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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.

Ivßn 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

4.47 | 969 ratings
Beatles, The
4.50 | 566 ratings
Who, The
4.37 | 892 ratings
Beatles, The
4.34 | 1144 ratings
Deep Purple
4.32 | 1154 ratings
Deep Purple
4.33 | 1008 ratings
Beatles, The
4.40 | 552 ratings
Who, The
4.31 | 647 ratings
Doors, The
4.18 | 783 ratings
Beatles, The
4.25 | 491 ratings
Doors, The
4.27 | 441 ratings
Hendrix, Jimi
4.14 | 711 ratings
Beatles, The
4.03 | 457 ratings
Doors, The
3.96 | 530 ratings
Who, The
3.92 | 696 ratings
Beatles, The
3.98 | 384 ratings
Hendrix, Jimi
4.01 | 297 ratings
Hendrix, Jimi
4.13 | 175 ratings
3.84 | 780 ratings
Deep Purple
4.09 | 177 ratings
Brown Band, The Arthur

Latest Proto-Prog Music Reviews

 Revolver by BEATLES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1966
4.37 | 892 ratings

The Beatles Proto-Prog

Review by jamesbaldwin

4 stars "Revolver" is an extremely well-edited album, with no drop in quality, which alternates a wide variety of musical styles and arrangements, especially in the first side. The songs are still all short, contained between 2 and 3 minutes. Compared to "Rubber Soul", which is the continuation, the sound is much drier, electric and metallic, and the arrangements much more varied and always complete: the average quality of the songs is similar, and "Revolver" contains fewer melodic classics than "Rubber Soul", but on the whole is more compact as an album, the songs together give a synergistic effect. As well, Rubber seems to me to consist of slightly more inspired songs, though less carefully treated as a Revolver arrangement.

The Lp starts with a syncopated rock by Harrison, "Taxman (vote 8), one of his best songs, continues with a symphonic pop of McCartney ("Eleonor Rigby", vote 8,5/9), an absolute melodic masterpiece also thanks to the orchestration by George Martin, who wrote the notes for fabulous string quartet. It continues with a beautiful oriental rock ballad by Lennon (I'm Only Sleeping, vote 8), which includes a backward guitar solo and other sound effects.

The first three songs represent the pinnacle of the album and are emblematic of the style of the three composers. In fact in Revolver Harrison, which contributes with three songs, has a very rhythmic style, and shows off a rock song, an Indian pop- raga, and a blues song, all three very well-timed. McCartney, unique in the Beatles record, writes all retro melodic pop songs, with arrangements alien to rock bands, lapping an incredible range of musical styles; in practice each of his songs is an essay of a musical style, from symphonic pop (Eleonor Rigby) to the slow vocal complexes (Here, There and Everywhere), the piano swing (Good Day Sunshine), the refined melodic song with orchestral arrangement (For No One), to the soulful soul (Got to Get You Into My Life). On the contrary, Lennon writes all rock songs: two refined oriental ballads with sound effects (I'm Only Sleeping and Tomorrow Never Knows), his best compositions, and three rather conventional rock songs; none of his songs have a catchy melody. In no other Beatles album there has ever been, and more there will be, such a clear musical difference between Macca and Lennon, such a marked alternation between retro melodic pop songs by McCartney and contemporary rock songs with oriental or psychedelic effects by Lennon. Both McCartney and Lennon write two masterpieces (Macca almost three), and for the rest minor songs; McCartney still writes the best song on the album (Eleonor Rigby), and the weakest songs (Here, There and Everywhere and Good Day Sunshine), while Lennon writes the most refined from the point of view of the arrangement, but his songs have peaks and falls less conspicuous than those of Paul, they are more homogeneous as a quality, in fact a song by John is missing which stands out for its intrinsic quality.

Returning to the sequence of the songs, after the first three the first side repeats the sequence Harrison-Macca-Lennon: "Love You To" (vote 7,5/8) is an excellent fusion between Indian raga and Mersey-beat; "Here, There and Everywhere" (vote 7) is a slow song - styled vocal complexes of the 50s, a little too honeyed but with some delicious (vaguely French) harmonious passages; "She Said She Said" (vote 7,5) is a very rhythmic psychedelic rock, with great work by Ringo and acid guitars, but it does not take off. Among these there is a classic for children, "Yellow Submarine" (vote 6,5/7), written by McCartney and sung by Ringo, which also introduces sounds and naval noises in this colorful first side of the Beatles, which has seen all four members sing very different songs one from the other and yet the smoothness of the sequence is remarkable.

