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PROTO-PROG

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.

Iván 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 | 675 ratings
ABBEY ROAD
Beatles, The
4.54 | 397 ratings
QUADROPHENIA
Who, The
4.37 | 621 ratings
REVOLVER
Beatles, The
4.32 | 707 ratings
SGT. PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND
Beatles, The
4.29 | 811 ratings
IN ROCK
Deep Purple
4.28 | 817 ratings
MACHINE HEAD
Deep Purple
4.38 | 385 ratings
WHO'S NEXT
Who, The
4.30 | 454 ratings
THE DOORS
Doors, The
4.15 | 531 ratings
THE BEATLES
Beatles, The
4.20 | 344 ratings
STRANGE DAYS
Doors, The
4.13 | 485 ratings
MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR (US VERSION)
Beatles, The
4.22 | 293 ratings
ARE YOU EXPERIENCED
Hendrix, Jimi
4.06 | 351 ratings
TOMMY
Who, The
3.95 | 313 ratings
L.A. WOMAN
Doors, The
3.87 | 465 ratings
RUBBER SOUL
Beatles, The
4.18 | 119 ratings
TWELVE DREAMS OF DR. SARDONICUS
Spirit
3.92 | 244 ratings
ELECTRIC LADYLAND
Hendrix, Jimi
3.99 | 184 ratings
NOW WHAT?!
Deep Purple
4.07 | 132 ratings
THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN
Brown Band, The Arthur
3.78 | 534 ratings
BURN
Deep Purple

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Latest Proto-Prog Music Reviews


 The Beat Goes On by VANILLA FUDGE album cover Studio Album, 1968
1.49 | 37 ratings

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The Beat Goes On
Vanilla Fudge Proto-Prog

Review by KingCrInuYasha

2 stars Oh boy, what did I get myself into?

Around the same time Vanilla Fudge was tinkering with the material that would end up becoming Renaissance, producer George "Shadow" Morton got the bright idea to create an avant-garde album that would detail the history of modern music as well as some other philosophical mumbo jumbo that was all the rage at the time. The Fudge was to provide the musical backdrop, as well as having their name stuck to the project. Not surprising, the band was not too thrilled with the project, but, for whatever reason, be it record company pressure or overall inexperience on the Fudge's part, Mark, Tim, Carmine and Vinnie went along for the ride. The result is widely considered by fans, critics, and even the band members themselves as the worst album of their classic period and, for those who know it exists, one of the most infamous records of 1968.

The bulk of the blame has to go to Morton. This is pure conjecture on my part, but this is probably another case of someone listening to the weirdest of the weird of Frank Zappa's material and thinking they could start a revolution by indulging in the same genre, when in reality, neither Morton nor the Fudge had even a tenth of the familiarity that Zappa had with avant-garde. As a result, instead of creating freaky masterpieces that musically pushed the envelope (e.g., the last third of Freak Out! and the whole of We're Only In It For The Money and Uncle Meat), they ended up with the aural equivalent of an Ed Wood film.

If you hadn't already guessed, the title of the album and the overall concept refers to the Sonny and Cher hit released the previous year, with the song serving as the leitmotif throughout the album. The opening number - which include clips from the title song - is your typical dramatic affair from the Fudge, sounding like something Emerson, Lake & Palmer would eventually do on their first album, before concluding with a clip of Thomas Edison and his famous "Mary had a little lamb" speech from his phonograph demonstration in 1877. We then enter Phase One of the concept, which is the aforementioned musical history lesson. The piece runs through Mozart, parlor music of the 19th and early 20th centuries, rag time, big bands, Elvis and finally the Beatles. On the one hand, the concept is nowhere as deep as it claims to be, being something Disney probably would have done had they managed to get the rights to use the songs. On the other hand, the idea of a musical history lesson presented by a over the top psychedelic band sounds kind of quirky to my ears, with the potential to delight both pop music deconstructionists and kids who want to get into music. Yes, I know it's cheesy, but I like it.

