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 | 654 ratings
Beatles, The
4.54 | 384 ratings
Who, The
4.36 | 600 ratings
Beatles, The
4.31 | 685 ratings
Beatles, The
4.29 | 775 ratings
Deep Purple
4.27 | 784 ratings
Deep Purple
4.38 | 366 ratings
Who, The
4.29 | 434 ratings
Doors, The
4.14 | 511 ratings
Beatles, The
4.25 | 278 ratings
Hendrix, Jimi
4.20 | 330 ratings
Doors, The
4.13 | 468 ratings
Beatles, The
4.06 | 337 ratings
Who, The
3.93 | 298 ratings
Doors, The
3.87 | 450 ratings
Beatles, The
4.19 | 114 ratings
3.91 | 234 ratings
Hendrix, Jimi
3.99 | 165 ratings
Deep Purple
4.07 | 128 ratings
Brown Band, The Arthur
3.77 | 504 ratings
Deep Purple

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Latest Proto-Prog Music Reviews

 Live at the Isle of Wight Festival by WHO, THE album cover DVD/Video, 1998
3.60 | 9 ratings

Live at the Isle of Wight Festival
The Who Proto-Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Fourteen years ago I watched on TV the film called "Message to Love" which is about the Isle of Wight Festival of 1970. That film shows not only some songs performed by some bands, but also the violence from some parts of the audience against paying for their attendance to Rock Music Festivals and also some verbal violence against some musicians like Joni Mitchell (a very unfair thing). By 1970 some of the idealism of the sixties disappeared and some parts of the audiences saw Rock Festivals as only "money making" activities for the people who created them. In the end, the promoters of this Isle of Wight Festival had to make this 1970 Rock Festival as for "free admission" due to the violence of some parts of the audience.

There were several very good bands appearing at that Festival and in that "Message to Love" film, and also other DVDs and / or CDs have been released from some complete concerts from some bands (Jethro Tull, ELP...). And also some seven years ago I watched on TV to this film from The Who playing at that Festival. They looked somewhat sober (I think) and they did not suffer the violence of the audience, who looked very happy at the time of The Who`s apperance. The band first played some of their hits plus other not very well known songs from their repertoire. They even laughed and did some jokes (particularly done by Pete Townshend and Keith Moon), making the audience laugh too. They also played an almost complete version of their rock opera titled "Tommy". It seems that being a quartet they could not reproduce all the songs from the album live, and most of the songs from the "Tommy" album have a lot of overdubs. Anyway, it was a brave attempt by the band to try to play this rock opera live during 1969-70. And I really missed some of those overdubs. The band played an almost "raw" version of that rock opera, maybe looking a bit tired of playing it live during those years.

Rock Festivals were a fad during the late sixties and early seventies. Unfortunately, the increasing violence by some parts of the audiences made them not very attractive as jobs for the musicians and not very attractive as businesses for the promoters. In the DVD from Jethro Tull from the Isle of Wight Festival from 1970 Ian Anderson talks about his dislike of this kind of Festivals.

The quality of the images and sound is very good.

There is a dedication to Keith Moon at the end of the film, showing him doing one of his very famous jokes in front of the camera.

 The Ultimate Collection by WHO, THE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2002
4.03 | 22 ratings

The Ultimate Collection
The Who Proto-Prog

Review by Michael678

4 stars ok.... my first official album review on here, and i was on here a few months ago on the forums, but i guess this is gonna be more of a review/rating gig only, so hello again. anyway, I have known of the Who since i was a fan of GHIII (with The Seeker on that game), and it got even futher with radio stations and what not. the inclusion of these guys as prog got me even more interested to hear if they were any proggy at all. kinda here and there, but definitely revolutionary with rock operas and programmed synthesizers (as well as the live performance). all of that is represented masterfully on this double-disc compilation which was the BIG catapult into the Who for me (thank you MP3 player, lol!) it comprises the whole history of the Who from '64-'82 (I Can't Explain to Eminence Front from "It's Hard", Endless Wire didn't peep until 2006). The booklet included here has a good essay on the same thing as well as photos and more information on the individual tracks on here. My favorite tracks here include Won't Get Fooled Again (of course), Love Reign O'er Me, and Substitute to name a few, but i love them all!! even though i have no squeeze box anywhere, i can deal with this compilation any day, proving this to be the best compilation out there. Yet, im giving 4 stars to this album because nobody's perfect (except my favorite albums ever made!!!) hopefully you guys can see me somewhere else on this type of "communication" somewhat. Prog teen, over and out.
 Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming - Vavoom: Ted The Mechanic by DEEP PURPLE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1996
4.67 | 6 ratings

Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming - Vavoom: Ted The Mechanic
Deep Purple Proto-Prog

Review by Anon-E-Mouse

5 stars Deep Purple - Proto-Prog? My backside! This band has delivered more inspiration to Prog-Rock than any other on the side of Led Zeppelin. Period. That after 40 odd years this band are still going strong is no accident, they are that good.

