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Progressive Rock

Progressive rock, also referred to as prog rock, prog-rock, or simply prog, is a rock music subgenre which originated in the United Kingdom, with further developments in Germany, Italy, and France, throughout the mid to late 1960s and 1970s. Developing from psychedelic rock, progressive rock originated, similarly to art rock, as a British attempt to give greater artistic weight and credibility to rock music. Progressive rock intended to break the boundaries of traditional rock music by bringing in a greater and more eclectic range of influences, including free-form and experimental compositional methods, as well as new technological innovations.
It was mostly characterized by the break-up of the classic 3-minute song, replaced by long ''suites'' sometime as long as a whole LP side, rife with symphonic influences, extended and diluted musical themes, fantasy-like ambience and lyrics, and ample, very rich (sometimes defined by critics as "overblown") sounds and productions.

Progressive rock saw a high level of popularity throughout the 1970s, especially in the middle of the decade, with bands such as Pink Floyd, Yes, King Crimson, Genesis, and Emerson, Lake & Palmer being the most recognizable champions of the style, and a galaxy of lesser acts revolving around the genre; at some point, even acts already known for different styles, such as Jethro Tull and Deep Purple were associated with it. Battling in popularity with the glam rock movement, ''prog'' (as it was commonly referred to) started to fade in popularity by the second half of the decade, with the rawer and more minimalistic punk rock growing in popularity.Allmusic website, [http://www.allmusic.com/style/prog-rock-ma0000002798 about prog-rock], retrieved: 9/16/2012 Nevertheless, progressive rock bands were able to achieve commercial success well into the 1980s, albeit with changed lineups and more compact song structures. By the turn of the 21st century, it witnessed a revival, often known as new prog, and has, ever since, enjoyed a cult following. The genre has influenced several other styles, ranging from krautrock to neo-classical metal; it has also fused with several other forms of rock music to create sub-genres, including progressive metal.


Progressive rock is not crisply delineated from other genres, but is more likely than other types of popular music to feature characteristics such as:


Progressive rock songs either avoid common popular music song structures of verse-chorus form, or blur the formal distinctions by extending sections or inserting musical interludes, often with exaggerated dynamics to heighten contrast between sections. Classical forms are often inserted or substituted, sometimes yielding entire suites, building on the traditional medleys of earlier rock bands. Progressive rock songs also often have extended instrumental passages, marrying the classical solo tradition with the improvisational traditions of jazz and psychedelic rock. All of these tend to add length to progressive rock songs, which may last longer than twenty minutes.[http://www.progarchives.com/Progressive-rock.asp#definition progarchives.com, A definition of Progressive Rock Music]


Early progressive rock groups expanded the timbral palette of the then-traditional rock instrumentation of guitar, keyboard, bass guitar, and drums by adding instruments more typical of jazz or folk music, such as flute, saxophone, timpani, and violin, and more often than not used electronic keyboards, synthesizers, and electronic effects. Some instruments – most notably the Hammond organ, the Moog synthesizer, and the Mellotron – have become closely associated with the genre.


Drawing on their classical, jazz, folk and experimental influences, progressive rock artists are more likely to explore complex time signatures such as 5/8 and 7/8.

Tempo, key and time signature changes are very common in progressive rock. Progressive rock generally tends to be freer in its rhythmic approach than other forms of rock music. The approach taken varies, depending on the band, but may range from regular beats to complex time signatures.

Melody and harmony

In progressive rock, the blues inflections of mainstream rock are often discarded. Progressive bands drew inspiration from a wide range of genres, ranging from classical to jazz, and, in later works, world music.

The genre abandoned many of rock's traditional characteristics, including a standard verse-chorus structure, and often replaced the electric guitar with more layered and complex instrumentation to create longer compositions.

Melodies are more likely to be modal than based on the pentatonic scale, and are more likely to comprise longer, developing passages than short, catchy ones. Chords and chord progressions may be augmented with 6ths, 7ths, 9ths, and compound intervals.

