful that by 1968-69 progressive rock had "won". All bands (though not all solo artists) had embraced progressive rock. Even garage rock bands like the Electric Prunes, Amboy Dukes, Strawberry Alarm Clock and the Lemon Pipers were embracing the new experimental progressive rock. The bands that failed to evolve with the times, such as the Dave Clark Five and Herman's Hermits, fell to the wayside.

But any term that comes to refer to everything loses its utility. Therefore by the mid seventies the abbreviated term "prog" evidently came to be more narrowly applied to "art rock" bands such as Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Jethro Tull, ELP, Yes and ELO. It ceased to be applied to more traditional blues influenced ensembles like the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin, the heavy metal rockers like Black Sabbath, and the glam rockers like Alice Cooper.

I suppose I should accept the way the nomenclature has evolved but it's tough for me not to bristle when I hear bands such as the Doors, Cream, Led Zeppelin, Santana and the Rolling Stones no longer being classified as "prog". After all, I was there listening when all the experimentation began and progressive rock was born.

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