The overall problem with this phase is that the execution kind of leaves a lot to be desired. The popping up of the dramatic "Beat Goes On" theme throughout the suite, played in the exact same way, is too distracting for me. The Moody Blues' "House Of Four Doors" sequence did something similar, but at least that was better integrated, with its theme having a similar vibe as the interludes in that piece. Hearing a dramatic, Hammond organ drenched fanfare right between two ragtime pieces throws me out of the experience. Probably the biggest distraction is when they uses the theme in between "In The Mood" and "Hound Dog" , when they should have played those songs back to back uninterrupted to show the similarities between the songs, which would have fit the theme that "the beat goes on" perfectly. I also wish they added some more songs to the suite in order to flesh out the concept. As it is, I put the suite in the "could have been worse, could have been better" pile; and that's not getting into how The Residents managed to do the concept better when they made Third Reich 'N Roll.

Phase Two involves the Fudge covering Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata and Fur Elsie and is the best moment on the album, if only because it's the only phase that isn't based on a really bad idea and it's also the only one where it's fully fleshed out to its potential. It's nothing special, just the boys covering Beethoven in a cheesy, late 1960s fashion, but this type of arrangement was what Fudge did best and they pull it off with aplomb. The tune ends with a chord sequence that sounds a lot like the one near the start of their cover of "Eleanor Rigby" and I wouldn't be surprised if they put the two together in their live shows at the time.

If the first side was a pretentious, yet harmless, affair, then the second half is where the whole concept goes completely of the deep end. Phase Three consists of voice clips of historical figures between the onset of World War Two and John F. Kennedy being inaugurated as president of the United States, with Fudge providing some sparse, average sounding, musical background. I assume this was another piece that protested the Vietnam War, given the war and peace themes, and said cycle of war and peace being another beat that goes on. Some call it art, I call it self-indulgent. This is Vanilla Fudge's equivalent of The Beatles' "Revolution 9", but has nowhere near the amount of unintentional comedy that made it entertaining to listen to. I don't care if it's an anti-war message; there are plenty of (actual) songs out there that make the point better than this mess.

The fourth and final Phase does little to stop this train wreck in progress. The main theme, The Game Is Over, is yet another cover, this time taken from the soundtrack of a 1966 film starring Jane Fonda, IIRC. The music is actually pretty good and quite possibly the saddest sounding piece in the Fudge's output. At least it would be if they hadn't butchered it by a) splitting the piece with some Indian flavored music that would become badly outdated two years later and b) having the band members speak over the music itself, with Vinnie reciting some poetry, Mark quoting Bible verses about the death of Moses, Tim bluntly answering questions in an interview and Carmine just telling the audience to just listen to the music.

And there's your record. I give Morton an A for effort in wanting to tackle a genre he had no experience in as well as dragging Vanilla Fudge, kicking and screaming, into this mess, but I still give it 2/5, and a very, very weak 2/5 at that. The second half is every bit as pointless as its detractors make it out to be and if it wasn't for the novelty and somewhat wasted potential of the first half, it would have gotten a 1/5. If you want to hear what the fuss is all about or have a thing for postmodernism, I suggest either borrowing from a friend or buying the record cheap.

Final rating: 2/5

Personal favorites: "Sketch", the music suite and the Beethoven covers

Personal dislikes: Everything from side two

P.S.: In writing this review, I almost forgot the two bonus tracks attached to some CD versions. Their straightforward cover of The Beatles' " You Can't Do That" isn't too impressive, but it's pleasant when on. The pile driving ballad, "Come By Day, Come By Night", on the other hand, is a nice surprise. It's one of the first songs penned by the Fudge themselves and manages to successfully incorporate their sound in an original setting. The vocals are sublime and I like the cricket chirps Mark gets out of his organ at the beginning. The bonus tracks' presence on this version of the album is enough to make this rating a solid 2/5 instead of a shaky one.

 Are You Experienced by HENDRIX, JIMI album cover Studio Album, 1967
4.22 | 293 ratings

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Are You Experienced
Jimi Hendrix Proto-Prog

Review by MJAben

2 stars I must admit that I'm not a huge Hendrix fan, I won't even begin to talk about the importance of Hendrix, not just to Prog music but to music in general... Nevertheless, it's hard for me to sit down through a whole Hendrix album, not due to the overuse of distortion or the inability to sing but, more than anything, because every song sounds so samey.

