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Was prog actually popular in the 70s??

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moshkito View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Was prog actually popular in the 70s??
    Posted: April 23 2013 at 11:41
Originally posted by Atavachron

here's an article I wrote on the matter -

When Prog Ruled the World
...


 
It's good ... I do believe that in America, FM radio is the difference ... because you could not play longer cuts in the AM radio, and it also did not have the FIDELITY and QUALITY that the new "FM" was giving it, which made the music so much more important and better.
 
That alone, is much more influential than anything else ... and remember that the rinky dinky hit radio was so bad that it even had short versions of many pieces of music ... like "Light My Fire" ... "In a Gadda Da Vida" and many other pieces!
 
The sales that FM radio generated in America, made this even more valuable in Europe ... why? ... because the number was easily 3, 4, 5 or 20 times more than even London was selling ... and IF that was not the case, Yes, Jethro Tull and so many others would have never gotten the attention they did!
 
Pop radio only had a couple of things by Jimi and Janis, and stuff that I call "token" (these days) but was NOT representative of what eventually became progressive. Tom Payne, drummer and friend who was also a DJ at one  AM station in Santa Barbara could not play Moody Blues' first album stuff, and neither could he play Elton John, until later with Crocodile Rock, because the cuts were too long!
 
So, in many ways, your sensibility and mine was helped with radio. I do not know, or have read, how this helped in Europe as yet ... but I can tell you that Nektar got almost 60% of all their sales in one year in the LA area alone, which tells you the quantity was massive, compared to London, or Germany! And only the likes of KNAC and the lesser FM stations were playing Nektar, but they were a major "import" band along with Le Orme, Banco, Klaus Schulze, and others.
... none of the hits, none of the time ... you might actually find your own art, or self, and forego lousy heroes or Guru's!

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presdoug View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote presdoug Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 23 2013 at 11:47
^I have heard that Triumvirat were played on the FM radio with frequency for a while in the mid-seventies. They also appeared on ABC's In Concert, and Spartacus entered the top 40 albums listing in America.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Blacksword Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 23 2013 at 12:12
Originally posted by moshkito


Originally posted by Dean

Yes.
 

 

....next!

 
Profound!
 
Clap


Well, you can't argue with the album sales. Big sales and sell out concerts equates to popularity by any measure of success in the music industry. There's not much depth to the matter. People just liked prog in very large numbers.

Shame it had to change really...
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Post Options Post Options   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 23 2013 at 12:28
Originally posted by presdoug

^I have heard that Triumvirat were played on the FM radio with frequency for a while in the mid-seventies. They also appeared on ABC's In Concert, and Spartacus entered the top 40 albums listing in America.
 
Ktyd did in Santa Barbara, to the point where Guy decided to play something else! I think that Guy would even suggest (so would I, btw) that some of the folks played this mostly because Guy knew imports and they got a hold of Spartacus before Guy did ... Guy had played "Illusions on a Double Dimple" (sp.!) but by that time some of the folks in the station did not like Guy finding all the "new" bands and sounds! Heck, Guy should have gotten the credit for the "Average White Band" ... but never will ... you should have heard the fun promos he create for them making fun of impresarios in American Record Companies! They are funny ... and when hearing it 40 years later? ... 100 times funnier!


Edited by moshkito - April 23 2013 at 12:41
... none of the hits, none of the time ... you might actually find your own art, or self, and forego lousy heroes or Guru's!

www.pedrosena.com
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moshkito View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 23 2013 at 12:38
Originally posted by Blacksword

...
Well, you can't argue with the album sales. Big sales and sell out concerts equates to popularity by any measure of success in the music industry. There's not much depth to the matter. People just liked prog in very large numbers.

Shame it had to change really...
 
It didn't ... it's the same thing today as yesterday ... I still go around telling people to listen to something different and some folks reject it and some don't.
 
The only difference betwee today and yesterday, is I'm 50 lbs fatter, (!!!!!) and uglier, not to mention older!
 
Other than that, there are different venues today, just like yesterday, and the internet sales make up for the ability to not travel and see things in a different country that was not cheap then ... and hurt many bands. Sean Ahearn broke even on Gong in 1995, but he took in in the shorts in 1997 and then got Gong for free in 1999 in SF for the Festival, where he took a licking for at least 100k -- because Brand X, Porcupine Tree and the other "known" bands did not pull much of anything else at all!
 
