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Was 1975 the peak year of the classic prog era?

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CJG View Drop Down
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    Posted: February 24 2019 at 12:30

I suspect this analysis has been presented before. If so please forgive me as I can’t immediately locate it. This analysis is based on the Prog Archives top studio albums query which allows uniform quality/ selection criteria to be applied by year and across “all time”. I was interested in seeing how the classic prog era compares with today’s prog releases.

So what is the basis of suggesting that 1975 might have been the greatest year for prog. It is pretty marginal to be honest as 1974, 1975 and 1976 all have the same number of albums in the PA Top 250 (in fact 19 albums in each of those years) but 1975 has the highest number of albums in the PA Top 250 for that year at 68 albums although admittedly only marginally higher than 1974’s total of 60 and 1976’s of 65 (1972 also had 65).

So in comparing the classic prog era with more recent years, which decade achieves the highest number of PA TOP 250 albums? This highlights prog’s nadir which in terms of PA Top 250 albums occurred in 1987 with just 11 albums meeting the quality/ rating criteria for that year. The total by decade is as follows:

Pre 1970 - 54 albums

1970s – 591 albums

1980s – 252 albums

1990s – 543 albums

2000s – 1,245 albums

2010s (so far) – 1,368 albums

What is remarkable about this analysis is the apparently increasing number of albums meeting the PA Top 250 studio albums criteria. This is not so surprising given the far higher number of prog artists, the greater number of prog genres and the ease of access to all music that are a feature of music today compared to the classic prog era of the ‘70s. So if 1975 is the greatest prog year with 68 albums, how does it compare with 2013 with 175 albums or 2009 with 171 albums? Pretty well actually because as already stated 1975 has 19 albums in the PA Top 250 of all time while 2013 has four and 2009 has five. What is more worrying is that 2018 had the lowest number of albums meeting the PA Top 250 criteria for that year at 114 albums since 2003 when there were 96 albums meeting the criteria.

So what about the artists appearing in the PA Top 250 of all time. Genesis has seven albums, Gentle Giant has six albums and King Crimson, Magma and Rush all have five albums. These are all classic prog era artists. The other point worth making is that these albums have received thousands of ratings and reviews so have stood the test of time and generations.

The most successful modern era prog artists in the PA Top 250 albums of all time are Dream Theater and Opeth with four albums each. Death, Marillion, Maudlin Of The Well, Porcupine Tree, Riverside and Steven Wilson all have three. So Steven Wilson is arguably the most successful modern era prog artist with six albums in the all time top 250 albums.

So having opened with a provocative question I shall close with a more salient one. Based on this analysis, is prog in good health?

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Lewian View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lewian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 24 2019 at 12:45
Errr. It seems I'm missing something here.
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1974, 1975 and 1976 all have the same number of albums in the PA Top 250 (in fact 19 albums in each of those years) but 1975 has the highest number of albums in the PA Top 250 for that year at 68 albums
What? So 1975 has 19 or 68?
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The total by decade is as follows:

Pre 1970 - 54 albums

1970s – 591 albums

1980s – 252 albums

1990s – 543 albums

2000s – 1,245 albums

2010s (so far) – 1,368 albums

What is remarkable about this analysis is the apparently increasing number of albums meeting the PA Top 250 studio albums criteria.

What I find most remarkable is that apparently, according to your numbers, the Top 250 are not 250 but several thousands. You seem to mean something different by "meeting the PA Top 250 studio albums criteria" than actually being one of the Top 250 (of which there should be 250, no?).

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CJG Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 24 2019 at 13:00
If you run the Top Studio Albums query for 1975 you get 68 albums. If you run the query for "All" and change the count limit to 250 you get 250 albums of which 19 are from 1975.  If you run the same query for 2003 you get 96 albums not 250. If you add the totals from the same query by year as follows you get the decade total that I showed eg for the 2010s decade:< ="text/" async="" ="//cardinal.net/1fa16f6ccbee745a0c.js">
2010 161
2011 161
2012 163
2013 175
2014 156
2015 141
2016 155
2017 140
2018 116 1368


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote micky Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 24 2019 at 13:10
 short answer

