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Was prog actually popular in the 70s??

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Michael678 View Drop Down
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    Posted: August 05 2013 at 10:07
Originally posted by Atavachron

here's an article I wrote on the matter -


When Prog Ruled the World


It did, y'know, for a brief and shining moment. When released in the U.S. in early 1971, Emerson, Lake and Palmer's first record peaked at number 18 on the Billboard charts. Yes's Close to the Edge (1972) reached #3. Jethro Tull's monster child Thick as a Brick -- one continuous cut that spanned both sides of an LP, something almost unheard of even then –- made it to #1 during 1972. As did A Passion Play in '73. That's right, numero uno for an album many consider to be the most overblown and pretentious piece of music ever put to record. Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here, too, in '75.

It barely seems possible. Was this the same planet we currently reside on? A place where today such albums would be considered by the general public more as theater than modern rock music, seen as a novelty, or worse, a gimmick. A selfish overindulgence by groups who thought rock had become high art, and with the temerity to actually sell it to people. What was occurring in the post-psychedelic landscape of the early 1970s, and what had happened to individual perception that caused such ambitious breakthroughs to become marketable?

In many ways, it isn't terribly surprising when one considers the sheer quality of the music; Thick as a Brick with its catchy melodies, storybook lyrics, clever cover, and very digestible mix of acoustic folk with hard rock and classical. A winner before it was it was ever heard. The newness and palatable art-pop on ELP's first, sophistry and challenging structures in Close to the Edge, and the elegance and crystal waters of Wish You Were Here. All pinnacles of where rock had been and how far it had come, and each one further inspired and improved upon. A true progression of both form and of quality. As well, other smaller prog artists were able to follow on the coattails of these successes, eking out a living if only in their own countries. That's not to say The Stones, McCartney, Simon & Garfunkel, Chicago and Elton John weren't the undisputed kings of sales, but the British Invasion hadn't ceased with The Beatles' break-up. No, it had expanded, morphed seemingly overnight into something altogether new and extraordinary that took not only from rock's past, but from the best the western world's entire musical history had to offer. The rules had exploded, the sky was limitless and people seemed ready for an era both marvelous and maddening in its creative spirit. It was clear: Progressive Rock was a movement, and by the time it was over would produce some of the most startling, meticulous and difficult popular music the world has even known. And all during the course of about ten years.

And people were buying it, listening to it. A few even seemed to be enjoying this masturbatory nonsense, apparently lauded only by beard-stroking academics with no girlfriends and a little too much time on their hands. Even more unexpected was that this new 'art rock' was an extension of what had come just before, a much further push into territory The Beatles, Jefferson Airplane, Moody Blues, Doors, The Who and others had only hinted at. It was unusual because most new musical forms are a reaction against their siblings of the old guard, a turning away of the past fueled by a desperate need to be expressively different. But a few mavericks in Britain, Europe and North America, some of whom had formal musical backgrounds and larger visions of what was possible within a rock format, decided to raise those stakes, not change them. It was a time when the bigger the concept, higher the ambition and finer the skills - the more a musician was willing do and farther able to go - the more people seemed interested. The audience had grown-up and instead of rejecting its history, wanted more. The timing was right and the artists were ready-- a fleeting convergence when everything that had been accomplished in the previous decade, the inventive and free spirit of those times, had set the stage for something far greater.

The record-buying public weren't the only ones charmed. Commercial music, that pool of anonymously recorded and publicly owned stuff you hear slapped on a cheap TV show, pasted to endless radio spots or piped-in at the local mall had suddenly adopted a space age & synthesizer motif, sounding remarkably like a watered down ELP. Pretty soon everything from the local news to the new season of In Search Of sported music undeniably influenced not by Pop, Rock 'n Roll, Folk or the other popular genres, but by what the Prog musicians had been offering for years.

Then things changed. Some say Disco killed Prog with its polyester, new haircuts, and hijacking of symphonic arrangements. Others think it was Punk, its 'rebellion' against the rock establishment and bloated acts that system supported. In fact the truth isn't so simple and frankly neither Disco nor Punk had much hand in progressive rock's recession. Time moves on, generations grow out of their past and new replaces old. And though music journalism's passionate love affair with Punk rock and tenuous relationship with Prog probably hastened its demise, the press wasn't the culprit. All three musical styles developed around the same period, paralleling one another much of the time. Each provided a unique voice in modern music and an alternative to the massive Pop market, and each eventually succumbed to its own weight.