The second side as often happens is slightly lower, due to quality. It starts with the pre-war swing by McCartney "Good Day Sunshine" (vote 6,5/7), cute but stereotyped and without flashes, perhaps the weakest song on the album; it continues with the very fast rock of "And Your Bird Can Sing" (vote 7+), which slips away without giving time to remain imprinted; it continues with "For No One" (vote 8), beautiful melody and French horn solo (in fact the melody has again something of French), fantastic; it goes to the conventional rock of "Doctor Robert" (vote 7+) , which again lacks a real climax, and to Harrison's piano blues (I Want To Tell You, vote 7+), beautiful but without variations. Finally comes the soul of "Got to Get You Into My Life, vote 7,5/8) original composition of McCartney, which will remain unique as an arrangement in the discography of the Beatles, also this very rhythmic and well executed but missing something to get to be great; and lastly "Tomorrow Never Knows" (vote 8+) which is deliberately set on a single chord, contains all avant-garde sounds, reverse tapes, backward guitar solo, filtered voice, sitar in the distance, lyrics from the Tibetan Book of the Dead ... many compare this ending to the ending of the next album, Sgt Pepper, because even in that case the last song is the most refined. Certainly "Tomorrow" is one of the best pieces of Revolver but it is very far from the absolute masterpiece "A Day in the Life", contained in Sgt Pepper; and for the pleasure of listening, "Tomorrow" is under "Eleonor Rigby".

Overall, "Revolver" is an album that while respecting all the canons of the pop song format of 2-3 minutes, manages to show off the maximum care in the search for refined pop songs, I would say art-pop, both for the variety of the arrangement that of musical styles. Revolver is a great record, the most innovative, constant and edited by the Beatles up to that point; it is not an absolute masterpiece because the average quality of the pieces, both melodic and rock, is slightly less than "Rubber Soul" and less than the levels of the albums that will follow; moreover, so many stylistic and sound ideas need songs less harnessed in the strophe structure and pop refrain of 2 and a half minutes, to be better expressed: left more free to be self-indulgent with their own creativity, the Beatles will produce the masterpieces of the years 1967-69. Anyway, the greatness of the album, as a whole, is equal to that of "Rubber Soul".

Medium quality of the songs: 7,59. Vote album: 8,5. Rating: Four Stars.

 Quadrophenia by WHO, THE album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.50 | 566 ratings

The Who Proto-Prog

Review by mariorockprog

5 stars 4.75: A masterpiece by Who, it is the history of young man that is looking by his real identity, and rely in some persons and ideals that ultimately disappoint him. Lyrically it is excellent, it maintain you entertained, and although the lyrics are not so deep, it has a coherent history, but mainly the way it is sung is amazing, they demonstrate that sometimes the way of singing and telling the history is more important that the history itself. The constant changes of tones in voices and the way they are interchanged impress me. Musically is very well supported with good solos, riffs and keyboard passages, without exaggerating in its presence, however, i feel it lacks something, it would be perfect if the music were as good as the lyrics and the vocalist interpretation, more elaborated and innovative. A really good album by the who that has a lot of prog elements that any prog listener will find interesting.
 Please Please Me by BEATLES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1963
3.05 | 423 ratings

Please Please Me
The Beatles Proto-Prog

Review by The Anders

3 stars Seeing the Beatles featured on a prog site feels rather odd to be honest. I am of course aware that progressive rock wouldn't sound like it does if it weren't for all the sixties bands, the Beatles included, but as far as I am concerned, only Sgt. Pepper and Abbey Road really bear any resemblance to prog. In Sgt. Pepper's case it is mainly due to the conceptual ideas, as well as the musical structure on a song like 'A Day In the Life'. On Abbey Road we have songs such as 'I Want You (She's So Heavy)' and perhaps the medley on side 2. But even an album like Revolver, though experimental and containing many psychedelic sounds, contains short and relatively traditional compositions. Then of course there is a song like 'Happiness Is a Warm Gun' from the White Album with its changes in tempo and mood, but overall the White Album sounds more like a foreshadowing of alternative rock to me.

But I am a big admirer of the Beatles, so I'd love to take the opportunity to review their studio albums. Now their music up to, and including the Help album is possibly as far from prog as can be: straight forward dance pop and rock'n roll songs mostly with I-love-you-and-you-love-me lyrics, and it wouldn't make much sense to judge it from a progressive rock point of view.

The early Beatles is clearly not as artistically interesting as their later work. It is pop, and it works on pop premises mostly. However it sounded a lot more honest than some of the pre-fabricated machine pop that came before them in the early 60's (Paul Anka, Del Shannon, Cliff Richard etc.), and in that context the Beatles were clearly a breath of fresh air, and much less streamlined. Also their music had some energy that the above mentioned idols didn't have.

