Here are six essential prog rock songs. Enjoy.
1. Time – Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd. You could argue that Dark Side of the Moon represents the pinnacle of the progressive rock movement in the seventies. Dark Side of the Moon along with Wish You Were Here and Animals are certainly three of the best prog rock albums. Even after Roger Water's went all introspective (to put it nicely) on Animals, The Wall, and The Final Cut, Floyd had developed a large following that followed them through the post Waters era. Granted Momentary Lapse of Reason and The Division Bell were less prog and more guitar rock oriented, but one has to admire David Gilmour, who is a guitar virtuoso.
2. Whiter Shade of Pale – Debut Album, Procul Harum. A founding band in what would become progressive rock, Procul Harum inspired by Johann Sebastian Bach, wrote one of the more lasting psychedelic songs. Whiter Shade of Pale would set the standard for weird, nearly incomprehensible lyrics that would becoming a defining signature in prog rock. When the character Jimmy Rabbit is being 'interviewed' at the end of The Commitments, he quotes the first two lines:
We skipped the light fandango turned cartwheels 'cross the floorThe 'interviewer' asks, “That's very profound, Jimmy! What does it mean?" - Jimmy replies, “I'm fucked if I know, Terry!”
I was feeling kinda seasick but the crowd called out for more
The BBC has a great article about this lyric here...
3. La Villa Strangiato (An Exercise in Self-Indulgence) – Hemispheres, Rush. Now, you all know most of us on Music For A Mid-Life Geek are unabashed Rush fans, so of course they would show up on our list. I could go on about how under appreciated this band is, but frankly, I say, let the music speak for itself. Also... RUSH!
4. Fallen Angel – Red, King Crimson. Another founding prog rock group, King Crimson has many songs that could make this list, 21st Century Schizoid Man and Discipline to name a couple. Fallen Angel makes the list for it's very cool guitar effects at the start of the song. For a progressive rock song, is it also a very simple, but memorable one.
5. Lie – Awake, Dream Theater. Keeping prog rock alive in the nineties, Dream Theater took punk bass and drum rhythms and gave it a glossy new sound.
6. Undisclosed Desires – The Resistance, Muse. I admit, I was late to the Muse party, but, they certainly are the newest band to pick up the progressive rock banner. Incorporating all the styles that came before them, they have rapidly moved up to my top six.
Videos after the jump
1. Time – Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd
Whiter Shade of Pale – Debut Album, Procul Harum
La Villa Strangiato (An Exercise in Self-Indulgence) (Live at Pinkpop 1979) – Hemispheres, Rush
Fallen Angel – Red, King Crimson
Lie – Awake, Dream Theater
Undisclosed Desires – The Resistance, Muse