A Progressive Rock Sub-genre

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Proto-Prog definition

The denomination Proto Prog comes from the combination of two words, Proto from the Greek The earliest,. and Prog which as we know is a short term for Progressive Rock, so as it's name clearly indicates, refers to the earliest form of Progressive Rock or Progressive Rock in embryonary state.

These bands normally were formed and released albums before Progressive Rock had completely developed (there are some rare Proto Prog bands from the early 70's, because the genre didn't expanded to all the Continents simultaneously

The common elements in all these bands is that they developed one or more elements of Prog, and even when not completely defined as part of the genre, they are without any doubt, an important stage in the evolution of Progressive Rock.

Generally, Proto Prog bands are the direct link between Psyche and Prog and for that reason the Psychedelic components are present in the vast majority of them, but being that Progressive Rock was born from the blending of different genres, we have broadened the definition to cover any band that combined some elements of Progressive Rock with other genres prior to 1970.

Some of these bands evolved and turned into 100% Prog, while others simply choose another path, but their importance and contribution in the formative period of Prog can't be denied, for that reason no Prog site can ignore them.

IvŠn Melgar - Morey

Proto-Prog Top Albums

Showing only studios | Based on members ratings & PA algorithm* | Show Top 100 Proto-Prog | More Top Prog lists and filters

4.49 | 728 ratings
Beatles, The
4.48 | 426 ratings
Who, The
4.37 | 661 ratings
Beatles, The
4.30 | 893 ratings
Deep Purple
4.32 | 755 ratings
Beatles, The
4.28 | 899 ratings
Deep Purple
4.37 | 411 ratings
Who, The
4.29 | 479 ratings
Doors, The
4.15 | 572 ratings
Beatles, The
4.21 | 362 ratings
Doors, The
4.24 | 315 ratings
Hendrix, Jimi
4.12 | 517 ratings
Beatles, The
4.00 | 385 ratings
Who, The
3.96 | 331 ratings
Doors, The
3.88 | 498 ratings
Beatles, The
3.93 | 267 ratings
Hendrix, Jimi
3.81 | 596 ratings
Deep Purple
4.12 | 129 ratings
3.93 | 222 ratings
Deep Purple
4.07 | 138 ratings
Brown Band, The Arthur

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Latest Proto-Prog Music Reviews

 Live At Leeds by WHO, THE album cover Live, 1970
4.03 | 105 ratings

Live At Leeds
The Who Proto-Prog

Review by ster

5 stars I am really glad to see The Who include on PA. Due to my own personal definition of prog rock, bands like The Who, Led Zep, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath (among others) deserve to be considered prog since at the time of the their formation, rock music was progressing because of what these bands were producing. Tons of original ideas with players to back it up. One of my all favorite bands, The Who never stopped experimenting and constantly pushed the envelope of rock music.

Live At Leeds, The deluxe edition, is the only Who album you need if you are only going to own one. This one sports an incredible sound from such an early live record. Raw but loud and clear. It also shows how incredibly daring they were going off into improvisations on some tunes and how incredible John Entwistle and Keith Moon were as a furious and dynamic rhythm section. Also Pete Townsend seemed to never run out of ideas and he proves on this record that nobody did and ever will rock harder. Roger Daltrey needs no introduction as the greatest rock belter of all time.

Ever song on this record sounds MUCH better than their original counterparts. Just check out A Quick One While He's Away, Tattoo, My Generation for proof.

I wouldn't call this a prog-rock masterpiece in the "traditional" sense. But there is no way in hell I will ever give this record any less than 5 stars on any forum.

Now go get it, crank it up. You'll thank me later.

 Let's See Action / When I Was A Boy by WHO, THE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1971
3.05 | 5 ratings

Let's See Action / When I Was A Boy
The Who Proto-Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

3 stars "Let`s See Action" (composed by Pete Townshend) was one of the songs that he originally composed for THE WHO`s unfinished "Lifehouse" project, which originally was another "Rock Opera" that he was trying to compose and to record with the band. But the concept of that project became very complicated to be done. So, in the end, the band released their very good and popular "Who`s Next" album in 1971 instead, with some songs from that "Lifehouse" project. Other songs were released as A- sides in three singles between 1971 and 1972 ("Let`s See Action", in 1971, and "Join Together" and "Relay" in 1972), and others were finally released as bonus tracks in the "Who`s Next" re-mixed and remastered CD and in the "De-Luxe" edition from that album. Townshend also released an extended version of "Let`s See Action" in his "Who Came First" solo album from 1972. "Let`s See Action" is a Rock and Roll / Blues song with good arrangements and with a very good piano part played by Nicky Hopkins.