Normally, I care little for singles and it's the first time I reflect on one. Why? Because it's that exceptionally well crafted.

Typing is a chore to me as in my advanced age my eyesight had become rather poor. My ears are still tuned to great sounds, though.

This tune is one of the finest rock anthems I've ever heard. It brings tears to my eyes every time I put it on. I just can't help it. It's that powerful in a gentle way. The live versions are even better with Steve Morse's powerful, soaring guitar solos are dominating the piece.

Great tune, worth checking out. The B-side is mediocre , but not bad.

 Silly Sally by IRON BUTTERFLY album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1971
2.05 | 2 ratings

Silly Sally
Iron Butterfly Proto-Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

2 stars A now very rare single and also a single which I never knew anything about it until yesterday I visited youtube and I found it and I could listen to both sides of it.

The other information I could find in the web about it is that it was the last single that the band released before they split in 1971, and the "A" side was even recorded without Doug Ingle who left the band. But he appears in the "B" side, which is a song taken from their 1970 album titled "Metamorphosis (with Pinera and Rhino)".

So, the "A" side, "Silly Sally" (composed by Pinera and other songwriter who was not in the band), was recorded as a quartet by Ron Bushy, Lee Dorman. Mike Pinera and Larry "Rhino" Reinhardt and without keyboards. It also includes a horns section plus backing singers. It was sung by Pinera very well and it sounds like a Rhythm and Blues song influenced by James Brown and Wilson Pickett . The lead vocals by Pinera sound to me a bit similar to John Fogerty`s vocals too, from the band "Creedence Clearwater Revival". The song really does not sound as the typical song I could expect from Iron Butterfly. I don`t know why it was released, but it seems that it only was released in this single and was totally forgotten because as long as I know it was not a Hit anywhere. Maybe it was recorded as a "contract filler" with the record label or as a last attempt from the band to "re-start" as a band without Ingle. The song is not bad but it does not sound like a song from Iron Butterfly , and it really sounds very typical from the late sixties / early seventies, and a bit dated too.

The side "B" , "Stone Believer", has Doug Ingle very present on lead vocals (shared with Pinera) and keyboards, and while it also sounds like a not very typical song from this band, Ingle`s presence make it somewhat more recognizable as a song from Iron Butterlfy. Until now I still have not yet listened to the "Metamorphoisis" album as a whole, but it seems to me that Erik Brann`s departure and replacement by two guitarists (Pinera and Rhino) made the band change their sound a lot. But the change in sound was even more drastic when Ingle left the band.

Anyway, two good songs for my taste, and maybe this single is now very hard to find. For Iron Butterfly`s more dedicated fans and collectors.

The band was going to reform many times since 1974, and with a lot of different line-ups until 2102, when Lee Dorman died. He was one of the most present members of this band in their line-ups in all their more than 40 years of existence as a band, But they released their last album (without Dorman and Ingle but with Bushy and Brann) in 1975, becoming later more a touring band than anything else.

 In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida by IRON BUTTERFLY album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.38 | 175 ratings

Iron Butterfly Proto-Prog

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Flowers and Beads

1968 was a pretty tasty year on the coast and an early peak for Iron Butterfly, an acid-rock band with a pleasantly cheesy streak. This was an album I truly did discover by rifling through my older siblings LPs and deciding I needed to "borrow" this strange titled disc. Even back in the 70s I recognized that the band felt dated and as I got older it seemed everyone liked to ridicule this album despite professing some level of affinity for it. I join with a minority of my fellow reviewers in preferring the short tracks on side one to the legendary behemoth of side two.

While the music within was nothing new by '68 and the writing less exciting than something like "Piper at the Gates", In-A-Gadda is a fine album and one that I enjoy as much today as anything by the Doors for whom they are so often compared. And while Butterfly never had the luxury of an explosive Jim Morrison at center stage, in my opinion their musicians are just as interesting. Ingle's organ sound and playing have a sinister vibe and depth to them, very cool, his playing holds my attention far more than Manzarek's endless repetitions. Erik Brann is a cool guitarist with a penchant for melodic lines and crisp, biting chord strums. Side one's short tracks are an interesting slice of psych-pop with a great period organ sound that should please any fan of the genre. Side two has some glorious moments as well, but suffers somewhat from the fact that about 10 minutes of cool music are stretched a bit much at 17 minutes. Yet its dramatic forays play out like music for an exploration, with big riffs and over-the-top organ, strange Syd-inspired screeches, effective near-silence, and even a drum solo. If you got the time, why not? Turn out the lights, kick back, and time travel back to the good days.