Concept albums

Concept albums are albums that are built around a theme or a story, and they are common to progressive rock.

Concept albums may have included the historical, fantastical, and metaphysical, and even, in the case of Jethro Tull's ''Thick as a Brick'' (1972), parodying of concept albums.

Concept albums became popular after the releases of the Mothers of Invention's ''Freak Out!'' (1966), the Beach Boys' ''Pet Sounds'' (1966), The Beatles' ''Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band'' (1967), The Who's ''The Who Sell Out'' (1967) and The Moody Blues' ''Days of Future Passed'' (1967).

Notable progressive rock concept albums include Emerson, Lake & Palmer's ''Tarkus'' (1971), Pink Floyd's ''The Dark Side of the Moon'' (1973), ''Wish You Were Here'' (1975), ''Animals'' (1977), ''The Wall'' (1979), Yes' ''Tales from Topographic Oceans'' (1973), Genesis' ''The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway'' (1974), and Jethro Tull's ''Thick as a Brick'' (1972).

Lyrical themes

Progressive rock bands tend to avoid typical rock/pop subjects such as love, dancing, etc. Unlike other rock genres, they also deliberately avoid typical themes appealing to youth such as sex, violence, nihilism, rebellion, and the macabre., rather inclining towards the kinds of themes found in classical literature, fantasy, science fiction, folklore, social commentary or all of these.

For example, Peter Gabriel of Genesis often wrote surreal stories to base his lyrics around, sometimes including theatrical elements with several characters, while Roger Waters of Pink Floyd combined social criticism with personal struggles with greed, madness and death.

One side epics

One side epics probably had their birth in the The Mothers of Invention album Absolutely Free, which featured one epic composition in each side of the record ("Absolutely Free" and "The M.O.I. American Pageant"), each one divided in smaller songs. Even earlier, in 1966, Freak Out! featured the multi-part song The Return of the Son of Monster Magnet occupying the whole Side four of the album. Other early examples include the 17 minute epic "In Held 'Twas in I" by Procol Harum, Ars Longa Vita Brevis by The Nice, and "Rivmic Melodies", by Soft Machine. A perfect example of the marriage of rock and classical themes is the Song of Scheherazade by Renaissance.
The earliest one side epic from an already famous band, was released in 1969, when the Beatles included the 16 minute Abbey Road Medley on the Abbey Road album.

Soon later bands like Pink Floyd, Yes, Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Genesis began to use this technique for later compositions such as "Echoes", "Close to the Edge", "Tarkus", and "Supper's Ready", respectively. Some artists pushed the limit to the whole album, as Jethro Tull did with ''Thick as a Brick'' (1972) and ''A Passion Play'' (1973) or Mike Oldfield did with ''Tubular Bells'' (1973).

Use of the synthesizer

The 1968 Album Switched-On Bach by Wendy Carlos was the "true breakthrough" demonstrating the instrument's versatility and legitimacy. Progressive rock (and Jazz Rock) keyboardists of the early 1970s often chose to use many synthesizers to maximize the variety of timbre in the album. These keyboardists would often use the right hand to "play" the instrument and use the left hand to turn various knobs and wheels to alter and modulate their sound. Progressive rock's keyboardist use of solos and "rapid runs" led to a change of public perception of the keyboard to a masculine instrument from the feminine perception it was when the piano was the primary keyboard instrument.



Soft Machine, one of the earliest progressive rock bands. (left to right, Elton Dean, Mike Ratledge, Robert Wyatt and Hugh Hopper)
Allmusic cites Bob Dylan's poetry, The Mothers of Invention's ''Freak Out!'' (1966) and The Beatles' ''Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band'' (1967) as the "earliest rumblings of progressive and art rock", while ''progressiverock.com'' cites the latter as its "starting point". The Beach Boys' concept album ''Pet Sounds'' (1966) and Jefferson Airplane's second album ''Surrealistic Pillow'' (1967) were both big influences for many progressive rock bands.