"When I Was a Boy" is a song composed by John Entwistle with very good lyrics about how life changes while growing up from childhood to adulthood. It was sung by him, with him also playing a very good horns arrangement in a very "baroque" style. I don`t know why this song was relegated to the B-side of a single because it is very good. It has been also released in some rarities and B-sides compilations from THE WHO

 In Rock by DEEP PURPLE album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.30 | 893 ratings

In Rock
Deep Purple Proto-Prog

Review by Losimba

4 stars Ok, my first review here, and while it's not one of my all time favourite albums it contains one of my all time top 5 songs. This album was published a few months before I was born, so it was already quite old when I first listened in (I must have been around 16 or 17 then) and immediately bought it, of course on vinyl then.

And what a start Speed King offers. Easily one of the fastest songs Deep Purple ever recorded, it drives on for 6 minutes, including a classic of a guitar solo by Ritchie Blackmore. Track 2 is Bloodsucker, a fine contrast in its heaviness.  But the highlight of the album is Child In Time, 10 minutes and 17 seconds of intensity, vibration and variety. Starting innocently with this wonderfully simple bass lick and organ motif, the first part is one single crescendo culminating in Ian Gillan's famous screaming. The following solo section is similar, the first minute or so comes rather bluesy before the whole thing accelerates and finally ends with a strong chord. One might think that this is already the end of the song, but no, it's back to the beginning with just some variations in the organ parts, and of course the screaming part is not followed by another solo but a rather dramatic winddown ending the song with something like a big crash.

Side two begins with Flight Of The Rat, which is one of the reasons the album didn't get all time favourite status and 5 stars. Yes, it is another powerful song, but I never was able to get a really distinct impression. This is different with the next song, Into The Fire. Though it's the shortest and probably least "progressive" song on the album, the riff and chorus are something I find myself whistling now and then. Living Wreck is the second less distinct song on this album, before it closes down with Hard Lovin' Man, another rather long track which I rate somewhere between the good and the less good songs, but closer to the good ones. While energy and the chorus are firmly in my ears, most of the other parts of the song are put back into the back drawers of my memory recall about 2 songs later.

I don't own the remaster, but the Black Night single, and I'm quite disappointed with it. While the core of the song is quite good, this version will never be equal to the live versions on Made in Japan or Nobody's Perfect with their beautiful bass intros. So it's gonna be 4 stars, maybe 4.5 because Child In Time is a 6 stars song.

 The Doors by DOORS, THE album cover Studio Album, 1967
4.29 | 479 ratings

The Doors
The Doors Proto-Prog

Review by aglasshouse

2 stars This album retains the quality of a Rube Goldberg machine, and one that you don't know what it's going to do until you see it.

The Doors, headed by Jim Morrison, came about in the same year of another well known psychedelic band (Pink Floyd), 1967. And in a way, these two bands retain similar qualities. But when it comes to which band I like more, I'd easily say the Floyd. Where PF discovered the boundries of their acid-contributed performance in a structural manner, The Doors rather doodled about until they got a winner. That wouldn't be bad in most circumstances, except when you have the doodles as their own track, posing as good songs. For instance, I always thought that 'Twentieth Century Fox' seemed like a lackluster carbon-copy of 'Soul Kitchen' because of them having the exact same beat, incredibly similar composition, and among other things. Before I get too far into my dislike, let's break down the tracks.

'Break on Through (To The Other Side)' is the song that every one knows. For good reason I suppose; it's extremely catchy, has some great instrumentals from Manzarek and Krieger, as well as some really strong vocals from Morrison. It's definitely a great opening, but then the album goes pretty downhill. 'Soul Kitchen' is not bad, but it's nothing compared to the first track. A really cool track that I especially like is the gypsy-like 'Whisky Bar'. It's extremely unique in the case of both The Doors and even other bands. 'The End' is an amazing album finisher, perhaps a little too long, but I suppose it's worth it.

That's where we hit a wall, however. The album's other tracks are extremely lackluster, and have boring elements. They sound more like demos than they would significant tracks. So, if I were to judge this next to other bands of it's time, this is lower on the totem pole. Not very spectacular, and I wouldn't recommend it. I prefer Strange Days over this, so go check that out.

I do not recommend this album.

