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  1. #1

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    This isn't another one of those open-ended, onanistic, solipsistic threads about "who's the best", is it?

    Uh, yeah.

    Been listening to a lot of King Crimson lately--started out with some recent concert stuff that got reissued, then moved back and listened to their studio albums in succession. Holy crap. The inventiveness and complexity, as well as musicianship, is off the charts.

    I listened to a lot of prog rock back in the 70's/80's, and KC has stood the test of time better than any other group, IMO, with the possible exception of Pink Floyd. But their influence can hardly be overstated.

    If they didn't invent Heavy Metal, they certainly catalyzed it. Their breakthrough performance with the Rolling Stones in '69 was very influential--among many fans was Pete Townshend. Is there any heavier song than 21st Century Schizoid Man?

    They were extremely virtuosic, but not exactly as straightforward as their contemporaries--Yes, Genesis, ELP. They made a strong case for winds and strings and of course their signature sound, the Mellotron, in rock music. They drew inspiration from classical music, but without imitating it quite as much as their contemporaries. (The fact they never had a strong keyboard player may play a role here, as the keyboard guy usually thinks he's Liszt reincarnated.)

    They were willing to change in order to find a new sound. Not an abrupt change like Genesis going all poppy after Peter Gabriel left, but an evolution over time--each reincarnation having a different sound and different direction, though somehow adhering to the KC formula of intelligent rock music.

    And of course the individual musicians, especially Robert Fripp, have spawned so many imitators and acolytes. David Torn...Adrian Belew...Tom Verlaine...Richard Lloyd...Chris Stein...Johnny Marr...The Edge...the list goes on and on.

    IDK their early work sounds just as fresh and intriguing and accessible as it did 50 years ago.

    That's my thought for the day. Anyone wanna chime in?

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  3. #2

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    Anything that's labelled prog rock is a snooze-fest for any real jazz aficionado.

  4. #3

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    Good god man Genesis did not go all poppy immediately after Peter Gabriel left; it took at least two more albums and the departure of Steve Hackett.

    I always get the impression from interviews it was Phil and Tony who were the big prog and fusion heads in the band, into Mahavishnu and the rest of it, Gabriel was more of a Roxy Music fan.

    As a sometime sad and lonely teenage Genesis fan, it’s been interesting revisiting their music. Definite case of trying to fit too much in, but I suppose that’s the charm for the fans…. Prog is about chucking in everything including the kitchen sink.

    I remain a fan of the Peter’s voice, the chiming acoustic guitar layers and mists of Avalon vibe, and Steve and Phil being really good at their instruments…. Less so the self consciously prog flourishes and rather laboured lyrics. (I liked them slightly better in Python mode.)

    Which is I think why I liked this band but never warmed to Yes or Rush. I think they had a unique vibe.

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by jameslovestal
    Anything that's labelled prog rock is a snooze-fest for any real jazz aficionado.
    Touche!

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by jameslovestal
    Anything that's labelled prog rock is a snooze-fest for any real jazz aficionado.
    Wow. I think calling oneself a jazz aficionado is a quick way to make yourself instantly unpopular with every rock fan ever lol.

    After a decade or two listening to preposterously complicated post fusion jazz the thing that strikes me about the big 70s prog acts is how poppy they were. They had tunes!

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Miller
    Good god man Genesis did not go all poppy immediately after Peter Gabriel left; it took at least two more albums and the departure of Steve Hackett.

    I always get the impression from interviews it was Phil and Tony who were the big prog heads in the band, Gabriel was more of a Roxy Music fan.
    Well Phil was the absolute best drummer in prog rock, and one of the best drummers in the world in the mid-70's/early 80's. Too bad he could sing...

    (Recent review of a Genesis show was rather disheartening re' Phil's health. The review said the show was quite good in spite of Phil's disability.)

    Genesis was of course a great band, and one of my favorites of all time. I do have several Genesis albums after Peter left. I don't think they have the influence of KC, and I think some of their stuff with PG, while wonderful and still interesting to me, hasn't aged quite as well as King Crimson. I mean The Battle of Epping Forest...great melody, great sounds, I love it, but a little twee, now, isn't it? Whereas, IDK, Epitaph or Devil's Triangle (which I was just listening to) or Lark's Tongue or Exile...those hold up really well.