From the mid-1960s The Left Banke, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Beach Boys had pioneered the inclusion of harpsichords, wind and string sections on their recordings to produce a form of Baroque rock. This type of rock can be heard in singles like Procol Harum's "A Whiter Shade of Pale" (1967), with its Bach inspired introduction.J. S. Harrington, ''Sonic Cool: the Life & Death of Rock 'n' Roll'' (Milwaukee, WI: Hal Leonard Corporation, 2003), ISBN 0-634-02861-8, p. 191.

''Freak Out!'', released in 1966, had been a mixture of progressive rock, garage rock and avant-garde layered sounds. In the same year, the band "1-2-3", later renamed Clouds, began experimenting with song structure, improvisation, and multi-layered arrangements.

In March of that year, The Byrds released "Eight Miles High", a pioneering psychedelic rock single with lead guitar heavily influenced by the jazz soloing style of John Coltrane. Later that year, The Who released "A Quick One While He's Away", the first example of the rock opera form, and considered by some to have been the first prog epic.

In 1967, Jeff Beck released the single "Beck's Bolero", inspired by Maurice Ravel's ''Bolero'', and, later that year, Procol Harum released the Bach-influenced single "A Whiter Shade of Pale". Also in 1967, the Moody Blues released ''Days of Future Passed'', combining classical-inspired orchestral music with traditional rock instrumentation and song structures. Pink Floyd's first album, ''The Piper at the Gates of Dawn'', contained the nearly ten-minute improvisational psychedelic instrumental "Interstellar Overdrive".

By the late 1960s, many rock bands had begun incorporating instruments from classical and Eastern music, as well as experimenting with improvisation and lengthier compositions. East of Eden, for example, used Eastern harmonics and instruments such as a sumerian saxophone on the album ''Mercator Projected'' in 1969. Soft Machine began to experiment with rock and jazz.

By the end of the decade some bands, such as Deep Purple and The Nice, had recorded classical-influenced albums with full orchestras: ''Concerto for Group and Orchestra'' and ''Five Bridges''. This use of classical music would crystallize in the 1970s with Amon Düül II's orchestral score on ''Made in Germany'' (1975), Pink Floyd's ''Atom Heart Mother'' (1970), and several works of Frank Zappa.

Early bands

Pink Floyd playing "The Dark Side of the Moon" at Earls Court, 1973
Bands formed in the 1960s included The Moody Blues (1964), Pink Floyd (1965), Soft Machine (1966), Barclay James Harvest (1966), Gong (1967), Genesis (1967), Jethro Tull (1967), The Nice (1967), Procol Harum (1967), The United States of America (1967), Van der Graaf Generator (1967), Yes (1968), Rush (1968), Caravan (1968), Eloy (1969), King Crimson (1969), Supertramp (1969), Renaissance (1969), Uriah Heep (1969) and Gentle Giant (1969).


By this time, a lot of already-famous bands seemed to jump on the prog-rock bandwagon, unless they were jumping on the other great musical trend of the era, glam rock. By 1970 rock had fully blossomed into a well-developed genre with some maturity and a lot of options within reach; it had detached itself once and for all from pop music especially by breaking the classic 3-minute song barrier and indulging in more than mere entertainment, introducing introspection and prospecting new musical territories.
From 1973 to 1976, also, the aforementioned major progressive bands put on elaborated stage shows, thus moving away from their original ethos of "music first". E.L.P. and Genesis, in particular, were notorious for their inventive, over-the-top stage arrangements that included rotating keyboards, explosions, huge theatrical props and elaborate costumes and disguises.