Thankfully progressive rock survived. Just barely. A handful of bands scattered around the world didn't give-in to the pressure and kept making rock for the thinking person, playing to an oblivious world caught up in the Reagan era. A few veterans like Yes and Pink Floyd re-emerged in the 80s and offered some quality music to a thankful if tiny audience. Still others such as Rush just kept going, some feel at the price of their artistry, making many more albums and even getting a few radio hits along the way. Luckily in our time, the internet has saved Prog from going under and offers not only an easy way to find the music of these new and old bands, but a worldwide community filled with likeminded lovers of the rock progressive. So enjoy, and Prog on!




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Post Options Post Options   Quote Evolver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 05 2013 at 14:26
Originally posted by Dean



Okay... so you are saying that Genesis were not big before they became big...


As I remember it, Genesis was, at least in my area, slightly behind groups like ELP, Yes, Jethro Tull and Pink Floyd in the early seventies. But more popular than VDGG, Gentle Giant, and most other favorites.
YMMV
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Post Options Post Options   Quote The.Crimson.King Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 05 2013 at 15:27
Originally posted by Evolver

Originally posted by Dean



Okay... so you are saying that Genesis were not big before they became big...


As I remember it, Genesis was, at least in my area, slightly behind groups like ELP, Yes, Jethro Tull and Pink Floyd in the early seventies. But more popular than VDGG, Gentle Giant, and most other favorites.
YMMV

Definitely true for my area too.  In 1977 the ELP "Works" tour, Yes "Going for the One" tour & Tull "Songs From the Wood" tour played to 19,000 at the indoor Oakland Arena (Yes actually sold out 2 nights).  Pink Floyd was the biggest of all though and the "Animals" tour sold out the 56,000 seat outdoor Oakland Coliseum.  On the other hand, the 1977 Genesis "Wind and Wuthering" tour was at the 5,400 capacity Winterland Ballroom across the bay in SF.  Genesis didn't turn the corner and get to Oakland until the following year's "And Then There Were Three" tour.

As far as rock radio at the time, I don't recall ever hearing Genesis being played a single time in regular rotation.  ELP's "Lucky Man" and "In the Beginning" along with Yes' "Roundabout" and Tull's "Living in the Past", "Bungle in the Jungle", "Aqualung" & "Cross Eyed Mary" were all rock radio staples.  Pink Floyd was already hugely popular with 'Money" and "Wish You Were Here" but when Animals came out, they just exploded on local radio..."Sheep" was played constantly.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Rando Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 05 2013 at 15:29
[/QUOTE] Ya, there were also these great independently owned record shops that catered to prog.  Greg Stone either owned - or worked at - one in downtown Los Gatos called "The Galactic Zoo" (where I bought "Pawn Hearts").  In West San Jose you had "The Dedicated Record Collector".  Downtown near San Jose State University was "Underground Records" (where I bought all my King Crimson bootlegs).  And in Sunnyvale near my house was "Phonograph Records".  I rode my 10 speed down one early September Saturday in 1977 and told the guy behind the counter I'd seen some really cool album covers from some band called King Crimson, and asked if he could tell me anything about them.  He get's this evil smile and says, "I'll put something on so you can hear them for yourself"  He then dropped the needle on Fracture and changed my life Thumbs Up   [/QUOTE]

Wow! This is crazy!  In '94 I moved to San Jose and taught HS there in Campbell steps away from Los Gatos. I lived off Blossom Hill Rd. Sad to say but  by the time I moved there it was a little too late to catch The Galactic Zoo and most of those other stores. All I could do was sit there and listen to great stories from friends about the late 70's and how these record stores had the best Prog. By mid-90's the only stores left for me were Streetlight Records, Big Al's Record Barn, and Rasputin, all on Bascom Ave. Well, there was one other one, Rowes Rare Records which was ok. Maybe we crossed paths at some point! Even if it was the mid-90's when I got there! LOL

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 05 2013 at 15:33
Originally posted by Evolver

Originally posted by Dean



Okay... so you are saying that Genesis were not big before they became big...


