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Earliest ProtoProg Beatles Song?

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Dean View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 26 2014 at 13:37
Originally posted by Stool Man Stool Man wrote:

Earliest? 
 
To quote from their wiki page:
"In mid-October 1965, the Beatles entered the recording studio; for the first time in making an album, they had an extended period without other major commitments.Released in December, Rubber Soul has been hailed by critics as a major step forward in the maturity and complexity of the band's music.Their thematic reach was beginning to expand as they embraced deeper aspects of romance and philosophy.Biographers Peter Brown and Steven Gaines attribute the new musical direction to "the Beatles' now habitual use of marijuana", an assertion confirmed by the band—Lennon referred to it as "the pot album", and Starr said, "Grass was really influential in a lot of our changes, especially with the writers. And because they were writing different material, we were playing differently."  After Help!'s foray into the world of classical music with flutes and strings, Harrison's introduction of a sitar on "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)" marked a further progression outside the traditional boundaries of popular music. As their lyrics grew more artful, fans began to study them for deeper meaning. "
 
"We Can Work It Out" (also recorded in October 1965) keeps changing tempo and has a waltz in the middle.
 
So in October '65 they were heading in progesque direction (increased complexity, artful lyrics, expanding themes, sitar, and pot)
"Tomorrow Never Knows" wasn't recorded until six months later.
It's not just the sitar on Norwegian Wood that singles it out as being proto-prog, its tune is in a pentatonic mode that obeys the rules of Indian raga. 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Stool Man Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 26 2014 at 13:47
There ya go then
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Earendil Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 01 2014 at 20:28
Originally posted by Horizons Horizons wrote:

Tomorrow Never Knows. 


is one of the greatest rock songs ever recorded.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kati Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 01 2014 at 23:39
I am still not sure what proto-prog means in terms of The Beatles but I am guessing it's their earliest music ground-breaking songs, here in this case I think "Fool on the Hill" might be one   
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Dark Elf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 02 2014 at 07:58
Originally posted by Kati Kati wrote:

I am still not sure what proto-prog means in terms of The Beatles but I am guessing it's their earliest music ground-breaking songs, here in this case I think "Fool on the Hill" might be one   

Listen for proto-prog elements in Eleanor Rigby (Oct. 1966), a complete departure from standard rock in that there are absolutely none of the elements one might find in a rock song of the period (no guitar, bass, drum or keys). Instead, Paul McCartney and George Martin (who scored Paul's song) used a classical ensemble, in this case an octet made up of  4 violins, 2 violas and 2 cellos. The score was definitely influenced by Bernard Herrmannn and to a lesser extent Vivaldi. 

This is not what rock and roll fans were used to or expecting in 1966 (not to mention the utter despair and desolation of the lyrics):



 


Edited by The Dark Elf - March 02 2014 at 08:01
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dr wu23 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 02 2014 at 11:19
Love those Beatles tracks that were ahead of their time regarding style and studio technique but...is it 'proto prog'..?
As some have pointed out in the past  (including the infamous Mr Knobby) proto prog was a genre style  and classification that encompassed an organ and early prog format to categorize some early bands and  not just use of different instruments and orchestration.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 02 2014 at 11:57
Knobby was, and probably still is, wrong.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dr wu23 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 02 2014 at 12:54
Originally posted by Dean Dean wrote:

Knobby was, and probably still is, wrong.
Perhaps.....perhaps not , but for me those Beatles tracks aren't what I consider proto prog but as always it's a matter of opinion on what is and isn't prog.
Being the PA expert , what is your opinion on what was meant by proto prog when the term was first used?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Dark Elf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 02 2014 at 13:26
Originally posted by Dean Dean wrote:

Knobby was, and probably still is, wrong.

I tend to agree. The terms "prog" and "proto-prog" were used as terms after-the-fact , and not by some enlightened wholesaler sorting album bins: ex post facto rather than ipso facto.

Originally posted by </span>dr wu23<span style=color: rgb0, 0, 0; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 1.2;> dr wu23 wrote:

Perhaps.....perhaps not , but for me those Beatles tracks aren't what I consider proto prog but as always it's a matter of opinion on what is and isn't prog.
Being the PA expert , what is your opinion on what was meant by proto prog when the term was first used?