The first LP contains their first two singles and their B-sides. The rest of the album was recorded literally in one day, consisting of songs from their live repertoire. The songs were mostly recorded live in the studio with only a few overdubs (the handclaps on 'I Saw Her Standing There' and the piano on 'Misery'), and the limited amount of time of course means that the performances are not always flawless. It gives the album an aura of freshness and spontanity, but on the other hand some performances sound rather substandard, and even uninspired. This particularly goes for some of the cover versions: 'Chains', 'Boys' and, in particular, 'Baby It's You' (with terribly off-key backing vocals). The one cover version that really shines above the rest is 'Twist And Shout' with its raw energy and raw vocal performance by John Lennon. Probably the highpoint of the album.

Then there are the original compositions, and at this point Lennon and McCartney hadn't yet entirely matured as songwriters. The songs, having been written before the band signed with Parlophone, sound a bit unfocused and unfinished compared to their subsequent work. A good example is 'Ask Me Why' where the 9th to 12th bar of the verse sound like they are leading towards something that doesn't really come. Also the chorus sounds too much like the verse, and the middle eight ('I can't believe...') doesn't really make a contrast either, containing a cadence that ends with the tonic (main chord). As a result, the song sounds rather monotonous overall. Similar things can be said about 'Do You Want To Know a Secret', and even their first big hit, 'Please Please Me' lacks the sense of direction that chacacterizes the best work of the band.

The best original songs are 'There's a Place' which also goes beyond the lyrical cliches of the other songs (though not exactly in a subtle way) and 'I Saw Her Standing There' which is an uplifting and energetic piece of rock'n roll. Kicking the whole album off with the classic 1-2-3-4! it is a perfect opener, just as 'Twist And Shout' is a perfect finale. As for 'There's a Place', however, the verse ends in a rather unelegant way, both harmonically and melodically with 'when I'm alone', but fortunately the intensity of the rest of the song makes it up for that.

Shortly after this album, Lennon and McCartney would improve drastically as songwriters with songs that sound much more accomplished: 'From Me To You', 'She Loves You', 'I Want To Hold Your Hand'. Here at this early stage their genius doesn't really show... yet.

Then there is the musicianship. Clearly the greatest music is not always made by great virtuosos, and it it would be fair to say that the Beatles were not the most virtuose instrumentalists, especially not in the early days. But their abilities work very well for the type of music they are playing, and the energy that they are able to reproduce together is indeed very infective. Judged by their individual playing, however, it is clear that they haven't yet entirely found themselves as instrumentalists. Paul McCartney does little more than keeping the bass note, and Gerorge Harrison has clearly not found his sound yet. The solo on 'I Saw Her Standing There', for instance, while energetic, it is also very unimaginative. Harrison would later develop a very personal and poetic style, perhaps most prominently heard in the solo on 'Something'.

But while the Beatles aren't the greatest instrumentalists in the world, there is no doubt that Lennon and McCartney are excellent singers, and a lot of their special energy and charisma clearly comes from the vocals. 'Twist And Shout' is probably the best vocal performance on the album.

So all in all it is a promising debut that doesn't entirely show off their true force. But you have to start somewhere.

 Machine Head by DEEP PURPLE album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.32 | 1154 ratings

Machine Head
Deep Purple Proto-Prog

Review by The Jester

4 stars Review # 100. One of the albums that considered as a major influence for the birth of Heavy Metal music is this one. (Together with Black Sabbath's and Led Zeppelın's first albums).

Machine Head was released on March 1972. It was the 6th studio album of Deep Purpl, and their most successful by far. Upon its release, it went straight to No.1 on the album charts in many countries, including UK, Australia, Germany and Canada. In the UK charts, it reached No.1 on the first week of its release and stayed at the top 40 for 20 weeks. In the USA Billboard charts, it reached No.7 and stayed at the top 200 for 118 weeks.

Machine Head was recorded in Switzerland during the winter of 1971 while the band was staying at the Casino hotel there. One night a big fire burst and a part of the hotel was destroyed. Without this incident, probably one of the most and famous songs of Rock music wouldn't have been recorded. And that's no other than Smoke on the Water. Another interesting information about this record (confirmed by R. Blackmore) is that a part of the guitar solo in 'Highway Star' was inspired by the 18th century composer J. S Bach.

The album contains 7 songs and almost all of them will become a 'must' in Deep Purple concerts, and secure a place in almost every Deep Purple's 'Best of' compilation in the years to come... Take a look: Smoke on the Water, Highway Star, Lazy, Never Before, Space Truckin'...

I have to admit that I was never a fan of Deep Purple, and especially in the period with Ian Gillan as the singer (I always liked David Coverdale's voice more). But this record is a cornerstone for every rock discography!