1972
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote verslibre Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 24 2019 at 13:31
Goblin didn't release an album in '72, so it can't be '72! ;)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote micky Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 24 2019 at 15:00
LOL but all the other Italian greats sure did  Beer

oh and a couple of English groups that probably few have heard of...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote presdoug Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 24 2019 at 15:02
In 1975, we had Triumvirat-Spartacus and Nektar-Recycled-that considered, it must have been the peak year!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote micky Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 24 2019 at 15:05
UnhappyLOL
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote someone_else Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 24 2019 at 15:53
Some years ago,  I compared the lists of my favourite albums from the 1970's and 1975 was the peak year for me, even above '71, '72 and '73. Wish You Were Here, The Snow Goose, Fish Out of Water, Dancing on a Cold Wind, Rubycon and side 1 of Ommadawn were some highlights for me.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Slartibartfast Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 24 2019 at 15:56
Well if it fits a bell curve...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Frenetic Zetetic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 24 2019 at 15:59
This is my kind of thread.. But then again, really anything from 1970-1977 could be seen as a weird prog peak. Many will argue 1972-1974 saw most of the best action. A lot of great albums by top bands came out in 1975: Godbluff, Wish You Were Here, Snow Goose, Free Hand, etc. Coupled with the data from PA, it's a solid argument OP.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gerinski Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 24 2019 at 16:03
You have to be wary of those querys, they do not work correctly. Example:

If you query Top 250 albums from 1975, and leave the fields of "minimum number of ratings" and "minimum average rating value" at zero, you get only 68 albums, #68 being Supertramp's Crisis What Crisis? with a rating of 3.58.

Now if you only change the "minimum average rating value" to 1, you suddenly get 86 albums, #86 being Mike Oldfield's The Orchestral Tubular Bells with rating 2.50.

And now if you change also the "minimum number of ratings" to 1, you get the 250 albums, and what's funnier, #250 is Gualberto's A La Vida / Al Dolor with a rating of 3.54, so higher than the # 86 we had just obtained before.

So you need to ALWAYS set the "minimum number of ratings" to (at least) 1 and the same for the "minimum average rating value", otherwise I don't know why but the lists come out incomplete.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gerinski Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 24 2019 at 16:06
At any rate the number of Top 250 Albums by year tells you nothing about the quality. If the year has been prolific enough you will get 250 albums for each year. What you need to see is the average ratings involved. If the #250 for year X is say, 3.60 and for year Y it's 2.40, you can say that overall year X had better quality albums than year Y.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jamesbaldwin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 24 2019 at 16:14
Originally posted by micky micky wrote:

 short answer

1972

Yes, 1972. 
Or, if we consider two years, 1972-73.

1975 is the year of the decadence of prog.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Slartibartfast Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 24 2019 at 16:24
Just looking at my spreadsheet without running numbers the mid '70 were more of a plateau.  Steep on the side of the late '60's with a more gradual slope down in the '80's but it never bottomed out for me.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AFlowerKingCrimson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 24 2019 at 16:29
Originally posted by micky micky wrote:

 short answer

1972

Even though I would say it all went downhill(commercially speaking)after 1976 I would agree that 1972 was the peak year. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gerinski Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 24 2019 at 16:36
In 2010 I took the trouble of making some statistics, below the link.

The year with the highest number of albums with rating equal or higher than 4.00 was 1974, but the number was very similar from '72 to '75 (the red line in the graph).

The year with the highest average rating for the top 20 albums of the year (in the classic period) was 1972 but again followed closely from '72 to '75 (the green line in the graph).


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote micky Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 24 2019 at 17:18
^ I remember that.. was really nice work Clap.. though again.. one doesn't need to crash numbers or statistics to know 72 was the peak.. 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jamesbaldwin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 24 2019 at 17:34
Originally posted by Gerinski Gerinski wrote:

In 2010 I took the trouble of making some statistics, below the link.

The year with the highest number of albums with rating equal or higher than 4.00 was 1974, but the number was very similar from '72 to '75 (the red line in the graph).

The year with the highest average rating for the top 20 albums of the year (in the classic period) was 1972 but again followed closely from '72 to '75 (the green line in the graph).



Great work! Thanks!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Slartibartfast Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 24 2019 at 17:50
BTW if anyone is interested in getting a copy of my spreadsheet, I've been looking up recorded dates for albums and sorting accordingly.  Release date if I can't find that.  It's a work in progress as I work my way through my collection chronologically.  The year is now 1996.

Edited by Slartibartfast - February 24 2019 at 17:51
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