Prog rock outside Britain

Although progressive rock came to be appreciated overseas almost as well, it mostly remained a European, and especially British, style, with very few American bands engaging in it and only for short bouts. Kansas was one of them, Todd Rundgren with his new band Utopia was another, and Toronto's Rush, who formed in 1968, introduced a more modern form of progressive well into the late 1970s when it had already waned across the ocean.
The genre grew very popular in continental Europe, especially Italy, France, and Holland. Italian progressive rock is an important sub-genre led by PFM, Le Orme, and Banco, all of which gained significant international recognition. Other notable Italian bands include New Trolls, Area, Goblin, Il Balletto di Bronzo and Area.
Triumvirat led Germany's significant progressive rock movement, while Tangerine Dream, Faust, Can and Neu! led the related Berlin School and Krautrock movements.
Golden Earring, Earth and Fire, Focus and Trace formed in the Netherlands.
France produced Ange, Gong (a band that in fact featured British, French and Australian members), and Magma. the Quebec-based Harmonium were one of the first significant Canadian progressive bands, and Greece saw the debut of Aphrodite's Child led by electronic music pioneer and future movie soundtrack composer Vangelis, who became immensely successful from 1980 onwards as a solo artist. Spain produced numerous prog groups, including Triana. Scandinavia was represented by Norwegian band Popol Vuh, Swedish band Kaipa, and Finnish bands Wigwam and Tasavallan Presidentti.

In Australia, a number of progressive rock bands made their mark in the late 1960s, including Tamam Shud, Tully and Khavas Jute. In Japan, Osamu Kitajima's 1974 progressive rock album ''Benzaiten'', featuring Haruomi Hosono, used electronic music instruments such as a synthesizer and drum machine.

The end of the classic progressive era

Drummer Carl Palmer of Emerson, Lake & Palmer performing at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, Feb. 3, 1978
Between 1975 and 1976, four of the biggest bands in progressive rock —Yes, Emerson, Lake & Palmer (ELP), Genesis and King Crimson— each either ceased performing or changed major personnel. Members of Yes and ELP left to pursue solo work, as did Genesis's lead singer Peter Gabriel (though Genesis would continue with Phil Collins as lead vocalist). Lead guitarist Robert Fripp announced the end of King Crimson after the ''Red'' album was released (although he reformed the band with different lineups several times in the following years). When, in 1977, Yes and ELP re-grouped, they enjoyed moderate success but did not retain their previous popularity. Genesis started a new chapter in their musical style, which moved dramatically away from the theatrical rock epics of their origins, and most other prog acts either dissolved, dwindled in fame and fortune or moved to other styles as well.

Bruce Eder claims that "the rot" in progressive rock "started to set in during 1976, the year Emerson, Lake & Palmer (ELP) released their live album ''Welcome Back My Friends''". Eder claims that this album was "suffering from poor sound and uninspired playing" which "stretched the devotion of fans and critics even thinner." He claims that "the end [of progressive rock] came quickly: by 1977, the new generation of listeners was even more interested in a good time than the audiences of the early 1970s, and they had no patience for 30 minute prog-rock suites or concept albums based on Tolkienesque stories." He asserts that by the late 1970s and early 1980s, "ELP was barely functioning as a unit, and not producing music with any energy; Genesis was redefining themselves ... as a pop-rock band; and Yes was back to doing songs running four minutes ... and even releasing singles."

Despite the view that progressive rock and punk rock which emerged in the second half of the 1970s are stylistic opposites, some of the most musically proficient bands which emerged in the aftermath of punk, such as Siouxsie and the Banshees, Japan, Cabaret Voltaire, Ultravox, Oingo Boingo, Simple Minds, and Wire, did show some influence of prog, as well as their more usually recognized punk influences.

1980s revitalization

Canadian band Rush, performing in 2004. (left to right Alex Lifeson, Geddy Lee and Neil Peart)

The early 1980s saw a revitalization of progressive rock, as established acts renewed themselves and new artists appeared. The period's progressive music has been called "neo-progressive rock". Many 1980s progressive bands were influenced by minimalism, world music, and the New Wave. The digital synthesizer became a prominent instrument.