Allegedly, "progressive rock" was first used by Lester Bangs or some other rock critic at the end of the 60s, who borrowed the term from the "progressive jazz" of the 50s, denoting a stylization (some would say over-elaboration) of earlier American "rock and roll", synthesizing elements of jazz, folk and European classicism. Prog is the rococo of rock. Wink 

At least, that's what I gleaned from Music in the Late Twentieth Century: The Oxford History of Western Music and Progressive Rock Reconsidered (edited by Kevin Holm-Hudson). Personally, I don't remember hearing the term until much later in the U.S., possibly early/mid-70s? But I didn't have a spiffy Internet site to argue the point back then, and I was much too stoned to argue specifics had I the chance. In any case, the term "proto-prog" had to come much later, as the term "prog" was not a household word in the 70s.

But strictly by definition, The Beatles would be considered proto-prog for their many instances of drawing from classical music, Indian music and avant-garde elements, many of which were cutting edge for rock in the mid-60s.



Edited by The Dark Elf - March 02 2014 at 13:34
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 02 2014 at 18:29
Originally posted by dr wu23 dr wu23 wrote:

Originally posted by Dean Dean wrote:

Knobby was, and probably still is, wrong.
Perhaps.....perhaps not , but for me those Beatles tracks aren't what I consider proto prog but as always it's a matter of opinion on what is and isn't prog.
Being the PA expert , what is your opinion on what was meant by proto prog when the term was first used?
As Mr Elf has pointed out, proto-prog is an after-the-event term and, along with all other popular music terms, has no formal definition. 

My argument against Mr Wally "Knobby" Wallace Bunbury is simple - if "proto" anything is a genre style then that style would have been identifiable as a distinct genre-style at the time, not thirty or forty years later, and it would have been given a musicological genre/style name at the time and not thirty or forty years later. But no such genre-style existed in the mid-sixties. We only identify certain "sounds" from that era as being "proto" anything because we retrospectively go looking for it based upon what we understand the sound of emergent style to be. The argument, "Oh, Prog Rock has organ, therefore all Proto-Prog must have organ" is a thin argument. Also, Wally's definition is a very modern creation invented by traders at vinyl record fairs - it's much easier to unload an unwanted pile of obscure organ-based psych rock albums if you can slap a Proto-Prog sticker on them¹. None of those albums are Proto-Prog by PA's usage of the term, they're just Psych Rock albums.

Since here at the PA we have to put an introduction on each genre page by way of an informative description, that tends to be an informal definition of each subgenre, though they are not accurate formal musicological definitions. Here we do not regard Proto Prog as a genre style so do not give a description of the style of music in the Proto Prog category. With Proto Prog we were not looking for a style, not are we looking for the inventors or instigators of Progressive Rock, we are looking for the bands that were influential on the formative years of the genre's musical styling. So here we look to broader musical styles over a narrower time interval than those vinyl traders. Also, nor are we looking to list every rock band that played the same styles of music as those bands that were a formative influence on the emerging genre. So, if it is obscure or was only heard by twenty people in Hicksville, AZ, then it could not have been of influence and it is not Proto Prog by our usage of the term.

Other websites can have other definitions and other usages, that's not our concern because it is not a genre/style of music.


¹ vinyl junkies are like jazz album collectors - the more obscure the album the more they'll pay for it.



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 02 2014 at 18:35
Originally posted by The Dark Elf The Dark Elf wrote:

 

Allegedly, "progressive rock" was first used by Lester Bangs or some other rock critic at the end of the 60s, who borrowed the term from the "progressive jazz" of the 50s, denoting a stylization (some would say over-elaboration) of earlier American "rock and roll", synthesizing elements of jazz, folk and European classicism. Prog is the rococo of rock. Wink 

At least, that's what I gleaned from Music in the Late Twentieth Century: The Oxford History of Western Music and Progressive Rock Reconsidered (edited by Kevin Holm-Hudson). Personally, I don't remember hearing the term until much later in the U.S., possibly early/mid-70s? But I didn't have a spiffy Internet site to argue the point back then, and I was much too stoned to argue specifics had I the chance. In any case, the term "proto-prog" had to come much later, as the term "prog" was not a household word in the 70s.
Since Progressive Rock emerged first in the UK then Lester Bangs would be very low on my list of people who may have first coined the term.

In the later half of the 60s in the UK, (where this damn music genre was first invented after all), the term Progressive Music came first, based upon (as you say) the phrase Progressive Jazz from there it was contracted to simply "Progressive" and could mean Progressive Jazz, Blues or Rock. At this stage the word "Progressive" could be used both as an adverb to describe the music and a noun to name it. So bands like Crimson and Floyd were simply called Progressive bands because they played Progressive music. (At that time there were even bands who were tagged as Progressive Blues). Towards the end of the 60s/early 70s when more rock bands emerged playing this Progressive Music the term Progressive Rock was applied to them. While not reaching as far as the USA, this was certainly in common usage in London and the home counties at the beginning of the 1970s. [The phrase "Art Rock" meant something else, possibly being a contraction of "Art School Rock" rather than an adaptation of "Art Music", in the UK this was never synonymous with Progressive Rock like it was in the USA].
 