As I remember it, Genesis was, at least in my area, slightly behind groups like ELP, Yes, Jethro Tull and Pink Floyd in the early seventies. But more popular than VDGG, Gentle Giant, and most other favorites.
YMMV
Yup - that is pretty much how it was in Middle England too. Except Yes weren't that big really and by '73 Tull were on the wain - if you're talking Zeppelin proportions then that's only really ELP and Floyd


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Post Options Post Options   Quote dr prog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 05 2013 at 15:57
Originally posted by Dean



Okay... so you are saying that Genesis were not big before they became big... and the 70s ended on New Years Eve 1975.
 
Fairy snuff. As long as we set the ground rules we can hammer the facts to fit the pre-written conclusion. Brilliant.


They became big in the horrible mid 80s lol
All I like is prog related bands beginning late 60's/early 70's. Their music from 1968 - 83 has the composition and sound which will never be beaten. Perfect blend of jazz, classical, folk and rock.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Evolver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 05 2013 at 15:58
Originally posted by Dean

Originally posted by Evolver

Originally posted by Dean

Okay... so you are saying that Genesis were not big before they became big...
As I remember it, Genesis was, at least in my area, slightly behind groups like ELP, Yes, Jethro Tull and Pink Floyd in the early seventies. But more popular than VDGG, Gentle Giant, and most other favorites. YMMV

Yup - that is pretty much how it was in Middle England too. Except Yes weren't that big really and by '73 Tull were on the wain - if you're talking Zeppelin proportions then that's only really ELP and Floyd


Yes was close here. I saw them in sold out arenas in Boston and New York more than a few times.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 05 2013 at 16:01
Originally posted by dr prog

Originally posted by Dean



Okay... so you are saying that Genesis were not big before they became big... and the 70s ended on New Years Eve 1975.
 
Fairy snuff. As long as we set the ground rules we can hammer the facts to fit the pre-written conclusion. Brilliant.


They became big in the horrible mid 80s lol
Irrelevant. They were not Prog then.


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Post Options Post Options   Quote The.Crimson.King Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 05 2013 at 16:23
Originally posted by Rando

Ya, there were also these great independently owned record shops that catered to prog.  Greg Stone either owned - or worked at - one in downtown Los Gatos called "The Galactic Zoo" (where I bought "Pawn Hearts").  In West San Jose you had "The Dedicated Record Collector".  Downtown near San Jose State University was "Underground Records" (where I bought all my King Crimson bootlegs).  And in Sunnyvale near my house was "Phonograph Records".  I rode my 10 speed down one early September Saturday in 1977 and told the guy behind the counter I'd seen some really cool album covers from some band called King Crimson, and asked if he could tell me anything about them.  He get's this evil smile and says, "I'll put something on so you can hear them for yourself"  He then dropped the needle on Fracture and changed my life Thumbs Up   


Wow! This is crazy!  In '94 I moved to San Jose and taught HS there in Campbell steps away from Los Gatos. I lived off Blossom Hill Rd. Sad to say but  by the time I moved there it was a little too late to catch The Galactic Zoo and most of those other stores. All I could do was sit there and listen to great stories from friends about the late 70's and how these record stores had the best Prog. By mid-90's the only stores left for me were Streetlight Records, Big Al's Record Barn, and Rasputin, all on Bascom Ave. Well, there was one other one, Rowes Rare Records which was ok. Maybe we crossed paths at some point! Even if it was the mid-90's when I got there! LOL

Smile

We probably did cross paths!  I built up my prog CD collection in a big way in the mid 90's Wink
 
Streetlight was great in their early days when they were located in that house on Bascom by 280.  They had a guy there named "Stretch" who was a Hawkwind and prog maniac so they always had cool stuff...bought the first 2 IQ albums there.  When they expanded into that huge space down the street and opened up a sister store in Santa Cruz they dropped off on the prog focus.  Rasputin was great and had a massive inventory.  You could wander the aisles for days and not see everything.  Big Al's was a complete vinyl rip off...he priced everything like it was a super rare collectors item no matter how many he had.  I remember seeing 10+ vinyl ELP Works Vol 1 albums listed at $20+ for each one.  I believe Rowe's on Bascom actually merged with Big Al after he shut down the Santa Clara store.