If someone would ask me to recommend the 10 first records to buy in order to start a decent Rock collection, for sure 'Machine Head' would be one of them. 4 stars

 Rubber Soul by BEATLES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1965
3.92 | 696 ratings

Rubber Soul
The Beatles Proto-Prog

Review by jamesbaldwin

4 stars "Rubber Soul" is a great album, certainly the best of the Beatles until 1965. It represents a great leap forward in the evolution of the music of the Fab4, because the pop of the Beatles here finds various arrangement solutions and it is expressed with great variety of styles . The Beatles with "Rubber Soul" invent a refined art-pop, allowing you to touch many musical styles and to start experimenting with refined sounds in the studio.

The first side in my rating has an exceptional average quality (7.86), making it one of the best in the Beatles discography. In this side, both McCartney and Lennon write 3 songs, plus a Harrison song. Start Macca with a great track rock (Drive My Car, vote 8), nice guitar riff and in the background piano chorus; "Drive my Car" goes alongside the single of Lennon "Day Tripper", just released: they are both songs based on a similar guitar riff. In Drive My Car there is also a very good ironic text, with a chorus "Beep beep yeh". Lennon responds with the dylanian "Norwegian Wood" (vote 8), excellent acoustic melancholy ballad embellished with an ironic text full of double meanings and Harrison's sitar, which for the first time appears on a Beatles album; follows a song of Beatlesian pop of McCartney, "You Wont See Me" (vote 7,5), with time to dance, accompanied by piano, good the melody of the bride: nice song, although it does not constitute anything new, it is comparable to "The Night Before" of the previous album (Help). He resumes Lennon with another folk acoustic ballad, "Nowhere Man" (vote 7,5/8), with many vocal harmonies and an excellent electric interlude. So far there are 3 Beatles classics on 4 songs. In the album the vocal harmonies touch apices never touched so far (which will be almost absent in "Revolver"), which will culminate in the single "Paperback Writer", anticipator of "Revolver".

"Think for Yourself" (vote 7,5) is a lively Harrison song characterized by the distorted bass of McCartney that gives a threatening sense to the whole piece, well structured, with interesting melodic turns, gritty, and again full of vocal harmonies - Macca could have written it. "The Word" (vote 8) is a soulful and choral soul song, a hymn to universal love, which is difficult to consider a minor piece for the energy and the charge it instills. In fact it would have been considered a pearl, as it actually is, if it had not appeared on an album full of classics. It's a contagious song, arrembante, cured a lot in the arrangement, with an excellent organ interlude played by George Martin, who from this album will be more and more present as the fifth musician. The first side closes with the fourth classic, the melodic masterpiece "Michelle" (vote 8+), with text in part French, song of love that has made epoch, bass in evidence and George's guitar solo. It's a song that cites the lenses of the vocal groups of the '50s but that does so with great inspiration and arrangement. Macca had already touched a French atmosphere with the accordion of the single "We Can Work It Out", side A along with "Day Tripper", released simultaneously with "Rubber Soul" and he will return to writing romantic songs with a French atmosphere in "Revolver" and "Magical Mystery Tour".

The second side opens with a country song sung by Ringo (What Goes On, vote 6,5), written by the new trio Lennon-McCartney- Starkey; Harrison, excluded, compensates with an excellent work on the rhythm guitar. The song is carefree, nice, Ringo style, and follows "Act Naturally" of "Help": in both discs the second side opens with a country sung by Ringo, but here are the Beatles to write it, in this case. It is one of the lightest songs on the album, in fact the least significant. Follows "Girl" (vote 8,5), the masterpiece of the album. Lennon writes a melancholy folk song with an acoustic solo of oriental guitar, which resembles the sound of the sitar; the melody, the singing and the guitar solo are beautiful.

Another acoustic folk ballad follows, "I'm Lookin Through You" (vote 6,5), which appears to be as simple as an arrangement, as happened with some of Help's songs, giving the impression of not having completed the instrumental accompaniment. The song is resumed with the insertion of the electric guitar at the end of the verses, which tries to bring it on rock themes. Follows the sixth Beatles classic, "In My Life" (vote 7,5/8), another Lennon ballad, this time with a more structured rhythm, which leaves less space for the expressiveness of the voice, also because it almost always doubled with the choirs. The song is an almost masterpiece, which reaches the climax in George Martin's baroque piano solo. We return to choral acoustics with "Wait, a song sung by both John (who prevails in the verses) and Paul (who sings alone in the bridge), with a synchronous singing in the refrain. The song brings the mood back to enthusiasm, and returns to propose vocal harmonies: the voices compensate for the poor instrumental arrangement. Probably it was written by both, with prevalence of Paul.