In 1981, guitarist Fripp and drummer Bill Bruford re-formed King Crimson with two Americans, the guitarist and singer Adrian Belew and the bassist Tony Levin; Belew had worked with art rockers Frank Zappa and David Bowie, while Levin had worked with Peter Gabriel. Beyond having new electronic instruments —such as Bruford's electronic drums, Levin's Chapman Stick, and Belew and Fripp's MIDI guitar synthesizers— the re-formed King Crimson featured tightly interconnected minimalist instrumentals, a sound that borrowed from gamelan as well as the dance music of the New Wave. Gamelan and minimalism also influenced Brian Eno (who had worked with Fripp and Bowie, following his work with Roxy Music) and Talking Heads (who had worked briefly with Fripp and extensively with Eno and Belew).

Some progressive rock stalwarts changed musical direction, simplifying their music and making it more commercially viable. Containing members of major prog-acts from the 1970s, the supergroup Asia debuted with a mainstream rock-oriented album. Asia's commercial success demonstrated popular demand for a more radio-friendly British progressive rock, which could combine progressive rock with hard rock, also following the North-American Top-40 bands such as Styx, Journey, and Rush. Genesis performed short catchy singles that were heard by and appealed to a larger audience during the 1980s, as did Yes with its comeback album entitled ''90125'', which featured their only US number-one single, "Owner of a Lonely Heart". These radio friendly North American acts were later dubbed "Prog Lite" by popular music scholar Kevin Holm-Hudson."Are We Not New Wave? Modern Pop at the Turn of the 1980 by Theo Cateforis p 154-159 2011 ISBN 978047215556 University of Michigan Press

A new generation of neo-progressive bands appeared, such as Marillion, UK, Twelfth Night, IQ, Pendragon, Quasar, Solstice and Pallas. Neo-prog continued to remain viable into the 1990s and beyond with bands like Arena and Jadis.

1990s and 2000s

Progressive metal

The progressive rock genre enjoyed another revival in the 1990s. A notable impetus to this revival was the 1991 foundation of the Swedish Art Rock Society, an association created to rescue the values of classic progressive rock, with Pär Lindh as chairman. This society was a catalyst for new Swedish bands such as Anekdoten, Änglagård, Landberk and Pär Lindh Project, which joined the scene between 1992 and 1994. These bands became part of progressive rock's "Third Wave", spearheaded by Sweden's The Flower Kings, the UK's Porcupine Tree, Norway's White Willow, and from the United States, Dream Theater, Spock's Beard, Echolyn, Ten Jinn, Proto-Kaw (a reincarnation of an early lineup of Kansas), and Glass Hammer. Arjen Anthony Lucassen's Ayreon project, featuring the backing of an array of talent from the progressive rock genre, produced a series of innovative prog-metal concept albums starting from 1995.

Several of the bands in the prog-metal genre —U.S. bands Queensrÿche, Fates Warning, and Dream Theater, as well as Sweden's Opeth— cite pioneer progressive hard-rockers Rush as a primary influence, although their music also exhibits influences from more traditional metal and rock bands such as Black Sabbath and Deep Purple. Tool (U.S.) have cited pioneers King Crimson as an influence on their work. King Crimson opened for Tool on their 2001 tour and expressed admiration for the group while continuing to deny the "prog" label.[http://www.guitarplayer.com/story.asp?sectioncode=4&storycode=4206 Eyes Wide Open]

Progressive rock has also served as a key inspiration for genres such as post-rock, post-metal, avant-garde metal, power metal, neo-classical metal and symphonic metal. Former Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy has acknowledged that the prominent use of progressive elements and qualities in metal is not confined to bands conventionally classified as "progressive metal". Many underground metal styles (especially extreme metal styles, which are characterized by extremely fast or slow speed, high levels of distortion, a technical or atmospheric, epic orientation and often highly unusual melodies, scales, vocal styles, song structures and, especially in death metal, abrupt tempo, key and time signature changes; folk metal is known for often employing uncommon instruments and other unusual elements) and some seminal bands such as Watchtower, Death, Celtic Frost (a band having pioneered several styles) or The 3rd and the Mortal remain poorly known even to genre fans.

