“Progressive rock turns 50 this year,” writes Stuart Chambers in Saturday’s (7/28) Ottawa Citizen (Canada). “In their zenith, bands such as Yes, Emerson, Lake and Palmer (ELP) and Genesis were successful, not only because they packed stadiums and sold millions of records, but also because they broke all the rules…. Prog-rock musicians drew very little from rhythm and blues…. They embraced European classical music. Prog rockers had more in common with Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven and Jean Sibelius than they did Elvis Presley or James Brown…. Noted for its lengthy, complex compositions, the music involved lush melodies intertwined with counter-melodies…. Unlike pop music, which is almost exclusively written in 4/4 time, prog rockers use a multitude of time signatures…. Clocking in at more than 20 minutes, ELP’s Tarkus is a concept piece beginning in 5/4…. Firth of Fifth by Genesis contains rare time signatures of 13/16 and 15/16, alternating with bars of 2/4…. The genre’s influence is undeniable…. Like orchestral musicians, prog rockers took pride in their ability to write and play difficult arrangements, even to the point of reinterpreting entire classical compositions. By doing so, they brought classical music to the masses.”

Posted July 30, 2018