Songs range here from mediocre to sub par to poor. mediocre: (Third Stone from the Sun / Red House / Are You Experienced/ May This Be Love). Sub Par: (Manic Depression / Love or Confusion / Fire). Poor: (the rest). Perhaps not all of this is fair, Hendrix does sound dated now and if I were to listen to the album at the time it was released its impact and my reception would be very different. As it stands however, this is an album that hasn't been able to stand up strong, a few interesting moments but they are scattered and not worth sitting through the whole album.

2/5 stars.

 Ceremony (Feat. Pierre Henry) by SPOOKY TOOTH album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.47 | 25 ratings

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Ceremony (Feat. Pierre Henry)
Spooky Tooth Proto-Prog

Review by Progfan97402

4 stars This is often one of the most maligned album in the Spooky Tooth discography, probably because the combination of avant garde composer Pierre Henry with Spooky Tooth is regarded as a mismatch, much like Lou Red and Metallica decades later and the maligned Lulu in 2011. One listen to Ceremony and you get the impression that a.) Neither Pierre Henry nor Spooky Tooth listened to each others work, and so it sounds as if Pierre Henry did his thing, then Spooky Tooth their thing, and then have them combined, and voila! or b.) you get the impression that neither Pierre Henry had an understanding of rock music nor Spooky Tooth had an understanding of avant garde. So I can understand why people might run at the thought of this album, even I admit that some of Pierre Henry's part threatens to drown out Spooky Tooth's music. Thanks to the Electric Prunes releasing Mass in F Minor, I imagined this was the reason for Spooky Tooth to do their own rock Mass, but unlike the Prunes, they didn't use Gregorian chanting in a rock context. Now let me tell you that Spooky Tooth's end of things is nothing short of amazing. They really rock like there's no tomorrow. I can't believe this is that same Gary Wright later of Dream Weaver fame, because he really rips it on organ here! The problem comes with Pierre Henry. It's like he never even heard what the band put down before he did his part, as mentioned earlier, so it sounds like a bunch of random sounds that rarely seem to go appropriately with the music. One could say it sounds like a bad Krautrock album, because the best Krautrock out there the musicians involved had a full understanding of both rock and avant garde (in fact several Can members were Stockhausen disciples) and took that knowledge to their full advantage. There's a couple parts of this album that annoys me, particularly "Jubilation". Although the band puts on some killer bluesy guitar riffs on that song, you keep hearing this "bi bi bi bi bi bi bi bi bi bi" voices that NEVER stops. Despite the obvious flaws, there are some really brilliant and amazing moments put by the band, and if they did this by themselves without Pierre Henry, this could probably felt as one of Spooky Tooth's defining moments. Yet I still want to give it a four star rating (it would be five if Pierre Henry took his approach better) because I was blown away by what the band were doing.
 Quadrophenia: Live in London by WHO, THE album cover DVD/Video, 2014
3.09 | 3 ratings

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Quadrophenia: Live in London
The Who Proto-Prog

Review by rdtprog
Collaborator Heavy Prog Team

3 stars I was not sure before purchasing this DVD, if I was going to enjoy a live show with the complete double album of "Quadrophenia", because it was a long time ago that I listen to this album and if I remember, I didn't enjoy all the songs. Many years later, I didn't change my mind about this, there are some really good songs, like the title track, "Dr. Jimmy", "The Rock" and "Love Reign Over Me". The other tracks are not bad for what they are, good rock songs, but not as good as some songs of their entire discography. Fortunately, the show has some of those songs as bonus performance, including "Baba O'Riley", "Who are You" and "Won't get Fooled Again"

There's a lot of projections on the screen of the band from the old days. Nice touch to have included John Entwistle with a solo of one of his performance in the song "5:15". Not only you can see him on the screen, but you can actually hear his solo. In fact, his solo sounds more alive than the bass sound of the actual player Pino Palladino, who is rarely captured by the cameras and low in the mix. Also, during "Bell Boy", Keith Moon is singing on the screen.Those projections of the old days performances are only present in the "Quadrophenia" album and not in the bonus songs at the end. We have many musicians on the stage including horn players, Simon Townsend who signs like Pete in "Dirty Jobs". Also two keyboardists, but it's mostly the piano that we hear during this show.