Former members of the pioneering post-hardcore band At the Drive-In, Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, went on to form The Mars Volta, a successful progressive band (often tagged as Progressive Alternative or progressive post-hardcore) that incorporates jazz, funk, punk rock, Latin music, and ambient noise into songs that range in length from a few minutes to more than thirty. They achieved some crossover success with their 2005 album ''Frances the Mute'', which reached number 4 on the Billboard 200 chart after the single "The Widow" became a hit on modern rock radio. Coheed and Cambria are another band known for their lengthy solos and off-the-beaten-path songwriting direction, in which each song corresponds to an important event in the graphic novel and novel series, ''The Amory Wars'', which was written by lead singer/guitarist Claudio Sanchez. Other successful mainstream rock bands, including Radiohead and Muse have been cited in the mainstream press as inheritors of the progressive rock mantle, along with Pure Reason Revolution, The Mystery Jets, Nude, Warpaint, and Mew.

New prog

''New prog'' (also known as nu prog or post-prog) is a term that appeared around the mid-2000s to describe a number of alternative and experimental bands who incorporated elements from progressive rock or had an expansive, musically diverse, approach to their music in a way that has been identified to be progressive, but using a more musically contemporary template. Notable musical groups described as post-prog or new prog included 30 Seconds to Mars; Anathema; Coheed and Cambria; Mew; Muse; Mystery Jets; Oceansize, Pure Reason Revolution; Chiodos and The Mars Volta.

The first decade of the 2000s saw progressive rock gain popularity in eastern Europe, especially in Russia, where the InProg festival was founded in 2001 and bands like Little Tragedies, EXIT project, Kostarev Group and Disen Gage achieved relative success in the Russian rock scene and were also noted outside Russia. Other notable north and eastern European bands are the Danish band Prime Time, the Turkish band Nemrud, the Latvian band Olive Mess, the Finnish band Jeavestone, Lithuanian The Skys and the Polish band Riverside. In Spain, the most outstanding bands are Triana, Bloque, Iceberg, Los Canarios, Galadriel or Numen. In Asia, some progressive rock bands such as the Uzbek band FromUz were also founded.


Progressive rock has seen a resurgence in popularity with the introduction of the Progressive Music Awards, which have brought older prog rock artists like Genesis, Renaissance, Yes, The Moody Blues and Emerson, Lake and Palmer to modern audiences.

Alternatively, fusion genres of progressive rock such as progressive metal have seen a steady rise in popularity in both the underground and mainstream music scenes in recent years.


Renewed interest in progressive rock in the 1990s led to the development of festivals. ProgFest, organized by Greg Walker and David Overstreet in 1993, was first held in UCLA's Royce Hall, and featured Sweden's Änglagård, the UK's IQ, Quill and Citadel. A festival called CalProg is held every year at Whittier, California in Los Angeles. NEARfest held its first event in 1999 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and has held annual concerts ever since.

Since 2003, many artists from the progressive scene have appeared at Gouveia Art Rock in Portugal: Van der Graaf Generator, Peter Hammill, Robert Fripp, Tony Levin, Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM), Richard Sinclair, Amon Düül II, Present, Univers Zero, Daevid Allen, Mike Keneally, Isildurs Bane, California Guitar Trio, and Miriodor.

Other festivals include the annual Rites of Spring Festival (RoSfest) in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, The Rogue Independent Music Festival in Atlanta, Georgia, Baja Prog in Mexicali, Mexico, ProgPower USA in Atlanta, Georgia and ProgPower Europe in Baarlo, Netherlands. Progressive Nation was held in 2008, featuring progressive metal bands Dream Theater, Opeth, Between the Buried and Me, and Three. Progressive Nation 2009 was held the following year featuring Zappa Plays Zappa, Bigelf, and Scale the Summit touring across the United States and Canada, as well as an additional international tour.