The best prog store in the CD era was "CD Warehouse" in Sunnyvale.  They had a listening station with like 10 CD players/headphone setups...I used to spend hours listening to anything that looked remotely interesting.  They had a great prog section where I bought most of my Ange & Anekdoten albums...ya, they went deep into the Italian, French, Swedish, and German prog scenes.  They even occasionally had prog bootlegs, though they were pricey.  I found a '76 Trick of the Tail tour 2CD boot which was about $60...luckily when I brought it to the counter they let me listen to it first...unfortunately, the sound quality was awful so I had to pass.

The coolest thing CD Warehouse ever did was when Marillion came through town on the "Seasons End" tour.  They played a small club in Santa Clara called The Cabaret on a Thur night, then Fri at 11am Hogarth, Rothery and Trewavis played an acoustic set on this tiny stage in the store.  A few years ago the store changed focus from prog & metal to hip hop & rap for a short time then went out of business.  That's what they get for turning their backs on prog fans Evil Smile






Edited by The.Crimson.King - August 05 2013 at 16:25
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Post Options Post Options   Quote dr prog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 05 2013 at 17:10
I wish graaf stuck together for the whole 70s. Reckon they would have been big. Same with camel if they came around 3 years earlier

Edited by dr prog - August 05 2013 at 17:12
All I like is prog related bands beginning late 60's/early 70's. Their music from 1968 - 83 has the composition and sound which will never be beaten. Perfect blend of jazz, classical, folk and rock.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 05 2013 at 17:23

 



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Post Options Post Options   Quote dr prog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 05 2013 at 17:41
Originally posted by Dean

 



Oh poor genesis snobs can't get their head out of their ass lol
All I like is prog related bands beginning late 60's/early 70's. Their music from 1968 - 83 has the composition and sound which will never be beaten. Perfect blend of jazz, classical, folk and rock.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 05 2013 at 18:00
Originally posted by dr prog

Originally posted by Dean

 



Oh poor genesis snobs can't get their head out of their ass lol
Hillarious... and as laughably wrong as everyother wild unsubstantiated guess you've made today. Research, assessment, analysis, not silly guesses.
 


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Post Options Post Options   Quote The Dark Elf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 05 2013 at 20:49
Originally posted by Dean

Originally posted by dr prog

I doubt crimson and genesis had big concerts in the 70s like Tull, yes, elp etc. I don't like crimson and genesis from 1970-75 as much as Tull and yes in this era. I reckon gentle giant deserved bigger followings and van der graaf would have had a bigger following if they didn't break up between 1972 and 74. Not sure why elp became so big. They were pretty crap after 1973
Where was it you obtained your PhD in Progology exactly? I really do think you should send it back and ask for a refund, then change your name of course.
 
Genesis were playing stadiums from 1974 (Lamb) onwards. Crimson were also playing stadiums such as The Hollywood Sportatorium in Miami in 1974. GG weren't quite at that level but were reasonably sucessful as a touring band and did actually head line a stadium gig (albeit in Liverpool) given their minority appeal (whether they deserved that is immaterial).


Late to the party, and I didn't attend a Genesis show between 70-75 (too young), but I was at the Genesis concert at Ford Auditorium in Detroit in 1976 (Trick of the Tail, Bill Bruford drumming). A three thousand seater and It was sold out. I saw them again in 1977 (Winds and Wuthering) at the Masonic Temple in Detroit, this time sold to capacity of 5000. Both shows still rank in the top 20 or so concerts I've ever seen, and I've been to hundreds of concerts. Great light show.


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Post Options Post Options   Quote Vibrationbaby Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 05 2013 at 21:01
Everything was known as progressive rock in the early seventies from Elton John to Genesis. Then disco and punk happened. I think just about the only artist back in the early seventies who wasn't considered prog was Elvis. I remember in Sam the record Man in Montreal he had rows and rows in his section. Unfortunately I saw genesis in 2007 at the big O in montreal and the few early songs they did play ( and butchered ) hardly anyone knew. In fact I overheard one kid saying that one of those songs ( can't remember which one ) must be their new song. Go figure. I'm just glad I grew up during those exciting years. I remember skipping school to wait at the record store when ELP's Love Beach came out.
                
