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 | 699 ratings
Beatles, The
4.48 | 411 ratings
Who, The
4.36 | 638 ratings
Beatles, The
4.30 | 860 ratings
Deep Purple
4.32 | 731 ratings
Beatles, The
4.28 | 866 ratings
Deep Purple
4.36 | 396 ratings
Who, The
4.30 | 464 ratings
Doors, The
4.15 | 548 ratings
Beatles, The
4.21 | 352 ratings
Doors, The
4.12 | 497 ratings
Beatles, The
4.23 | 305 ratings
Hendrix, Jimi
3.99 | 369 ratings
Who, The
3.96 | 322 ratings
Doors, The
3.87 | 476 ratings
Beatles, The
3.92 | 257 ratings
Hendrix, Jimi
4.12 | 124 ratings
3.94 | 208 ratings
Deep Purple
4.07 | 135 ratings
Brown Band, The Arthur
3.75 | 573 ratings
Deep Purple

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Latest Proto-Prog Music Reviews

 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
2.89 | 26 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
4.18 | 44 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.
 Beatles For Sale by BEATLES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1964
2.70 | 271 ratings

Beatles For Sale
The Beatles Proto-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Prog Reviewer

2 stars THE BEATLES were the hottest act in musical history at this point and Beatlemania was showing no signs of cooling off any time soon. Like many early 60s releases FOR SALE was the title for the UK release not seeing a US release until 1987 (but the US would see a slightly reworked version called BEATLES 65.) This was the point when the band was a victim of its own success. The constant touring and release of a new album every six months depleted the band's original songs and because of record company pressure the Fab Four were pretty much forced to cough up another album right after "Hard Day's Night." With very little original material to supply the band reverted back to covering 50s songs only unlike those on the first couple of albums, most of these tracks seem stale and like a retrograde instead of an energized attempt at refreshing their sound.

Personally I find this the weakest album in the entire BEATLES discography. It just feels forced. There are a few tracks like "No Reply" that are up to snuff, but even the single "Eight Days A Week" is one of my least favorite BEATLES hits. The covers are fairly boring and overall this album just feels unnecessary. There are some firsts in the BEATLES evolutionary path here. The band had their only cover song hit #1 in Australia with Chuck Berry's "Rock And Roll Music" and John Lennon was incorporating personal experience as the basis for songwriting as heard in "I'm A Loser" showing his influence from hanging out with Bob Dylan. This album isn't a total waste of time but it's nevertheless the one that I find myself rarely wanting to put on. Luckily things would only get better from here. 2.5 rounded down

 Silver Apples  by SILVER APPLES album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.21 | 11 ratings

Silver Apples
Silver Apples Proto-Prog

Review by Lear'sFool

4 stars It was 1968, and all the world knew of electronic music was Stockhausen, Delia Derbyshire's theme song for "Doctor Who", and that weird little instrument Brian Wilson played on "Good Vibrations" - that is, the Electro- Theremin, originally put down by Paul Tanner in the studio. Then an Armenian American calling himself simply Simeon put together a band through which he wished to explore electronic sounds in a psychedelic context. Forced by monetary concerns to thumb his nose at Moog's original modulator, he took a few '40's era oscillators and over time built an extensive set. This alienated all but talented and loyal drummer Dan Taylor, and they ended up cutting a couple of records. As a result, we can thank them for White Noise, Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk, Throbbing Gristle, New Order, Aphex Twin, Massive Attack, Underworld, Nimh, and Com Truise. They managed to use Simeon's beloved electronic sounds to make some wonderful psychedelic music, especially as supported by Taylor's own vast drumset, played like Hephaestus at his forge. It's smooth, light, unique stuff that takes a listener on a relaxing yet alien journey. There is nothing else like this in all music, especially in light of the particular oscillators used to create it, with the unique sound they gave. This is also the font of electronic music in a more popular context, something even the masterful "United States of America" couldn't hope to achieve on its own. Of all of psychedelia's albums, this, "Sgt Pepper's", and "Electric Ladyland" had to be the three particularly forward thinking and influential albums. And, though not quite as good as Joe Byrd's and White Noise's work in proto-pop- electro, it is still great. A unique, wonderful, required listen.
 Valleys Of Neptune by HENDRIX, JIMI album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.07 | 41 ratings

Valleys Of Neptune
Jimi Hendrix Proto-Prog

Review by Argonaught

3 stars What can I say? A musically mediocre album, composed of a dozen previously unreleased (if i am not mistaken) tracks that had been recorded by some of the finest musicians of their time.

I do not know if the tracks were processed and "ameliorated" digitally around the time this particular collection was released, but, whichever way - the sound quality is very good. I have this album on a double LP, which has a nice solid feel to it and sports very impressive album art to boot.