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Dark Elf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 02 2014 at 19:23
Originally posted by Dean Dean wrote:

Originally posted by The Dark Elf The Dark Elf wrote:

 

Allegedly, "progressive rock" was first used by Lester Bangs or some other rock critic at the end of the 60s, who borrowed the term from the "progressive jazz" of the 50s, denoting a stylization (some would say over-elaboration) of earlier American "rock and roll", synthesizing elements of jazz, folk and European classicism. Prog is the rococo of rock. Wink 

At least, that's what I gleaned from Music in the Late Twentieth Century: The Oxford History of Western Music and Progressive Rock Reconsidered (edited by Kevin Holm-Hudson). Personally, I don't remember hearing the term until much later in the U.S., possibly early/mid-70s? But I didn't have a spiffy Internet site to argue the point back then, and I was much too stoned to argue specifics had I the chance. In any case, the term "proto-prog" had to come much later, as the term "prog" was not a household word in the 70s.
Since Progressive Rock emerged first in the UK then Lester Bangs would be very low on my list of people who may have first coined the term.

In the later half of the 60s in the UK, (where this damn music genre was first invented after all), the term Progressive Music came first, based upon (as you say) the phrase Progressive Jazz from there it was contracted to simply "Progressive" and could mean Progressive Jazz, Blues or Rock. At this stage the word "Progressive" could be used both as an adverb to describe the music and a noun to name it. So bands like Crimson and Floyd were simply called Progressive bands because they played Progressive music. (At that time there were even bands who were tagged as Progressive Blues). Towards the end of the 60s/early 70s when more rock bands emerged playing this Progressive Music the term Progressive Rock was applied to them. While not reaching as far as the USA, this was certainly in common usage in London and the home counties at the beginning of the 1970s. [The phrase "Art Rock" meant something else, possibly being a contraction of "Art School Rock" rather than an adaptation of "Art Music", in the UK this was never synonymous with Progressive Rock like it was in the USA].

Hence I used the word "allegedly" in reference to Lester (who was particularly merciless with bands like ELP). The book I referred to, Progressive Rock Reconsidered (not a bad book, but not complete and more for acadamecians, perhaps) said the following:

Quote Indeed, progressive rock, as the term was first used in the late 1960s, had an even broader meaning than it does today. The phrase was first used by critics such as Lester Bangs to collectively describe a number of the emerging styles in the late 1960s, from the 'jazz-rock' of Blood, Sweat and Tears to the Southern rock of the Allman Brothers Band.

Not completely in context and there was no citation to support the claim about Bangs, so I gladly defer to our friend across the pool.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote brainstormer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 02 2014 at 20:09
Originally posted by dr wu23 dr wu23 wrote:

Originally posted by Dean Dean wrote:

Knobby was, and probably still is, wrong.
Perhaps.....perhaps not , but for me those Beatles tracks aren't what I consider proto prog but as always it's a matter of opinion on what is and isn't prog.
Being the PA expert , what is your opinion on what was meant by proto prog when the term was first used?

I don't think one can take a word that has a common definition in the study of all the arts
and completely re-invent it for a genre. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Svetonio Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 02 2014 at 21:14
Originally posted by dr wu23 dr wu23 wrote:

Talking about proto prog there is a proto prog thread here;....your favorite proto prog album and the Beatles were mentioned several times on the thread.
 
I  never really thought of the Beatles as doing any 'proto prog', since it did refer to a specific type of style and sound as many have already mentioned,  but they certainly used psychedelic rock with many new approaches to recording and sound effects as in orchestration , etc. But then Tomorrow never Knows, Strawberry Fields , and I Am The Walrus could certainly fit into one's definition of proto prog.
 