 Love Songs by BEATLES, THE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1977
3.85 | 18 ratings

Love Songs
The Beatles Proto-Prog

Review by thwok

4 stars If this album was released on CD at a reasonable price (not the absurd, almost $20 you have to pay these days), I would snatch it up in a minute. It contains many of my favorite Beatles songs, scattered throughout the band's original albums. The fact that this album does span the band's less-than 10 year recording career is one of its selling points. I think the inclusion of "I Will", a great song that I didn't even know existed until Alison Krauss' brilliant cover version, alone earns this album an extra star.

We all know the music, so discussing individual songs is mostly unnecessary. I think the deciding factor in rating Love Songs is the choice of songs. I don't own all of The Beatles' original albums, and I wouldn't want to. So, I think this is a great gathering of their songs in one place. The only suggestion (it's not exactly a complaint) I would make for Love Songs is to include more music. "Hey Jude", for instance, would fit here with a lot of breathing room left over.

 Let It Be by BEATLES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.24 | 398 ratings

Let It Be
The Beatles Proto-Prog

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The Beatles - Let it be (1970)

The Let is Be album is a record made of pre-recorded material that was to be recorded for a live audiance. An album of new songs recorded live, a great idea - but it never happened. Calling these recordings demo's doesn't do them must justice, but the other late Beatles albums are recorded significantly more professional. The Beatles had enjoyed the best popmusic productions since 1966 and the band used the studio as an instrument. Because of them being unable to perform for regular audiances the necessity of being able to fully reproduce songs live had been removed from the artistic proces. The recordings of the Let it Be sessions where passed on to Phil Spector who gave some songs orchestral arrangements - the subject of many discussions still today.

This is actually one of my favorite Beatles records, simply because the band sound like a band playing music. The music lives, is in the moment, sharp and exciting. On this record the talent of the Beatles really shines threw, both as songwriters 'nd as performers. The album has both art rock songs and eclectic pop tracks, but I like all songs on this album.

Conclusion. Let is Be is the Beatles album in which they once again sounded like a band. I love it. Four stars.

 Tomorrow Never Knows by BEATLES, THE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2012
2.36 | 5 ratings

Tomorrow Never Knows
The Beatles Proto-Prog

Review by thwok

2 stars This was originally available only on iTunes as a limited edition. There were 1000 copies made in 2012. There are now 2 listings on ebay for $700 and $950! The folks at iTunes went through a lot of trouble to make this LP look "vintage". There are 4 other ratings of this on Prog Archives, and they all rated it highly. I sincerely hope that the other reviewers didn't pay nearly that much for this album. My issue here is not with the music, even though some of these songs are not the Beatles' best. We all know the Beatles were brilliant.

This compilation is simply unnecessary. If you wanted these songs on LP, even the two "alternative versions", I'm confident you could buy all the original records on the 'net a whole lot cheaper! Since this is the Beatles, and my fellow reviewers clearly liked it, I'll grant this two stars. There are a 100 better compilations than this one.

 Parts by BRAINBOX album cover Studio Album, 1972
2.16 | 6 ratings

Brainbox Proto-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

2 stars Late-60's Dutch band, the history of which is more interesting than its links to Prog Rock.Polish singer/guitarist Kazimierz Lux, winner of a talent scouting competition, asked guitarist Jan Akkerman and drummer Pierre van der Linden to form a group, after playing together in a studio, gathered by the Bovema label for the sessions of an upcoming Lux demo.They were joined by bassist Andre Reynen and released a nice little Heavy/Blues Rock album in 1969.Soon Akkerman was forced to leave the band, after jamming with one Thijs van Leer.The two formed Focus and Akkerman brought van der Linden along.Conflicts with the manager and several line-up changes led to a complete lifting around 1971, when Lux and Reynen left Brainbox, dissapointed by the situation.The new formation now was Robert Verwey on bass, organ, piano, ex-Ekseption Michel Van Dijk on vocals, flute, Ron Meyjes on guitar, harmonica and Frans Smit on drums.Second Brainbox album comes in 1972 on Harvest under the name ''Parts''.

Some sort of early Renaissance case with no original members found in the line-up, the new-born Brainbox recorded the most progressive of the two Brainbox releases, not because of its complexity or groundbreaking sound, but mainly due to the mass of diverse paths explored by the new musicians.But here come also the first clouds with the sound leading actually to nowhere despite the decent compositions, too many flexible twists are present here and the several line-up shakes led eventually to a confusing sound.The opening side sounds a bit more consistent, having always a Psychedelic Rock basis and breaking occasionally into the territories of Blues, Folk and Pop, reminding a bit of premature YES with all these electroacoustic lines, light organ and multiple vocal moments, the songwriting is cool, but the material is far from compelling.Then comes the chaos of the flipside, which is a bit more intricate progressively speaking, but fails to deliver a trully adventurous sound.Opening with Verwey's interesting piano work with jazzy and Classical leanings, passing through a monstrous Heavy/Psych Rock style with Proto-Metal touches and a combination of furious guitars with harmonica and then giving space to an organ-driven Psych Rock, fading in the sake of Frans Smit's long and needless drum solo.''When I was poor'' is a lovely closing effort with again some early YES vibes in the guitar parts and excellent, melodic vocals and solos, fine piece, but not great enough to save the day.

