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The Start of the Neo Prog Era

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The.Crimson.King View Drop Down
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    Posted: September 15 2017 at 16:52
In another thread, a discussion of whether 70's bands that were overtly influenced by Genesis and other early Symphonic bands could/should be considered Neo Prog has come up.  Rather than limit responses to those following that thread...not to mention totally hijacking the thread which I've already been accused of once Wink...I wanted to start a new one to hear opinions on this.

So, when do you define the start of the Neo Prog era?  Even the PA definition seems open to interpretation:

Neo-Progressive rock (more commonly "Neo-Prog") is a subgenre of Progressive Rock that originally was used to describe artists strongly influenced by the classic symphonic prog bands that flourished during the 1970s. At the beginning of the neo-prog movement, the primary influence was early to mid-70's Genesis. Debate over when Neo-Prog actually came into being often takes place, with some asserting it began with Marillion's Script for a Jester's Tear in 1983. Others contend it began with Twelfth Night at the dawn of the 80s, while some even suggest the popular symphonic prog band Genesis gave rise to Neo-Prog with their 1976 album, A Trick of the Tail.

I'd be curious to hear when others would define the start of Neo Prog.  Is it simply a question of being overtly influenced by the original 70's symphonic prog bands?  If so, would you consider the 70's output of bands like Ange or Eloy to be the start of Neo Prog?  On the other hand, was it stylistically defined by the release of a specific album, say Script From a Jester's Tear for example?  Instead, was there a cultural aspect of it as well that ties Neo Prog to the rise of the NWOBPR?  Or do you have a totally different interpretation?

I always considered it tied to the NWOBPR at the start, but then it spread out to include non-British bands in a stylistic rather than cultural definition.


Edited by The.Crimson.King - September 15 2017 at 16:57
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Atavachron View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Atavachron Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 15 2017 at 17:14
Saga.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kepler62 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 15 2017 at 19:51
I always thought that they were waaaay better than Rush. I'll listen to any Saga  album. In Transit is a great live record engineered by Deiter Dierks. Just never could get into the newer bands that started coming out in the 80s. Marillion was interesting but they had run their course after Misplaced Childhood. For me they were a novelty when they came out. I still listen to them. Actually listened to Clutching At Straws the other day. 

Neo prog could have started as early as the early seventies with copycat bands like Triumvirat because when you really consider it most of the groundbreaking bands of progressive rock had stated their cases by 1974 or so.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AFlowerKingCrimson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 15 2017 at 21:06
Saga seems to be a good contender for first neo prog band. I've also heard that ATTWT by Genesis was the first neo prog album. There was some stuff before that that maybe hinted at neo prog. It's hard to tell but I don't think neo prog became official until the eighties.

Edited by AFlowerKingCrimson - September 15 2017 at 21:06
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote PhideauxFan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 16 2017 at 06:01
The first neo progressive rock album ?

Twelfth Night -Live At The Target (UK-1981).


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote verslibre Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 16 2017 at 10:24
^Entirely instrumental, so definitely not neo-prog. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote verslibre Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 16 2017 at 10:28
Originally posted by AFlowerKingCrimson AFlowerKingCrimson wrote:

Saga seems to be a good contender for first neo prog band. I've also heard that ATTWT by Genesis was the first neo prog album. There was some stuff before that that maybe hinted at neo prog. It's hard to tell but I don't think neo prog became official until the eighties.

Saga's a symph band that took inspiration from Styx, Gentle Giant, Yes and other bands. They didn't sound like emulators, though. 

Now Starcastle were essentially Yes wannabes, and they got their first album out two years earlier (1976). So those guys would be neo way before Saga would.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Progmind Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 16 2017 at 10:46
Adonis by Anyone´s Daughter (1979)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cristi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 16 2017 at 10:49
Originally posted by verslibre verslibre wrote:

^Entirely instrumental, so definitely not neo-prog. 

why? neo-prog is not supposed to be instrumental?

I listened a while ago to an Italian band, all instrumental that I would definitely call neo-prog; did not like them that much, but they were neo. 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Manuel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 16 2017 at 11:22
Saga, though influenced by other progressive bands of the era, had a unique approach to their music, and the way they composed it. I think Neo-prog was a slow progress (or evolution if you wish) from the 70s sound, mixing less classical influences than the original bands, and more of the tendencies that flourished during the late 70s and early 80s. By the time Marillion came, the sound had fully blossomed and had taken a life of it's own, giving birth to what we now call Neo-prog.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cosmiclawnmower Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 16 2017 at 14:44
In the UK a lot of the older bands (who had 'survived' the (supposed) 'purge' of punk) had been re-thinking (or trying) to re-think their style. So lps like 'I can see your house from here', 'Duke' and 'the Wall' are a selection of these bands trying to adapt (successfully or not) to different times. Also when NWOBHM came along, it was looking at the earlier 70s metal but energised to some extent by punk and the 'spirit of the times' and so when British neo prog (NWOBPR) came along it was trying to recapture elements of earlier prog but also energised and imbued with some of the post punk/ new wave ethic. Also I remember that Rush were just beginning to get big here and were still considered more of a heavy rock band but they crossed lots of musical boundries and had a fresher sound that lots of the old Brit bands had lost.. I think that they helped knit quite a bit of NWOBHM and NWOBPR scene together, at least initially.