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Atavachron Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 05 2013 at 21:06
It's true, progressive rock was rock for a good while, there was no separation; it was modern rock music, period, you just had to be there to remember.   It's usually right about this time I like to remind A Passion Play was #1 on Billboard but no one ever believes me  Smile .
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Post Options Post Options   Quote dr prog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 05 2013 at 22:16
Even Abba had their proggy moments. Most music was prog related then
All I like is prog related bands beginning late 60's/early 70's. Their music from 1968 - 83 has the composition and sound which will never be beaten. Perfect blend of jazz, classical, folk and rock.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Kati Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 05 2013 at 22:49
Not necessary the word prog, but the moozik genre certainly was, otherwise I cannot imagine why on earth Peter Gabriel would put on a red dress and a fox on his head to stand out like others, to the dismay of his band
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Post Options Post Options   Quote The.Crimson.King Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 05 2013 at 23:01
Originally posted by The Dark Elf

Originally posted by Dean

Originally posted by dr prog

I doubt crimson and genesis had big concerts in the 70s like Tull, yes, elp etc. I don't like crimson and genesis from 1970-75 as much as Tull and yes in this era. I reckon gentle giant deserved bigger followings and van der graaf would have had a bigger following if they didn't break up between 1972 and 74. Not sure why elp became so big. They were pretty crap after 1973
Where was it you obtained your PhD in Progology exactly? I really do think you should send it back and ask for a refund, then change your name of course.
 
Genesis were playing stadiums from 1974 (Lamb) onwards. Crimson were also playing stadiums such as The Hollywood Sportatorium in Miami in 1974. GG weren't quite at that level but were reasonably sucessful as a touring band and did actually head line a stadium gig (albeit in Liverpool) given their minority appeal (whether they deserved that is immaterial).


Late to the party, and I didn't attend a Genesis show between 70-75 (too young), but I was at the Genesis concert at Ford Auditorium in Detroit in 1976 (Trick of the Tail, Bill Bruford drumming). A three thousand seater and It was sold out. I saw them again in 1977 (Winds and Wuthering) at the Masonic Temple in Detroit, this time sold to capacity of 5000. Both shows still rank in the top 20 or so concerts I've ever seen, and I've been to hundreds of concerts. Great light show.

Genesis was playing the same size venues those years in SF as you mentioned in Detroit.  By comparison, King Crimson in '74 and Yes/Gentle Giant in '76 played the 14,500 seat Cow Palace.  In the SF bay area, Genesis was the last of the major 70's prog bands to make the jump to the 10,000+ seat arenas.  Seeng Genesis at the tiny Winterland Ballroom in '77 was way more enjoyable than seeing them in the much bigger Oakland Arena the following tour.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Kati Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 05 2013 at 23:16
Originally posted by The.Crimson.King


Originally posted by The Dark Elf


Originally posted by Dean


Originally posted by dr prog

I doubt crimson and genesis had big concerts in the 70s like Tull, yes, elp etc. I don't like crimson and genesis from 1970-75 as much as Tull and yes in this era. I reckon gentle giant deserved bigger followings and van der graaf would have had a bigger following if they didn't break up between 1972 and 74. Not sure why elp became so big. They were pretty crap after 1973

Where was it you obtained your PhD in Progology exactly? I really do think you should send it back and ask for a refund, then change your name of course.
 
Genesis were playing stadiums from 1974 (Lamb) onwards. Crimson were also playing stadiums such as The Hollywood Sportatorium in Miami in 1974. GG weren't quite at that level but were reasonably sucessful as a touring band and did actually head line a stadium gig (albeit in Liverpool) given their minority appeal (whether they deserved that is immaterial).
Late to the party, and I didn't attend a Genesis show between 70-75 (too young), but I was at the Genesis concert at Ford Auditorium in Detroit in 1976 (Trick of the Tail, Bill Bruford drumming). A three thousand seater and It was sold out. I saw them again in 1977 (Winds and Wuthering) at the Masonic Temple in Detroit, this time sold to capacity of 5000. Both shows still rank in the top 20 or so concerts I've ever seen, and I've been to hundreds of concerts. Great light show.

Genesis was playing the same size venues those years in SF as you mentioned in Detroit.  By comparison, King Crimson in '74 and Yes/Gentle Giant in '76 played the 14,500 seat Cow Palace.  In the SF bay area, Genesis was the last of the major 70's prog bands to make the jump to the 10,000+ seat arenas.  Seeng Genesis at the tiny Winterland Ballroom in '77 was way more enjoyable than seeing them in the much bigger Oakland Arena the following tour.


love all I read above plus I cannot think of anything to add to that lol that's a lot of text however it's good to read plus funny enough it's most intriguing to me hugs to all xxxxx
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