It is easy to rate this, can't be 2 stars because it's not only for collectors, and can't be 4 stars because, that is not a progressive rock show. So it's a good 3 stars, nothing more. But those who enjoy "Quadrophenia" will have a ball with this DVD!

 Made In Japan by DEEP PURPLE album cover Live, 1972
4.49 | 494 ratings

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Made In Japan
Deep Purple Proto-Prog

Review by danproglover

5 stars I am writing about the single CD remastered version of the album. Since "Made in Japan" is one of my all time favourites, I was looking forward to getting this new version and I have to say that I was not disappointed! The sound is more defined, the bass is clearer and you can hear the fantastic solo even better! In my opinion some of the best organ and guitar solos ever recorded are on this album. I am, however, not sure whether this album can be qualified as progressive rock in the strictest sense. Here the emphasis definitely lies on rock. On the other hand all the songs are quite long and all of them feature stellar playing. This new version makes this even more obvious. This is an album that everyone who is interested in rock music should own and this new version makes a seminal album even better! Highly recommended!
 The United States Of America  by UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, THE album cover Studio Album, 1968
4.12 | 39 ratings

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

Review by siLLy puPPy

5 stars Unlike many classic albums that are timeless, this sole album by the band THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is just the opposite. This is a musical masterpiece that takes you to a specific place at a specific time. That place being Southern California and the time being 1968. Although the main music is a very well played psychedelic rock of the West Coast variety in the USA, the uniqueness of this album, however, doesn't lie in the well executed performances of psychedelic rock from 1968, which is not only some of the best the era has to offer with the excellent vocals of Dorothy Moskowitz but the true uniqueness comes from the creator and brainchild of this ahead of its time band Joseph Byrd who learned how to use samples, electronic loops and all kinds of special effects that would take a good 20 years to become mainstream. In addition to his tape manipulation abilities he also is the player of all the electronic music, harpischord, organ, calliope, piano and also contributes the male vocals on the album.

This album is a REAL trip. A real trip that is back to the psychedelic 60s. This album perfectly encompasses EVERYTHING about the era in which it was released and then some. I should say it captures the spirit. This album does sound very 60s in its song structure, but it is very different in every way. First of all, there are guitars here. Most of the parts of guitars are replaced by keyboards and very strange and avant-garde sound effects. In addition to the standard bass and drums there is a strong presence of electric violin and ring modulator. The lyrics are very political and the hippie vibe of 1968 is dominant throughout the album. It has the feeling of an album that burrowed its way through a wormhole from the future and nestled itself into the year 1968 simply because it has both a dated feel with a futuristic embellishment.

If you want to hear an absolute classic of proto-prog from the late 60s then don't just settle for The Beatles, Jefferson Airplane or even The Doors but check out this strange yet pleasant album that one-ups everything else that was being released at the time with possibly the exceptions of maybe The Mothers Of Invention or Soft Machine. After this album Joseph Byrd would go on to create a sole album with his other band Joe Byrd and the Field Hippies. A 60s classic that has remained under the radar for far too long. I have the remastered version with bonus tracks and although none of them are essential, they are interesting to hear how the band evolved and also how some of the tracks without the electronic embellishments sound fairly plain. They offer a glimpse into how the marriage of both the excellent songwriting and electronic effects make the whole much more interesting than the sum of the parts.

 Volunteers by JEFFERSON AIRPLANE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1969
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Volunteers
Jefferson Airplane Proto-Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
3 stars I first listened to the song "Volunteers" and to JEFFERSON AIRPLANE in the "Woodstock" triple LP album from 1970. This song is a very energetic political, anti-war song, somewhat simple (2-3 chords), but maybe the anti-war and "revolutionary" political messages of the lyrics were more important then than the music itself. It has the late very good session piano player Nicky Hopkins as guest. He also appeared with the band in the Woodstock Festival in 1969. Unfortunately, the original film of that Festival did not include songs played by this band although they were represented in both of the original LP compilations of the Festival which were released as "Woodstock" in 1970 and as "Woodstock 2" in 1971. It seems that they finally appear in a new version of the film done some 30 years or more after that Festival was organized.

"Volunteers" is maybe one of their most popular and known songs.