Harrison returns with "If I Needed Someone" (vote 7,5), which begins with Byrds-style electric guitars, an explicit country-rock quote; the song is a fine electric ballad, with choirs in the verses and a more beautiful melancholic bridge. Lennon closes the second side (where he writes 3 songs, against Paul's two songs) with another song with acoustic base (Run for Your Life, vote 7,5) but at a good pace, which shows off a rock guitar solo. Also this song gives the impression that it could have been more accurate in the arrangement. Overall the second side is more qualitatively alternate than the first, and it does not close in crescendo, however it holds very well, the whole album is marked by songs that, despite being mostly mid-tempo ballads, are very flowing, and alternate exuberance and extroversion to melancholy.

Rubber Soul is the album of the Beatles masterpiece ballads, all signed Lennon (four by Lennon plus "The Word" by both John and Paul), while McCartney contributes with a rock masterpiece ("Drive My Car") and a romantic melodic masterpiece in French style ("Michelle"). Harrison writes two very respectable songs, much better than those of "Help", which keep the average quality of the album high. It is a great album, with only two weak songs, both on the second side (What Goes On, I'm Looking Through You), which manages to revive the enthusiastic pop of the Beatles embellishing it with rock, folk, country, soul arrangement (often melancholy and acoustic) and introspective lyrics.

Medium Quality of the Songs: 7,625. Vote: 8,5. Rating: Four Stars.

 Help! by BEATLES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1965
3.44 | 482 ratings

The Beatles Proto-Prog

Review by jamesbaldwin

3 stars "Help!" is a transition album with highs and lows, which has some innovations that will develop better in the major albums. Compared to three previous Lp, "Help!" has a good number (five) of quality peaks (like "A Hard..."), but it is less homogeneous, having also several weak songs, and in general the Beatles musical style is halfway between the art-rock of the following years and the melodic vocal rock, the exuberant "Mersey beat" that dominated their music until 1964.

In "Help!" McCartney begins to have an importance close to that of Lennon (they write respectively 5 songs, but Lennon sings even in a classic rock and roll and in the film Lennon has 4 songs against 2 of Macca), and Harrison appears with two songs, one on each side, frequency that he will keep, more or less unchanged, for the rest of the Beatles discography.

The first side contains the songs of the film "Help!", which are (if we exclude "I Need you") clearly better for arrangement of those of the second side (while similar is the qualitative level), which also include two covers. The song "Help!" (vote 8) inaugurates the album making us immediately understand that the mood of the disc is much more cheerful than the previous one, and returns to be the exuberant of the debut. The lyrics of the song stride with the mood of the music, in fact, originally, "Help" was a slow song, but Lennon, in order to make a single, accelerated it. Anyway, it's a great melodic rock song in perfect Beatles style, plus a reflective text.

"The Night Before" (vote 7,5) is a beautiful song by Paul in the style of Mersey Beat, with long strophes and bridges, with the choruses in response, without a real catchy refrain. Nothing innovative but it remains a pleasant song, full of enthusiasm, which continues the rhythm and the mood of the previous (also in this case the exuberant music does not go hand in hand with the text). "You've Got To Hide your Love Away" (vote 7,5/8) is a folk song that shows Dylan's influence on Lennon, here even more evident than in some ballads of "Beatles for Sale". The song has a beautiful melody and a great sung, and it does not reach excellence only because it is too short (Dylan would have put at least 5 stanzas and would have expanded the refrain); in the final, for the first and only time in their career, a flute solo appears. "I Need You" (vote 5,5) is a song that suffers from an inappropriate arrangement. The melody does not take off, the song of Harrison is stunted and all combined with the skinny arrangement makes the track at times (in verse) unpleasant and embarrassing: it seems almost miss the music, the melody. The sound is strange: the guitar with the pedal looks like a distorted keyboard, and there is nothing left to the song, like sound, that the voice and the percussions are very much in the background. The piece recovers a bit 'in the bridge, as for rhythm, but the arrangement does not improve. It is definitely one of the least successful songs in the entire discography. "Another Girl" (vote 6,5/7) is a minor, carefree and very light song by McCartney, which brings up the rhythm of the first side but does not add anything to the beat music of the album; it highlights the Macca solo guitar, which added it by removing that of Harrison. Lennon closes the A side with two songs that raise the quality of the album. "You're Gonna Lose that Girl" (vote 7,5) is a beautiful song enthusiast with the choirs in response to the singing, a great bridge and a beautiful guitar solo. Perfect Mersey beat style but with a medium rhythm, supported by the percussions added to the drums. "Ticket to Ride" (vote 8,5), the last song of the first side, is a masterpiece rock ballad. Dry sound, great Ringo work, delicious harmonic rounds, beautiful chord sequence, excellent vocal interpretation.