An easy recommendation to fans of 60s psych rock and organ rock. There is plenty of fun here if you don't take things too seriously.

 Volunteers by JEFFERSON AIRPLANE album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.56 | 66 ratings

Jefferson Airplane Proto-Prog

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars End of an era

"All your private property is target for your enemy. And your enemy is we."

Great line Paul though it does make me wonder what your bank balance is these days.

After the letdown that was "Crown of Creation" the Airplane came back with their last truly great album "Volunteers." Things had changed so fast in just a few years. Musically the band were perhaps influenced by their friends in the Dead, who had also moved from hallucinogenic explorations to a cross of harder rock tempered by a healthy dose of country-flavored hayride music. But while the Dead were happy to keep the lyrical themes mostly wide-eyed and road-ramblin', Kantner was getting angry and serving up plenty of good lefty rhetoric as noted at the top. Whatever currents were tossing them about in the chaos of this period, and it was very chaotic in the band, they managed to deliver what might be their finest work. It's certainly arguable: the Airplane's first five albums are all amazing in their own way and you can easily find people who will champion each of them as the best Airplane album. While "Volunteers" may lack the naive beauty of "Surrealistic Pillow" or the enjoyable insanity of "Baxters", it delivers some of their finest songs.

"Your worst enemy is yourself. There is no us and them. It's all us. We were very naive." -Grace

Recorded in the spring of 1969 and feeling very much like a last gasp, the album is bookended by Kantner's anthemic observations on the counterculture, "We Can Be Together" and "Volunteers" (co-written by Marty) which are very much sister tracks. They are equal parts anger and lament, trying to marshal the kids to stick together while at the same time calling for revolt. (He claims the band was not political and only commenting on what it saw.) The first is particularly effective in capturing the turbulence of what youth felt like at the time. The contrast of joy and anger is represented, musically and vocally, brilliantly by the melody and Marty and Grace's vocal. Oh my what a start! Side one then heads for Marin county for an afternoon in the country with "Good Shephard" and "The Farm." It wraps up with one of those fantastic mind-bending Grace tracks called "Hey Fredrick" with poetic lyrics and a sensual feel. Grace says the song is about doing what thou wilt when someone is saying you can't or you shouldn't. Not surprisingly Grace raises her finger again to the naysayers. Kaukonen lays some very hearty leads over the middle section. Yet again it is Slick who provides the band's most creative material.

"Turn My Life Down" was something of a quaint return to the sound of Surrealistic Pillow, the band coming full circle. The next track "Wooden Ships" is one of the best songs of the 60s, co-written by Stephen Stills, David Crosby, and Kantner. The Airplane version is far more powerful and dramatic than the earlier CSN version, which is more dreamy and laid back. Both are excellent. "Eskimo Blue Day" is another very strong tracks with superb arrangements, Grace is so powerful here belting out the vocal which deals with change in our lives. If they didn't know the classic line-up was splitting after this album then it was pure luck that had them sounding so dramatic and road wise. You can feel the "end of the road" throughout this album, lyrically and musically. Just before the climactic title track is a short instrumental interlude where Grace plays a theme song of the Soviet Army on organ. Crazy as it sounds it work perfectly. No matter how serious the world was getting this band was not going to forget to have fun. It's one reason they are remembered so fondly after so many decades.

If someone wanted to get just one Airplane album I'd still push them toward Surrealistic Pillow or Baxters. But in reality all of their 60s albums are pretty much essential to a deep rock collection--a stunningly good run for an amazing American band. You can't go wrong with albums like "Volunteers." Dryden would be gone after this album, Balin next, and the Airplane would fold not long after.

"All in all, a good time was had by all who attended."

 Help! by BEATLES, THE album cover DVD/Video, 1965
3.10 | 30 ratings

The Beatles Proto-Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

2 stars If the "A Hard Day`s Night" film showed The Beatles during a hard day of work, mostly being themselves and really not acting characters and even improvising their parts, this "Help!" film showed them in a film with a story and with them trying to act their parts in a more fixed way in that story. A story which is like a parody from the James Bond film series of the sixties, with some funny scenes, and really showing the acting limitations of the members of the band. Not as good as their first film, but made with much more budget (a film in colour, this time, and filmed in several locations in Europe and in the Bahamas), it even shows some of their wit and charisma, and only by this this film is somewhat funny, but it is maybe their less interesting film, in my opinion, even than their very underrated "Magical Mystery Tour" film from 1967.