The B-side of this single also was taken from the "Volunteers" LP from 1969. In fact, it is the first song from that album, and this song in particular is longer but musically very similar in some parts to the "Volunteers" song but with more chords in the other parts of the song. It also has Nicky Hopkins on piano.

 Long Tall Sally by BEATLES, THE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1964
3.04 | 6 ratings

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Long Tall Sally
The Beatles Proto-Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The Extended Play (EP) format was a more popular format in the U.K, than in the U.S. In that format some bands released 4 or 5 songs in a little vinyl disc that played at 45 R.P.M. So, bands like The Beatles used it sometimes to release their most popular songs from their British albums, and in two occasions, to release new music which only was released in that format. This EP was the first time they released new music in that format, with the second time being the double EP package of the songs from the "Magical Mystery Tour" film in late 1967.

This EP has 4 songs. Three of them were composed by other musicians, and only one song was composed by Lennon and McCartney.

"Long Tall Sally": composed by Little Richard. Sung by McCartney. It has some piano playing and a lead guitar played by Harrison. An energetic song which they also used many times to finish their concerts.

"I Call Your Name": composed by Lennon and McCartney, and sung by Lennon. A simple good and somewhat slow song which maybe it is not very popular or known as other songs from the band. It also includes a lead guitar by Harrison.

"Slow Down": composed by Larry Williams and sung by Lennon, A very typical Rock and Roll song which also has some piano playing, plus another good lead guitar by Harrison. In other occasions the band also recorded two other songs composed by Williams ("Dizzy Miss Lizzy" and "Bad Boy"). It seems that Lennon was a fan of Williams`s music.

"Matchbox": composed by Carl Perkins, and with double-tracked lead vocals by Ringo Starr. It also includes some piano playing and another lead guitar by Harrison.

The songs in this EP sound like being recorded mostly "live in the studio" with very few overdubs (like most of their early material). But they sound very well, and the band sounds like having a very good time. Four good Rock and Roll songs which were exclusively recorded to be released in this EP. Even the photo in the cover was good and very original. The band not only recorded songs for their British albums, They also recorded some songs to be only released on singles, and as I wrote above, in only two occasions they also recorded some new songs to be exclusively released on EPs like this. They worked very hard, I think.

These four songs were also released in the "Past Masters Volume One" compilation album in 1988.

 Anthology 3 by BEATLES, THE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1996
3.61 | 52 ratings

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Anthology 3
The Beatles Proto-Prog

Review by Chicapah
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I must admit that it's impossible for me to be objective about The Beatles. I was an impressionable 14 year old when I experienced my personal coming-of-age epiphany whilst witnessing their American debut on Ed Sullivan in early '64 (Yes, I'm an aging boomer but I wouldn't want to be associated with any other generation) and in an instant all my questions about what the future held for me were answered big time. John, Paul, George and Ringo were going to collectively lead not just me but all of us into the musical Promised Land where all the restrictive fences were going to be torn down and ceremoniously torched in a blazing bonfire of revolution. No genre was taboo, no concept too strange and the sky was the limit. The atmosphere was indescribable. I can tell you this much, though. We had a ball reacting to their every move. Each new LP release by the Fab Four was a mind-expanding, celebratory event. Even conservative AM Top 40 radio stations would play EVERY cut on the album for weeks on end. Society at large was gleeful to be engulfed, inundated and influenced by the sounds The Beatles conjured up from their unbridled imaginations and unleashed on the world. It was a magical time to be a teenager in love with life-defining music. If you haven't a clue as to what I'm on about then I'm afraid I can't help you. I doubt that such a widespread phenomenon will ever be repeated on such an enormous scale so I reckon you had to be there. Nothing was ever the same again. Nothing.