The second side, quickly cohered to complete the album, presents mostly minor songs with arrangement holes but also two large pieces by McCartney. It starts with the cover country of Ringo (Act Naturally, vote 6,5/7), which all in all is pleasant in its freshness; good guitar work by Harrison, to support the rhythm. It continues with a slow song by Lennon (It's Only Love, vote 7), good melody and singing, but it is a decidedly minor piece, arranged in a discreet manner. "You Like Me Too Much" (vote 7+) is a sliding piano song by Harrison, with poor arrangement (vocals, drums, piano) and a good rhythm, but you miss the guitars, audible in the instrumental interlude, which in fact is with the bridge the best part. At this point follow, something completely unpublished so far in the discography of the Beatles, but destined to be repeated by Sgt Pepper on: three consecutive songs signed by McCartney. The first, "Tell Me What You See" (vote 6) is after "I Need You" the weakest song on the album. Blurred melody, choruses in response, poor arrangement, remember only for the instrumental piece of piano and drums that closes the verses. Just sufficient. "I've just Seen a Face" (vote 8) is an anomalous acoustic song in the Beatles production, with an intro of three guitars, a frenzied rhythm, a bluegrass style arrangement. McCartney is starting his revival work to actualize every musical style according to the Beatles pop, and here he does it with great inspiration and attitude.

"Yesterday" (vote 8,5/9) is the masterpiece of the album. For the first time the Beatles record an acoustic melodic song with accompaniment of string quartet (thanks to George Martin): sings and plays only McCartney. For the time, Yesterday is an exception, because the Beatles were a rock band, as organic, and arranged the songs as a rock band. Yesterday creates a precedent that will have great impact for the future of the group, in fact Macca since Revolver will write often retr˛ songs with symphonic arrangement that does not need drums, bass and guitar, thus creating musical sessions where he performs alone or with external musicians. This, along with the fact that the Beatles since 1966 will no longer play live, will help to create division in the group. Harrison and Lennon, on the contrary, with a few exceptions, will continue to compose music for a typical rock complex, drums, bass, two guitars, as were the Beatles in the beginning. Only in 1969, with "Let It Be" and "Abbey Road" McCartney will return to composing music, however melodic, suitable to play for a rock band.

"Dizzy Missy Lizzy" (vote 7) is a rock and roll divertissement, very exuberant for singing and guitar, but also quite repetitive. Concludes the album with energy, in crescendo. "Help" on the whole is not a homogeneous album, having many songs that repeat the worn-out Mersy beat of the beginnings, all minor or discreet, except for "Help" and the masterpiece "Ticket To Ride"; other songs are very good and add new styles or arrangements to the Beatles pieces ("You've Got ...", I've Seen ....", Yesterday), while the two covers are insignificant, placed only to add material to the album. The artistic value of the LP is affected by this lack of homogeneity, and for what counts two Beatles absolute masterpieces like "Ticket To Ride" and "Yesterday", the overall level of the album is comparable to the rock and roll of the LP of debut (average quality slightly higher) . Compared to "A Hard Day's Night", instead, I consider the album for its heterogeneity and abundance of weakest pieces, inferior in a visible way (although it has more originality of musical styles and arrangements).

Medium quality of the songs: 7,30. Vote album: 7+. Rating: Three stars.

 Beatles For Sale by BEATLES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1964
2.77 | 400 ratings

Beatles For Sale
The Beatles Proto-Prog

Review by jamesbaldwin

2 stars Fourth Beatles album, from the critics considered their worst because without a big hit ("Eight Days A Week" in America will be hit, coming out as a single); from the predominantly acoustic tone (as for A Hard ...), but also in various cases discharged, melancholic; without any substantial change compared to the previous one, if not the step back to go back to the formula of the first two albums: 8 original pieces and 6 rock and roll covers.

Beatles for Sale starts with a minor, subdued song, "No Reply" (vote 6,5), whose progress in the verse is stunted and lacking is the arrangement; as much as they follow more variations of tone and volume, up to constitute a harmoniously rather rich piece and with a good bridge, on the whole the piece is rather split, not fluent, without a great melody and with arrangement too much in the background. "I'm a Loser" (vote 8) is the best original song of the album (Dylan inspirated?), with excellent catchy folk melody, John's beautiful singing, beautiful chorus, beautiful harmonica solo and guitar, everything flows smooth and pleasant. In practice, the album seems to start with this song, after a false start. "Baby's in Black" (vote 7,5/8) is another inspired song, with beautiful vocal harmonies between John and Paul and an excellent bridge where the melody goes on high notes. Lennon sings the fourth song in a row with "Rock And Roll Music", Chuck Berry's cover (vote 8), at a whimsical pace, where the piano and the drums support a remarkable singing, completely involved in the piece, without any instrumental pause until the end; Lennon seems twisted in the song, coming to a performance similar to that of "Twist and Shout".