The genre has received both a great amount of critical acclaim and criticism throughout the years. Progressive rock has been described as parallel to the classical music of Igor Stravinsky and Béla Bartók;[http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/970056913-2444550/content~db=all~content=a751220894 Informaworld.com], Covach, John. "Echolyn and American Progressive Rock." Contemporary Music Review 18.4 (1999):Web. nonetheless, its grandiose themes have often been criticized for being over-the-top, and in many ways, the simplicity of punk grew out of a reaction against the elaborate nature of progressive rock.

Progressive rock's popularity peaked in the mid-1970s, when prog artists regularly topped reader polls in mainstream popular music magazines in Britain, the whole of Europe and, to a lesser extent, in America, and albums like Mike Oldfield's ''Tubular Bells'' topped the charts.
Although reasonably appreciated in the U.S., American bands were not into it, and most of the acts of the genre charting in America were British, or European. Very few American bands engaged in progressive rock before the mid-1990s, when new prog and prog metal became a sufficiently viable, commercially fruitful niche in the U.S.
The vast majority of fans of the genre have always been white males. During the genre's 1970s heyday audiences were reserved in their behavior tending to sit and intently concentrate on the performance. This contrasted with more overt and emotional reactions of audiences of other rock music styles.

In the late 1970s, Great Britain was going through difficult times due to a poor economy, frequent strikes and shortages. With its exotic, literary topics, much of progressive rock was by then dismissed by British youth. Punk rock, a simpler and more aggressive style of rock that emerged in this era, determined to push ''dinosaur''rock (as it was dubbed at the time) back to 3 chords/12 - bar blues, and disco, which also emerged during this period both helped move critical opinion and popular support in the UK away from progressive rock, ending the genre's reign as a leading style there.

By the end of the 1970s progressive rock had fallen into disrepute. It was dismissed as overblown, pretentious and elitist. Fans were embarrassed to publicly admit they liked an act associated with the genre and some record stores stocked progressive rock acts in the back of the store sans labels.

However, established progressive bands still had a strong fan base.BBC Prog Rock Britannia 2008 Also, bands such as Genesis, Emerson, Lake & Palmer (ELP), Yes, and Pink Floyd regularly released albums that attained the top ten and were followed by massive tours, the largest yet for some of them such as Pink Floyd's 1980 ''The Wall'' tour.

Only a handful of the major prog-rock acts of the 1970s, and virtually none of the minor ones, survived the 1979/1980 markline. Those who did had gradually changed their style in the course of a few albums to meet the mutated demands of audiences. Genesis and Yes, for instance, from 1977 onwards introduced a more synthetic-pop structure into their albums, cutting short their trademark 15-plus minutes epics into more standardized ''single'' formats, while still retaining their sound signature and cryptic lyric approach. Pink Floyd continued as before but their output greatly diminished to an album every several years or so. Most other acts went from arena tours to clubs and small theaters or disbanded altogether.

Influential progressive rock acts (classic era)

*Emerson, Lake & Palmer
*Gentle Giant
*King Crimson
*Moody Blues
*Pink Floyd
*Soft Machine
*Van Der Graaf Generator

Acts associated with progressive rock at some point in their career

*Atomic Rooster
*Kate Bush
*Deep Purple
*Jethro Tull
*Mike Oldfield
*Procol Harum
*Todd Rundgren

Landmark progressive rock albums (classic era)

*''The Dark Side Of The Moon'', Pink Floyd, 1973
*''Thick as a Brick'', Jethro Tull, 1972
*''In the Court of the Crimson King'', King Crimson, 1969
*''Fragile'', ''Close to the Edge'', Yes, 1972
*''Tarkus'', ''Brain Salad Surgery'', Emerson, Lake & Palmer, 1971/1973
*''Nursery Cryme'', ''Foxtrot'', Genesis, 1971/1972
*''In the Land of Grey and Pink'', Caravan, 1971
*''Flying Teapot'', Gong, 1973
*''To Our Children's Children's Children'', Moody Blues, 1969
*''Nice'', The Nice, 1969
*''Pawn Hearts'', Van der Graaf generator, 1971
*''Turn of the Cards'', Renaissance, 1974

Source: Wikipedia