I agreed. Imo The Beatles never was proto-prog. Proto-prog were heavy, greasy and Hammond organ driven sound of early Deep Purple, Rare Bird, Iron Butterfly and so on. Imo The Beatles was Pop, Rock, Psychedelic Rock and  the first  Progressive Rock band ever, but regarding Strawberry Fileds / Penny Lane the single only. However, due to the fact that Strawberry Fields  / Penny Lane is just a single which was released in 1967 - it's a two years before ITCOCK the album - one could say that  Strawbery Fields Forever / Penny Lane is a proto prog single as same as one could say that Steve Miller Band's Children of the Future and (or) Spirit's debut is proto-prog for the same reason as well; both albums were released in 1968 and that's a year before ITCOCK the album which is widely accepted as the corner stone of Progressive Rock; that theory is also valid in its own way as more or less a common opinion at present day as well. History is always changing according to one's needs, and certainly those who write on the progressive rock genre - wanting to bring more substance created by themselves - did not match that simple and logical fact that the proto prog is a term coined by vinyl dealers just to mark that Hammond organ driven sound on their lists - not a genre, just a sound.






Edited by Svetonio - March 03 2014 at 04:30
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote earlyprog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 03 2014 at 05:10
^Svetonio, I have read your post several times and continue to understand only a minute fraction of it. (Perhaps you should stick to the "Svetonio's suggesting new bands" forum Wink). Please help me:

For instance, what theory are you referring to when you say " that theory is also valid in..."?

And the Beatles were never proto prog but progressive rock?! when did they become progressive rock? 


Edited by earlyprog - March 03 2014 at 05:14
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Svetonio Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 03 2014 at 05:59
Originally posted by earlyprog earlyprog wrote:

^Svetonio, I have read your post several times and continue to understand only a minute fraction of it. (Perhaps you should stick to the "Svetonio's suggesting new bands" forum Wink). Please help me:

For instance, what theory are you referring to when you say " that theory is also valid in..."?

And the Beatles were never proto prog but progressive rock?! when did they become progressive rock? 
You didn't understood what I said? Oh, your English is worst than mine (just kidding, of course).

1) There's a main theory that the Progressive Rock was started with ITCOCK the album; ITCOCK the album as a corner stone for Progressive Rock.
2) The Beatles become prog with Strawberry Fields Forever along with Penny Lane at the same single; before that single, the Beatles were recorded psychedelic songs. As you can hear, the Beatles'  "proto-prog" (original 1967) version is more proggy than Gabriel's cover which was recorded ( i think ) in 1976 for a movie soundtrack. the Beatles were recorded some proggy songs later, but imo & although I love them, there's not their song which is proggier than Strawberry Fields Forever. 




The Beatles never were sounded proto prog.

This is proto prog sound




Edited by Svetonio - March 03 2014 at 10:52
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote earlyprog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 03 2014 at 07:34
Oh, what you probably mean is that otCotCk started progressive rock as an album genre? I tend to agree although there are other albums that can be argued as being "full-album prog" before that one. One can say that itCotCk was the conceptualization of album long prog. It was soon followed by other prog albums and the development of prog was in full action.

Before the prog album, prog on a song basis was developed starting with an ideation process that the Beatles among others contributed to. Strawberry Fields Forever is a great example of how this evolution took place first through segments of songs being prog (-ish). Hence, that song is (at most) proto-prog but not prog. (If it was prog, what genre then?)

But not proto-prog by your definition of the term: organ-driven rock. You can define it as you like, but it seems unlikely that bands like the Animals will be included in what PA 'defines' as proto prog. The term fits perfectly in PA terminology irrespective of how you and others reinvent the term. Record dealers' usage of the term - as claimed by you - is interesting although remains undocumented as far as I know (not that it will affect the number and quality of proto prog artists on our site). 

Notwithstanding this, '64's and '65's organ driven R&B sheds some important light on proto-prog (PA definition). 


Edited by earlyprog - March 03 2014 at 07:38
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dr wu23 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 03 2014 at 08:25
Originally posted by brainstormer brainstormer wrote:

Originally posted by dr wu23 dr wu23 wrote:

Originally posted by Dean Dean wrote:

Knobby was, and probably still is, wrong.
Perhaps.....perhaps not , but for me those Beatles tracks aren't what I consider proto prog but as always it's a matter of opinion on what is and isn't prog.
Being the PA expert , what is your opinion on what was meant by proto prog when the term was first used?

I don't think one can take a word that has a common definition in the study of all the arts
and completely re-invent it for a genre. 
What's the 'common' definition and who is re-inventing it?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote brainstormer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 03 2014 at 11:16
See my comments above.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BaldFriede Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 03 2014 at 12:03
I think even songs like "Girl", "Nowhere Man" and "Michelle" have slight prog qualities due to their melodic lines and their harmonics which go beyond the standards of the average pop song of those days. It may not be much, but it shows the direction they were going 

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