Of course that's just one 'Brits' view from the time but every country had its own version i'm sure.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ClaudeV Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 16 2017 at 16:18
Neo-Prog is an invention by some purists. It does not exist. All those 80's bands were prog forced to put a few pop songs in there for record companies to bbe happy.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cosmiclawnmower Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 16 2017 at 16:29
Originally posted by ClaudeV ClaudeV wrote:

Neo-Prog is an invention by some purists. It does not exist. All those 80's bands were prog forced to put a few pop songs in there for record companies to bbe happy.

Most of the Brit Neo prog bands (with the exception of Marillion) were all originally released on small, private or independent labels so (relatively) free of those pressures.  Yes I think the 'Genre' was invented but not by 'purists' but by lazy music journalists. And Yes, I think the urge to maybe reflect/ relate to some elements of 'pop' was there but I think that was more to do with these guys being 18-21 years in age rather than 40+ years.. and remember, Genesis thought they were writing 'pop' songs in the tradition of the Beatles etc when they made Trespass, Nursery Cryme etc
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Atavachron Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 16 2017 at 16:33
Originally posted by ClaudeV ClaudeV wrote:

Neo-Prog is an invention by some purists. It does not exist. All those 80's bands were prog forced to put a few pop songs in there for record companies to bbe happy.

This is correct.

"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought."   -- John F. Kennedy
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cosmiclawnmower Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 16 2017 at 16:40
Originally posted by Atavachron Atavachron wrote:

Originally posted by ClaudeV ClaudeV wrote:

Neo-Prog is an invention by some purists. It does not exist. All those 80's bands were prog forced to put a few pop songs in there for record companies to bbe happy.

This is correct.


I respect your view and maybe for the late 60's/ 70's bands this is true but the bands referred to as 'Neo prog' from the UK started very small and it was a very small and fairly underground and released on cassettes and very limited private pressings. EMI saw the success they were having with Iron Maiden and that interest was starting to shift towards prog and went out looking and found Marillion.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Prog-jester Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 16 2017 at 18:26
I'm with Cosmiclawnmover on this one
Those were young lads listening to all these Genesis and Floyd vinyls their older brothers had, trying to recreate this type of music, while also being no strangers to then-current trends and enjoying loads of other music, be it punk, new wave, post-pink or gothic rock.

Also freaking hate it when ANY post-70s Prog band gets called Neo-Prog. Neo-Prog was a British phenomenon, gradually influencing other countries - Polish Neo scene was HUGE in the 90s, and don't you forget Italy, Sweden or USA, too - but it's got that signature sound/manner/style about it, so calling ANY non-classic Prog band (Anglagard, Dream Theater, Radiohead, The Mars Volta, what have you) "Neo" is simply wrong
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ClaudeV Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 16 2017 at 21:02
Marillion started on EMI with simpler songs right away, while doing Grendel. 

Twelfth Night took a turn to shorter simple songs when they signed with a record company, Music for Nations, than Virgin.

IQ were very prog until they signed with Vertigo

Pallas were forced to cut great songs from their first album on EMI, The Sentinel.

If those bands are neoprog, then Genesis was neoprog in the seventies. Happy the man, I know what I like, Cuckoo Cocoon, Counting out time,  Carpet Crawlers, It. Trick of the tail, Your own special way, etc...All simpler songs that are not really prog, but within great prog albums it was OK.

That being said, it is clear that bands in the 80's did not have the same artistic freedom, except on self produced albums like Fact and Fiction or Tales from the Lush Attic.




Edited by ClaudeV - September 16 2017 at 21:05
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote omphaloskepsis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 17 2017 at 10:02
I vacillate between Trick of the Tail and Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cristi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 17 2017 at 10:09
Originally posted by omphaloskepsis omphaloskepsis wrote:

I vacillate between Trick of the Tail and Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.  

Genesis and symphony prog + some Pink Floyd influenced the neo prog sound, that's all. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote verslibre Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 17 2017 at 12:46
Originally posted by ClaudeV ClaudeV wrote:

Neo-Prog is an invention by some purists. It does not exist. All those 80's bands were prog forced to put a few pop songs in there for record companies to bbe happy.

Clap Some 20ish years ago, some guy called Martin Orford declared "There is no 'neo-prog'!"
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