Gong was also huge in the "import" business, btw ... but the appreciation for what they did has diminished a lot and is often dismissed as just drug crazed music, instead of the seriousness and quality that it deserves.
 
 
 
 


Edited by moshkito - April 23 2013 at 12:46
... none of the hits, none of the time ... you might actually find your own art, or self, and forego lousy heroes or Guru's!

www.pedrosena.com
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Prog_Traveller View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Prog_Traveller Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 23 2013 at 13:44
I'd say it was kind of like it is now. Right now SOME prog bands are popular. Back then SOME prog bands were popular. However, there were more bands that were popular back then and they were more popular. Also they were more likely to be recognized as PROG(JT, PF, Yes, ELP, Genesis, KC etc). Most of the bands breaking though today aren't necessarily recognized as PROG by the kiddies. Wink

You could ask this same question about any genre. Was punk ever popular? Was heavy metal ever popular. THe answer is some bands in those genres were but not all. The same thing with just about any music genre.

My official answer is yes to some degree it was. To some degree it still is. The 80's and 90's not so much. Smile


Edited by Prog_Traveller - April 23 2013 at 13:49
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Slartibartfast Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 23 2013 at 13:57
It's really funny whenever someone in the forums asks this question.  I was there, and yes it was. Big smile  Then punk allegedly came along and killed it when it was getting too self indulgent or whatever, total bullcrap.  I got on board around '78 and it was still going on strong.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Progosopher Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 23 2013 at 14:55
Yes indeedy, Prog was popular, but it was not the only style of music hitting high on the charts.  Some good information on this thread. Thumbs Up
The world of sound is certainly capable of infinite variety and, were our sense developed, of infinite extensions. -- George Santayana, "The Sense of Beauty"
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Atavachron Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 23 2013 at 16:31
Originally posted by HolyMoly

Originally posted by Atavachron

here's an article I wrote on the matter - .....

Great article!  thanks for sharing that.

Thank you for reading.


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Post Options Post Options   Quote aapatsos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 23 2013 at 16:42
Originally posted by lazland

Yes.

And, verily, it shall become so againWink
I can actually see this trend... world domination is happeningTongue
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Prog_Traveller Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 23 2013 at 17:49
Originally posted by Slartibartfast

It's really funny whenever someone in the forums asks this question.  I was there, and yes it was. Big smile  Then punk allegedly came along and killed it when it was getting too self indulgent or whatever, total bullcrap.  I got on board around '78 and it was still going on strong.



OK, just wondering what prog bands do you consider to have been popular in the late seventies who were playing prog in the late seventies? I can't wait to hear the answer. Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Atavachron Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 23 2013 at 18:32
 ^ I think his point is that in 1978 music was generally still open-ended, e.g. in prog you had, among other things, Heavy Horses, which both reached #19 on Billboard and was an album showing little signs of the recessive period of a few years later.


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Post Options Post Options   Quote Tony R Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 23 2013 at 19:07
Going For The One was advertised on TV in the UK. That tells you all you need to know.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote otto pankrock Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 23 2013 at 19:24
When I was growing up in the early '70s progressive rock or FM radio rock was what the big boys were listening to. AM music, single, hits etc. were for kids or people who just wanted background music.
Towards the end of the '70s prog. was still around but new music was coming out as well. Some bands like Yes were just running out of gas.
Myself? I started discovering some of the European bands and other British bands that radio just wasn't playing. Bands like Grobschnitt. I didn't discover Goblin until about 1983 or so.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote AreYouHuman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 23 2013 at 20:34
Another U.S. radio station that really prog-rocked listeners was WLAV in Grand Rapids. Two of their DJs, Aris Hampers and Doc Donovan, in the bygone days when DJs were allowed to program their shows, were especially active in exposing listeners to not only ELP, Yes Procol Harum, Moody Blues and Pink Floyd but also Gentle Giant, Greenslade, Triumvirat, Stackridge, Strawbs, Caravan, Camel, Fireballet, Renaissance, Esperanto, David Sancious, PFM…you get the idea. Genesis, of course, well before their big commercial success. They were playing Kansas from their first album on. Some other fairly high-profile acts, oddly, I never heard them play, like Soft Machine, VDGG, and Curved Air. But they were a huge force in irreversibly reshaping my musical tastes from 1974 on.