The sequence I'm in Loser, Baby's in Black and Rock And Roll Music is the best of the album. There follows a slow, romantic song by Macca (I'll Follow the Sun, vote 7), with a good melody, but very short and not very developed in the arrangement. The second cover, "Mr. Moonlight (vote 7+), for a long time in the Beatles repertoire, is a semi-unknown song (a B side of a 45 rpm) from the summer weather, sea and beach, with a beautiful interpretation of Lennon, an amateur organ solo of Paul. Cute. Closes the first side Paul singing a classic of Little Richard (Kansas City/ Hey Hey Hey Hey, vote 7,5), with the right grit. It is a good cover of the Beatles for the conviction of the song and arrangements.

The second side opens with "Eight Days A Week" (vote 7,5), the most famous song of the LP, written mainly by Paul but with the contribution of John. It is a song typical of their 1964 Mersey beat, cheerful, with great rhythm, acoustic rhythm guitars. Also in this case, as in some "A Hard" rock songs ... it would have helped a greater electric sound to impress the rock rhythm to the album. Note that the first voice is John's. "Words of Love" (vote 6) is a cover of Buddy Holly, and unfortunately it is neither well chosen (Holly has written many better songs) nor well arranged. Lennon sings, in a choir is not known whether with Paul or George. The song sounds rather monotonous and unconvinced. "Honey Dont" (vote 6,5) by Carl Perkins, also in this case a minor piece by its author, is sung with taste by Ringo who repeatedly calls George to perform the solo. Compared to the previous one has the merit of being more rhythmic but remains discharged as a rock and roll song. These two covers below represent the worst sequence of the album.

Here comes a song by Paul, "Every Little Thing" (vote 6,5/7), sung, however, once again by Lennon. It is not a particularly inspired song but the refrain is good, and has an interesting sound of drums, which together with the piano solo is the musical novelty of the piece. "I Do not Want To Spoil The Party" (vote 7,5/8) is the best song on the second side, a rock ballad with country influences written and sung by John, with a beautiful refrain with a double voice, a beautiful guitar solo. "What You're Doing" (vote 6,5/7) is a rock ballad mainly by McCartney supported by good rhythm and good vocal conviction; also presents two electric instrumental pieces. Pretty, but definitely minor and not very original. "Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby" (vote 7), a famous piece by Carl Perkins, played by the Beatles since the early days, is left to sing to George (usually John), who loves Perkins and takes two electric solos; as a cover, however, it sounds scholastic, unconvinced and gritty in execution, to be a very good rock and roll in the composition (in the live at the BBC is played and sung better, it results more engaged).

Overall, John wrote four songs, and sings as a regular nine-piece voice (his four, two of Paul's plus three covers, one of which, Words Of Love accompanied by Paul or George); Paul wrote four songs but sings as the first voice only in three (two of his and a cover); George and Ringo sing in a cover.

The album has some steps in the first side at the height of the previous albums, while in the second side, apart from two original songs, the average quality is also lower than "With The Beatles". BfSale can not be considered a wrong step or a very different Lp from the others, such as compositions, sounds or qualities (apart from "A Hard", which is much better); the acoustic arrangements were already present in "A Hard Day's Night", and the melancholy is not present in all the songs, besides there are at least three good original pieces and two good covers. In short, yes, It is the Beatles' less beautiful album, because it lacks a true masterpiece and only an original song is definitely good, but overall it differs little, in structure and quality, from the first two Lp.

Medium quality of the songs: 7,16; Vote: 6,5/7. Two Stars.

 Let It Be by BEATLES, THE album cover DVD/Video, 1970
3.93 | 35 ratings

Let It Be
The Beatles Proto-Prog

Review by jamesbaldwin

4 stars "Let It Be" is a documentary, an idea by McCartney, which captures the Beatles directly in the winter of 1969, while they are in studio to record their album, initially called "Get Back". As it is known, the project of the album "Get Back" fails but is resurrected in 1970 (when the Beatles have just melted) thanks to an idea by Lennon that, by calling the famous producer Phil Spector to arrange the songs, manages to convince the ex-beatles to release the album.

The atmosphere of failure is perceived well by seeing this film. The 4 beatles after the "White Album", which saw them "separated at home" to record each of his pieces, are still nervous, and not inclined to collaboration. Despite this, the quality of the musical pieces remains incredibly high. And Spector's orchestral arrangements will dramatically improve songs like "I Me Mine" and "The Long and Winding Road" and ... "Let It Be".

The song "Let It Be" which will be recorded on the 33 rpm, in fact, enjoys the production of Spector and a fantastic guitar solo of Harrison (which unfortunately is not seen in the documentary): it is much nicer than the 45 rpm version. The film ends with the concert on the roof of Apple building, where you can still see the Beatles' harmony, and listen to the other "Get Back", which ends with Lennon, who, sarcastic, hopes that the group has passed the audition. The 45 rpm version of "Get Back" will add a (beautiful) final tail to the song.