The three anthology sets that coincided with the huge celebration of all things Beatles in the mid- 90s (that included the airing of an exhaustive network television documentary) were intended to make available all of the incidental recordings, rare tapes and demos that few had ever heard. The public ate up the packages like free surf and turf. The first collection portrayed them as youthful, eager overachievers who took full advantage of being in the right place in the right era with the right material and the right look. Of course, none of those factors would've made any difference if they hadn't have possessed an unassailable and undeniable talent for tapping into the yearnings and dreams of everyone under the age of 30 and brilliantly expressing them through the highly efficient and accessible vehicle known as rock & roll. Anthology 1 is a testament to their enthusiasm and ambition. #2 shows them to be fearless pioneers who refused to stay in their assigned niche and had no qualms about going wherever their muse led them. When faced with the realization that touring and playing live concerts had become detrimental to their creativity they did what no other entity would've had the guts to do (because of the income involved) and sold all of their luggage. The fully-stocked workshop that was the studio would now be the sole medium through which they'd communicate to the masses. Anthology 2 is an intriguing exploration into how an adventurous, progressive-minded quartet of gifted musicians was able to permanently alter the planet's rotation forevermore.

Anthology 3 completes the triathlon. It generally covers the last two years of the band's existence when the changes they initiated and championed in modern civilization eventually began to change them, as well. Their innocence was long gone and they'd found that the golden crown of adulation was heavier than anticipated. Yet they sensed they had a reputation to uphold and a responsibility to not let their legion of fans down. That constant pressure forced them to work in a tight cocoon together and, as to be expected, they began to cherish their time away from the conclave. These two CDs reveal their own unique personalities and artistic leanings coming to the surface independent of the "group" mentality. They knew what they sounded like as a cohesive unit, now they each wanted to find out what they sounded like as individuals. One of the misconceptions about this final period of The Beatles' career is that they couldn't stand one another's company. The 50 cuts included here dispel that rumor completely. One can't help but hear their boisterous camaraderie seeping into many of the tracks. The fact is, they couldn't have produced the stellar music they did if they'd been preoccupied with conniving ways to stab the guy next to them in the back all the time. Making the best music they could was their reason for living and they took their job quite seriously.

Of course, having George Martin as a mentor and advisor didn't hurt. That's why the opening piece, "A Beginning" is appropriate. It's a lush symphonic instrumental originally intended to serve as an intro to Ringo's goofy "Don't Pass Me By" on the White Album. It's obvious that the two didn't jive as a couple so Martin's score was jettisoned but, fortunately, not destroyed. Its inclusion is a lovely way to begin. Seven of the next eight selections were culled from homemade tapes recorded at George's house in Surrey. Having knocked the residents of the earth for a loop with the ground-breaking masterpiece that is "Sgt. Peppers," one gets the feeling that they were now more comfortable with and confident in their songwriting skills and they were willing to lay down every tune idea they came up with no matter how unorthodox or weird an outsider would've considered it to be. The best of this bunch is John's raw rendition of "Happiness is a Warm Gun." It's a ragged, incomplete outline to be sure but Lennon's raspy vocal riding atop his aggressive acoustic guitar strumming is convicting and real. "Junk," an unfinished melody idea of Paul's, displays a lot of potential but I guess it fell to the wayside. A pity. Harrison's "Piggies" showcases his uncannily mellow vocal style in its unaffected state and it's a treat. McCartney's nostalgic "Honey Pie" shamelessly demonstrates his enjoyment of the creative process that seemed to enrapture him at times. The rest of disc 1 (except for one cut) consists of demos they recorded in rehearsals at Abbey Road. Of special interest is the piano/vocal run-through of "Good Night." Mr. Starr's singing is especially unaffected and the orchestral score is gorgeous. "Sexy Sadie" sports an unexpectedly laid-back aura that surreptitiously underlines John's sarcastic skewering of their once-esteemed Indian guru. But the highlight is George's solo version of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." It's an incredibly haunting presentation of his immaculate song that proudly stands on its own two feet without unnecessary decoration. "Not Guilty" is another Harrison-penned number that stayed hidden for eleven more years until he put it on his eponymous LP. It has a proggy slant that's worthy of note.