Edited by AreYouHuman - April 23 2013 at 23:59
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Stool Man Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 23 2013 at 21:38
On the UK Album Charts webpage you can see the top 40 for any week.  In the 1973 example I've linked to, which I randomly selected from that year, you can see Yessongs was at No 7 that week (not bad for a triple LP) as well as albums by Wishbone Ash at No 12, Pink Floyd at No 20, and Uriah Heep at No 23. 
Randomly choosing a week from 1971 to give a second example, we can see ELP at No 3, Yes at No 7, and Pink Floyd at No 14. 
 
You can of course search that site to look at any week of your choosing.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote The Dark Elf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 23 2013 at 22:10
In Detroit, we had three great rock stations: WABX , the first Detroit radical/progressive FM station in the 60s and 70s  with "Headphones Only" every night (Floyd, Kraftwerk, Traffic, Procol Harum, King Crimson, etc.), and everything else from Iggy and the Stooges to Savoy Brown to John McLaughlin; WRIF played album sides all night long (Yes, ELP, Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Sabbath, Floyd, Tull, Genesis, etc.);  and WWWW, known as "Quadzilla(the first quadrophonic station in the state), played the quad versions of War Child and Aqualung in their entirety, and also had "All Night Album Replay", where listeners called in requests for albums.

It was a great time to listen to radio.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote humor4u1959 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 23 2013 at 23:00
Yes, prog rock was very popular in the 1970's. However, it was limited to just a few bands as far as radio play goes. Tull, ELP, & Yes were probably the most played.

In terms of concert venues, those aforementioned bands sold out large arenas of 10,000+ people. However, I saw Genesis w/Peter Gabriel in 1974 at an auditorium that held only 4,500. But, they did sell it out. Venues of that size or smaller were the norm for Procol Harum and King Crimson as well. I don't see this as a failure as the acoustics in real theaters are superior to sports arenas anyway. Plus, you can see the band better too!

Lastly, (and I know I'll offend some with this comment) prog rock's death was inevitable because so much of it was pretentious and pompous. It also was often unnecessarily complex. Sometimes less IS actually more. Twenty minute songs with intricate play became obsolete to many. However, those old prog groups will always have a devout following, as they should. Just my opinion, mind you.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Garion81 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 23 2013 at 23:22
FM Radio was the catalyst  for the promotion of progressive rock of many varieties.  Record companies were bewildered of what people wanted to hear and signed a lot of groups in the late 60's that would never have been signed 10 years later.  The advent of FM formats from AM megawatt stations was clearly the way for companies to promote these bands. Unfortunately FM  could only reach a 50 mile radius at best so most of this music could only be heard in larger population centers which explains the fact in the US the Northeast, some big midwest cities  and large population centers on the West Coast were the places that progressive rock thrived. By about 1975-76 the record companies were creating format styles and radio stations followed suit.  Free format shows and DJ driven playlists became a thing of the past very quickly and gave way to more strict playlists and styles.  This alone had more to do with the decline of the older bands and the squelching of newer bands being signed and recorded which did exist in America. 

One other point is in 1976 and 1977 I saw Gentle Giant playing in 5000 seat arenas in LA,  Triumvirat on a bill with Jefferson Starship and  Fleetwood Mac in 1975 and PFM at a local college. I missed them but Genesis on the Lamb tour were playing 5000 seat places as well.  Yes not the success as the big names but still not bad.  I think in certain areas this was pretty popular music from 1966 through 1977.   


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Post Options Post Options   Quote richardh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 24 2013 at 01:18
Originally posted by Slartibartfast

It's really funny whenever someone in the forums asks this question.  I was there, and yes it was. Big smile  Then punk allegedly came along and killed it when it was getting too self indulgent or whatever, total bullcrap.  I got on board around '78 and it was still going on strong.

In the UK it was on the wain from about 1978 onwards. America was always a bit different in this regards and was more prepared to accept a more commercial FM radio version of prog.
Europe on the other hand was perhaps a bit more discerning. Rush became massive in the late seventies and pretty much stuck out like a sore thumb in the British charts. I remember Hemispheres appearing in the top ten and Radio One playing Trees. Seemed werdly out of place and Rush continued to be weirdly out of place. Of course the likes of Mike Oldfield and Pink Floyd were big enough to ride out the punk storm but the prog scene in general took a noticeable nose dive in the UK during that period.
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