Brainbox disbanded not long enough after the album was released with Michel van Dijk joining Alquin.Lux followed a personal career from 1971 and on and teamed up again with Akkerman for a couple of albums from mid- to late-70's.Brainbox reunited in early-80s with Lux, Reynen and van der Linden all on board for some lives and folded again in 1984.Another attempt was launched in 2003 by Lux and van Der Linden, releasing a live work, and this formation lasted for a couple of years as well.

''Parts'' should be seen as a document of a historical band, which comprised of some of the best Dutch Prog Rock musicians at its early days, but fails to be awarded as a serious attempt on Prog Rock.This is flat, melodic Psych Rock with proggy and heavy springles, well-played, but far from extraordinary...2.5 stars.

 The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl by BEATLES, THE album cover Live, 1977
2.88 | 30 ratings

The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl
The Beatles Proto-Prog

Review by Lear'sFool

2 stars Good actual Lord. Here's a story for the ages. Right at the height of The Beatles' original zeitgeist, when they still played live to fans who wouldn't let anyone actually listen to the music, their record companies tried their darnedest to get a high quality taping of a live performance to ply to eager fans. Unfortunately for their plans, none of their recordings turned out in anywhere near decent quality, when venues and guilds even let them record. Back then, they had the good sense not to drop any of this on the world. But in the Seventies, with Beatlemania II still raging, a different company managed to kick out an even poorer recording of one of the old Hamburg shows. This led a panicked EMI to force George Martin to try and salvage two bad recordings of Hollywood Bowl shows, a year apart, into something they could sell to make up lost ground. And... well, he couldn't really salvage it. SQ remains in the dumps, and there's nothing here for lo-fi to make better. The fans are way too loud and annoying. The haphazard stitching together of the two shows results in both "A Hard Day's Night" and "Help!" being the newest Beatles album. It's great to have another version of their cover of "Roll Over Beethoven", but this is worth very little. *sigh* We did need a good Beatles live record, but this wasn't it. Definitely a collectible for fans, but this comes out more like a Dada art project meant to critique the culture of pop music than anything else.
 The United States Of America  by UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, THE album cover Studio Album, 1968
4.16 | 47 ratings

The United States Of America
The United States Of America Proto-Prog

Review by Lear'sFool

4 stars Joe Byrd fell in love with oscillators about the time Silver Apples was busy cutting their self titled, and put a band together to explore the possibilities that they could open up. Mainly, he wanted to see what various instruments and voices would sound like having been sent through an oscillator, though he also experimented with making new sounds with them. Working within a highly psychedelic and progressive context, the band cut their own self titled, a wonderful part of the early prog and early electronic canons. The opener "American Metaphysical Circus" shows off Byrd's vision at its fullest and best: various tunes are sampled, to lead into a surreal main song with Moskowitz's vocals oscillated to an alien degree. Electronic sounds come in and out, and some quiet drums lead to way. Going on, the band plays some psych prog with the continued use of oscillators for sounds and effects. The band plays well, and the oscillators are put to good use. This isn't to the standards set by the opener, but it still is a unique and fine sound. In particular Moskowitz's singing remains top notch through the whole record. In the end, this is a one of a kind piece of experimental history, more than worth a listen even with its drawbacks.
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Proto-Prog bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
ANDROMEDA United Kingdom
APPALOOSA United States
BAKERLOO United Kingdom
THE BEATLES United Kingdom
BRAINBOX Netherlands
COVEN United States
DEEP PURPLE United Kingdom
THE DOORS United States
EARTH OPERA United States
FLAMING YOUTH United Kingdom
GATTCH Slovakia
GILES GILES & FRIPP United Kingdom
THE GODS United Kingdom
H.P. LOVECRAFT United States
JIMI HENDRIX United States
THE MOVE United Kingdom
NIRVANA United Kingdom
QUIET WORLD United Kingdom
SALAMANDER United Kingdom
SPIRIT United States
SPOOKY TOOTH United Kingdom
SWEETWATER United States
TOMORROW United Kingdom
TOUCH United States
THE WHO United Kingdom

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