If this was on a CD with a lousy jewel case, it would never get more than 2 stars from me, being no more that an inconsequential collector's item for those who hunt for every piece of music that Jimi Hendrix can be heard on.

 Absolutely Live by DOORS, THE album cover Live, 1970
3.69 | 59 ratings

Absolutely Live
The Doors Proto-Prog

Review by Novri Leonard

4 stars I began to know and explored this band far too late. I believe it was in 1993 when I bought my first The Doors cassette and I was stunned with their music. They were quite unique as they didn't have a (permanent) bass player and the role of bass as rhythm was taken over by the organist Mr. Ray Manzarek. For me it was very odd, cause I know there are bands that don't have any guitar player or don't have keyboard player but a band with no bass player? It's weird for me until I know The Doors...

Anyway, I bought the cassette of this album back in 1995 or 1996. I felt this "live" album was a bit different from others when I heard it for the fisrt time. I felt like beng there among the crowd. This album is so organic and so "alive". Songs like "Petition The Lord With Prayer" and "The Celebration Of The Lizard" are among my favourites.

 Tommy by WHO, THE album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.99 | 369 ratings

The Who Proto-Prog

Review by Slartibartfast
Prog Reviewer

3 stars While I have been familiar with the music on this album for many years, I never got a copy of it, or any other The Who album for that matter. It's not that I dislike The Who, it's just that I never felt the need to have any of their albums in my collection. My brother in law was giving away some CDs recently before putting them up for sale and this was one of them. So now I have a The Who album in my collection, and if it were to be just one, this would be it.

Originally released in 1969, it can lay claim to being one of the first concept albums,. It has also been hailed as a rock opera. Musically, it is fairly proggy most of the time and for that it is a welcomed addition to my collection.

On to the problems I have with this album...

The incoherent storyline. Tommy is apparently born in 1921 but somehow winds up the 1960's and is still a kid when he would be in his '40's. Either The Who can't do math or they were on some really good drugs. The child molester. Really? Does this actually add anything to the story? The gratuitous acid queen. Really? LSD is a visual experience. Tommy is supposedly blind, or maybe he's just faking it. Like being a kid when he is still in his '40's. The operatic bits. Really? Probably the worst parts of the album musically.

I could have given this album four stars, but have to shave off a point for the stuff mentioned above.

 Now What?! by DEEP PURPLE album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.94 | 208 ratings

Now What?!
Deep Purple Proto-Prog

Review by aglasshouse

4 stars I'll admit it- I've never really listened to much Deep Purple until I gave a listen to their 2013 album. I've heard these guys well perceived by critics over the years, and just a little while ago decided to check them out. I gotta say, I was also impressed. But I knew; I couldn't review a band after just listening to a 2013 album, I had to go way on back to their heyday in order to juxtapose this album with the classics.

And after listening, this song is up there. I mean, an album like Stormbringer (which I enjoyed), or Machine Head could not be compared to. It is obviously hard to match work from forty-three years ago when these guys were in their prime. Although I must say that their sound seems much more raw then their classic works. Not to mention they use much more synth on the release as opposed to the simple smashing of hard rocking that you'd see on In Rock (my favorite of all). It may be some sort of pattern that these old bands, once their out of their huge popularity heyday, that they come back with sound that is backed up by other affects in order to support their music which has dulled. Not to say that this dulls their music very much, in fact if you listen to the song 'Weirdestan', you'd swear you were listening to a classic Deep Purple track. Overall, there is a sound of hard rocking that still remains, and it is quite nice, maybe even nicer than some of their older albums.

So, if you are a fan of "classic metal", or Deep Purple for that matter, this is a definite release for you to check out.

Go give it a listen.

 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by BEATLES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1967
4.32 | 731 ratings

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
The Beatles Proto-Prog

Review by drubella

5 stars Not much can be said about Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band in a review that hasn't already been covered in great detail in books. The only thing left to do is throw in my 2 cents. This album changed the way people thought about popular music. Not just the average radio listener, but musicians and aspiring musicians as well. It made it possible for people to hear pop music as more than just throwaway singles, but as an album as a whole. None of the songs were ever released as singles. The first real concept album. Even the cover art reflects the content that lies within. In my opinion, no other album splintered the rock genre into so many other sub-genres. Obviously, other factors and bands were involved to form more specialized factions of rock, but, I believe this album was the catalyst. It opened up a lot of people's eyes to something possible beyond the two and a half minute pop song. It didn't hurt either that being the most popular band in the world made it easier to get a concept album out to a large amount of people. Some of who might not have listened to The Beatles otherwise, either because they listened to a more sophisticated style of music or because the "I Want to Hold Your Hand" crowd hated it..
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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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