Historical document not to be missed.

 20 Greatest Hits by BEATLES, THE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1982
2.86 | 9 ratings

20 Greatest Hits
The Beatles Proto-Prog

Review by jamesbaldwin

2 stars With the Beatles you always go on the safe side, but in this compilation (published 20 years after their first success) a lot of things does not work. First of all: why is not there any song by Sgt Pepper and Abbey Road? It seems incredible that they are missing both "With A Little Help From My Friends" and "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds"; and they are missing "Something" and "Come Together" (two sides A of the same single): in this way there is no songs of Harrison. Great mistake! But also "Penny Lane" and "Strawberry Fields Forever" (great masterpiece) are missing (they are also two sides A of the same single). And this is another crime.

Note that in the US edition of "20 Greatest Hites" there are "Penny Lane" and "Come Together". Still on the subject of singles: there are both "Yellow Submarine" and "Eleonor Rigby", two sides A of the same single. And the question comes spontaneously: "Yellow Submarine"???? Please, take it off and get one of the four songs mentioned above!

Another difference with the American edition (which, you will understand, is much better) is the absence of "Eight Days a Week" and "Yesterday", two songs released as singles in the United States, where they reached the first place. Then again, why shorten "Hey Hude"? Reasons for time, I guess, but ... what a bad thing to cut it!!! Another question: why the last song is "The Ballad of John and Yoko"? It is mediocre and unimportant! You could end up with "Let It Be" (present in the US version)!

Bad selection of songs. based on the most commercial singles. Vote 6,5. Rating: Two Stars.

 1967-1970 by BEATLES, THE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1973
3.79 | 112 ratings

The Beatles Proto-Prog

Review by jamesbaldwin

5 stars The "Red album" and the "Blue album" are historical compilations (1973) that have had the function of introducing the group of Liverpool to many listeners of the most recent eras to that of the Sixties. And in fact they were among the first records I've ever listened to, and they left a mark on the Beatles' music on me.

The Red album goes from 1962 to 1966, that is up to "Revolver"; the Blue album goes from 1967 to 1970. As a collection includes the various singles of the Fab4 plus some songs that have become classics even though they have never come out as 45 laps. It is known that at that time the 45 rpm usually came out before the 33 rpm which did not contain them: in this way the groups of the Sixties showed a great respect towards the listener, because they did not want to make him listen to a song twice , first on 45 laps then on 33 laps. That's why many famous Beatles songs are not included in their albums since they only came out as 45 laps. The difficulty in making a compilation of the Beatles lies in finding the right balance between the famous songs, the hits at 45 laps that have reached the top spot in the sales charts, and the most refined, experimental songs present only in 33 laps. The Blue album tries to find this right balance. Do these two discs find it?

I guess the Blue album is close to perfection. It starts from "Strawberry Fields Forever"/"Penny Lane" (both present: excellent choice!), it continues with Sgt. Pepper, Magical Mystery Tour, White Album, Abbey Road and it ends with Let it Be, plus 45 giri. The songs taken from Pepper are the best. I miss "Mr. Kite", but there is no space, unless "Revolution" is removed. Form Magical Mystery Tour there are both "The Fool on the Hill" and "I am the Walrus": two masterpieces. The songs from White Album are the best. Excellent choice to include "Old Brown Shoe" by Harrison, side B of the 45 laps "The Ballad of John and Yoko". The only problem is the choice of Macca's "Long and Winding Road", which I would have excluded to make room for a fourth song from the White Album, for example Lennon's "Happiness is a Warm Gun". The Abbey Road long medley is missing (the best piece is the final passage, which starts from "Golden Slumbers") but in compilation like this it is difficult to insert a medley, unless you want to remove the 45 laps of success like "Hello Goodbye".... hmm... Yes, if it were up to me I would remove "Hello Goodbye" and put it as the last piece of the second disc "Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End". I would also insert the 33 laps version of "Let it Be", not the 45 laps version (which is much less beautiful).

Overall, the compilation, except for those questionable choices, find the right balance between songs number 1 on the charts and quality songs. The compilation is able to make a careful and weighted selection of the Beatles discography.

Vote: 9+. Rating: Five stars.

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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
FORD THEATRE United States
GATTCH Slovakia
GILES GILES & FRIPP United Kingdom
THE GODS United Kingdom
GUN United Kingdom
H.P. LOVECRAFT United States
JIMI HENDRIX United States
M┴QUINA! Spain
THE MOVE United Kingdom
NIRVANA United Kingdom
QUIET WORLD United Kingdom
SALAMANDER United Kingdom
THE SHIVER Switzerland
SPIRIT United States
SPOOKY TOOTH United Kingdom
SWEETWATER United States
TOMORROW United Kingdom
TOUCH United States
THE WHO United Kingdom

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