I never have seen the films made by Elvis Presley in those years (and I really don`t want to see them), but I have read some reviews about them and they were considered as very bad in quality. I also read in a book written about The Beatles that they even did not like this "Help!" film very much, even calling it as "cardboard". I agree with them. I think that for them making this film was like doing another job that their manager had for them. So, even if they were working very hard composing songs, playing concerts, doing interviews, etc., they still had to make this film. It was the high time of the "Beatlemania" and they were working very hard recording two albums per year from 1963 to 1965, and also recording songs which only were released on singles. It is also very known now that by 1965 they have met Bob Dylan in the U.S., , who introduced them to the use of a herbal substance which they used to have some fun while doing this film. Even they mentioned it, they joked and laughed about this use in the "Anthology" video series.

 Please Please Me by BEATLES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1963
3.00 | 273 ratings

Please Please Me
The Beatles Proto-Prog

Review by Novri Leonard

4 stars Although I'm not surprised to find The Beatles is mentioned in this site but it is a bit surprise for me to find Please Please Me is included here. We may call this album is the entry point and The Beatles breakthrough to the the world of Rock n' Roll and certainly the dawn of their marvellous year. But I believe it's not their "dawn", since they had been around way before Please Please Me. They had joined forces with Tony Sheridan recording My Bonnie and done some of their recordings: Ain't She Sweet and Cry For A Shadow for instance back in 1960-1961.

From the musical side Please Please Me may be viewed as a simple straight rock n' roll/pop rock album but The Beatles never got stucked with it as they kept evolved musically to become more mature and more complex with every release they offered. So for me this album is very important if we want to see the whole picture of The Beatles and how their music grew from one album to another and another and so on until they called it a day in 1970.

I give it 4 stars, becuase eventhough it's not a materpiece but it's essential at least to myself.

 Please Please Me by BEATLES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1963
3.00 | 273 ratings

Please Please Me
The Beatles Proto-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy

3 stars Despite sounding late 50s / early 60s pop this is really an extremely important album in music history. By playing the musical game and scoring pop hits on the charts THE BEATLES found instant popularity in their native UK before conquering the rest of the world soon thereafter. This is the first step in their conquest of the music charts which allowed them the financial freedom to explore music to their hearts desire just a few years down the road which would jump start the entire musical world and allowing free-form creativity to blossom in myriad directions including progressive rock.

Despite being the debut this album has virtually zero indicators of what was to come as THE BEATLES themselves probably had zero clues of what they were to become. This album finds the band with a brand new drummer by the name of Ringo Starr fresh in the seat of the recently booted Pete Best while the famous John Lennon / Paul McCartney songwriting team was only beginning to get their engines greased and their mojo running with George Harrison in their shadow but still sneaking in a contribution or two.

This album is only half originals with the remaining being covers of various artists. This is a mixed bag. Songs I like include.... "I Saw Her Standing There", "Chains", title track, "Love Me Do", "P.S. I Love You", "Do You Want To Know A Secret", "Twist And Shout." The rest I don't like. That means half this album is good and the rest I could live without. If the album was as good as the half I like I would rate this higher but because a few of these good songs are really great early 60s pop songs and this is THE BEATLES, it seems like 3 stars is a perfect fit for this debut album even though I can't imagine not having it as a part of my greater musical collection. Only good but still very essential for me.

 Radio One by HENDRIX, JIMI album cover Live, 1988
3.17 | 3 ratings

Radio One
Jimi Hendrix Proto-Prog

Review by Anon-E-Mouse

3 stars I like Hendrix, indeed, I like him a lot, especially his live releases of which I have quite a few in my collection. Some may be more legit than others and to find out, I decided to peruse PA's Discography of Jimi's works.

I've noticed that this album had a single rating and of 5 stars. Left somewhat puzzled as I purchased this CD on release over 20 years ago, but for some reason I've let it go then. Why? Probably it didn't appeal that much in comparison with more cherished performances. Anyway, I was able to listen to these tunes again - if only for the sake of retiring that puzzle.

The record company Rycodisc were known to having re-released numerous works by Frank Zappa, including the uncut version of "Hot Rats", something that didn't fit the original LP format. Ryko have also published some "riskey" and questionable works on the side till they went out of business. This piece sits somewhere in the middle, kinda scraping the bottom of the Hendrix barrel.

The title "Radio One" refers to a live in studio broadcast by the BBC, probably around 1968. The songs are pretty compact versions of early Hendrix hits. No sign of stretching out no Band of Gypsys here. One may wonder if the band were asked to keep things radio friendly?

Some tracks were sung by other than Jimi - for better or worse. You can be the judge. The CD would suit collectors more than people with a library of Hendrix's early works. It's not a bad performance at all, only superficial when compared with other releases.

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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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