Disc 2 is a mixture of demos captured at the Abbey Road and Apple Studios. Most of the tracks are rough test runs but it's the screw-up moments that demonstrate their wit and nonchalant attitude that I've always found endearing. They knew that amazing tunes often grew from small ideas if they were only given the chance to sprout so little hiccups along the way didn't faze them in the least. It was all part of the process. Honorable mentions go out to Lennon's poignant rendition of "I'm So Tired," the group's loose but upbeat take on "I've Got a Feeling" that exudes pure elation, George's smooth-as-silk offering of "All Things Must Pass" that demonstrates his ongoing maturation as a composer of merit and the edgy vocal performance John delivers on "Come Together" that coats it with a truckload of grit. I've always loved Badfinger's breakthrough single, "Come and Get It," and it's a sweet bonus to get to hear Paul's original version that's almost as irresistible. The most astounding cut is the isolated, vocals-only track of "Because." Arranged by the master George Martin (and employed later on to raise the curtain on the engaging "Love" soundtrack), it's a marvel to behold. Their awesome blend of voices is ethereal and wholly captivating. I also appreciate the no-frills demo of "Let It Be" and it makes me wonder what it was like to hear one of the greatest songs of the modern age being unveiled for the first time ever. Lennon's complimentary remarks uttered when they finish the take says volumes. Even he was stunned by his partner's accomplishment. It's only fitting that they decided to exit with "The End" but the tacking on of a backwards rendering of the climactic piano chord on "A Day in the Life" was a stroke of absolute genius. Can't ask for more.

Like its predecessors, Anthology 3 went straight to #1 and didn't stop selling until it reached triple platinum status. Hard to believe that folks would gladly pay top dollar to have in their grasp an assortment of outtakes, coarse demos and snippets of tomfoolery from four lads from Liverpool, England but they weren't just anybody. These cuts had emanated from the one-and-only Beatles who rattled the universe with regularity throughout the turbulent but marvelous 60s. My humble opinion is that prog rock was destined to be an inevitable offshoot in the evolution of rock & roll but it would've been delayed in being nurtured, investigated and expanded by years if not for this spectacular band blowing the doors off the establishment's fortress. I make no apologies for indulging in every tidbit of Beatlemania I can wallow in because they did what other artists only dream of doing. Making an indelible mark in history that will never be duplicated. I was lucky enough to get to watch it happen before my very eyes. Perhaps no one's ever rocked you and your peers' world down to its core. My condolences. This group thoroughly transformed my life. Therefore I'll always be in their debt.

 Lady Madonna by BEATLES, THE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1968
3.29 | 15 ratings

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Lady Madonna
The Beatles Proto-Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Both songs of this single were recorded before the band went to India in 1968 to study Meditation. It was their last single which was released in the Parlophone label because by late 1968 their albums and singles became released also by Parlophone but in their Apple Records label.

"Lady Madonna", mainly composed by McCartney, is a Rock song with good backing vocals and a sax solo (played by a session musician) and with some "vocal imitations" of some horn instruments done by Lennon, McCartney and Harrison. It also has two different drum tracks recorded by Ringo Starr each played in a different way.

"The Inner Light" is an Indian Music song composed by Harrison, but recorded by him in India in late 1967 and in early 1968 while he was recording a soundtrack album for a British film called "Wonderwall", in an album which was the first album released as soloist by any member of the band and also was the first album released in their Apple Records label. The instrumentation in this song was played by Indian musicians (like in most of the "Wonderwall Music" album) playing instruments of that country, but with Harrison adding lead vocals in London later and also with brief backing vocals by Lennon and McCartney in the last lyrics line of the song. It was the last song of this style of music which Harrison recorded to be released by the band.

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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
THE ARTHUR BROWN BAND United Kingdom
THE COLLECTORS Canada
COVEN United States
THE CROME SYRCUS 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
HANSSON & KARLSSON Sweden
HAPSHASH AND THE COLOURED COAT United Kingdom
JIMI HENDRIX United States
IRON BUTTERFLY United States
IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DAY United States
JEFFERSON AIRPLANE United States
KALEIDOSCOPE / FAIRFIELD PARLOUR United Kingdom
MÁQUINA! Spain
THE MASTERS APPRENTICES Australia
THE MOVE United Kingdom
NIRVANA United Kingdom
PAN & REGALIZ Spain
PÄRSON SOUND Sweden
THE PRETTY THINGS United Kingdom
QUIET WORLD United Kingdom
SALAMANDER United Kingdom
SILVER APPLES United States
SPIRIT United States
SPOOKY TOOTH United Kingdom
SWEETWATER United States
TOMORROW United Kingdom
TOUCH United States
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA United States
VANILLA FUDGE United States
THE WHO United Kingdom

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