    I still think a dream concert would be a Genesis reunion with Phil and Peter trading off songs...maybe could sing the other guy's songs, as PG has done with Sting and others. (I had a ticket to see PG with Sting a few years ago, but couldn't go at the last minute because of a family emergency. My daughter got me the T-shirt.)

    Fripp did play on several Peter Gabriel albums (along with Phil Collins), and produced PG's second solo album.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Jeff
    This isn't another one of those open-ended, onanistic, solipsistic threads about "who's the best", is it?

    Uh, yeah.

    Been listening to a lot of King Crimson lately--started out with some recent concert stuff that got reissued, then moved back and listened to their studio albums in succession. Holy crap. The inventiveness and complexity, as well as musicianship, is off the charts.

    I listened to a lot of prog rock back in the 70's/80's, and KC has stood the test of time better than any other group, IMO, with the possible exception of Pink Floyd. But their influence can hardly be overstated.

    If they didn't invent Heavy Metal, they certainly catalyzed it. Their breakthrough performance with the Rolling Stones in '69 was very influential--among many fans was Pete Townshend. Is there any heavier song than 21st Century Schizoid Man?

    They were extremely virtuosic, but not exactly as straightforward as their contemporaries--Yes, Genesis, ELP. They made a strong case for winds and strings and of course their signature sound, the Mellotron, in rock music. They drew inspiration from classical music, but without imitating it quite as much as their contemporaries. (The fact they never had a strong keyboard player may play a role here, as the keyboard guy usually thinks he's Liszt reincarnated.)

    They were willing to change in order to find a new sound. Not an abrupt change like Genesis going all poppy after Peter Gabriel left, but an evolution over time--each reincarnation having a different sound and different direction, though somehow adhering to the KC formula of intelligent rock music.

    And of course the individual musicians, especially Robert Fripp, have spawned so many imitators and acolytes. David Torn...Adrian Belew...Tom Verlaine...Richard Lloyd...Chris Stein...Johnny Marr...The Edge...the list goes on and on.

    IDK their early work sounds just as fresh and intriguing and accessible as it did 50 years ago.

    That's my thought for the day. Anyone wanna chime in?
    Anyway prog; yeah prog is the influence that dare not speak its name.

    Johny Rotten owned up to being a huge Can and Van Der Graff generator fan many years ago and tbh his work with Public Image Limited did a lot to rehabilitate the idea of Art Rock from Prog…

    Anyway Robert Fripp adapted well didn’t he? I grew up with Talking Heads and that was my first intro to his and Adrian Belew’s work so it’s the New Wave Crimson that I listened to. And Bowie of course…

    Anyway, progs biggest influence may be Queen, who did pretty well IIRC. Definitely started very prog.

    And then there’s Radiohead. Probably a bit of a tricky one for a prog fan, because they pretty much denounced prog in the 90s (tbf they probably had to when they released an album full of Mellotrons headed up a 7 minute single with a guitar break in 7/8.) Johnny admitted to checking out a lot of early Genesis for the sounds, though he claims to have hated it.

    But you know - I think Radiohead are pretty prog lol. Middle class boys from the Home Counties releasing complicated, ambitious and eclectic album rock? Come on!

  9. #8

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    Floyd rulez. Radiohead was prog.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clint 55
    Floyd rulez. Radiohead was prog.
    But was Floyd prog?

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Jeff
    Well Phil was the absolute best drummer in prog rock, and one of the best drummers in the world in the mid-70's/early 80's. Too bad he could sing...

    (Recent review of a Genesis show was rather disheartening re' Phil's health. The review said the show was quite good in spite of Phil's disability.)

    Genesis was of course a great band, and one of my favorites of all time. I do have several Genesis albums after Peter left. I don't think they have the influence of KC, and I think some of their stuff with PG, while wonderful and still interesting to me, hasn't aged quite as well as King Crimson. I mean The Battle of Epping Forest...great melody, great sounds, I love it, but a little twee, now, isn't it?
    Oh hell yeah, twee as fuck, but that's the buy in with the band, you dig it or you don't.

    More of a problem for me is that it is just way too complicated for its own good, because that first verse chorus is just like 'yeaaaaah' it's so good, and I always feel it loses its way. It would have made a fantastic shorter track, and to be brutally honest I feel that way about a lot of the Genesis stuff. I love the account of the writing process for that band, hilarious. Those guys needed a producer to come in and go.... look, guys, maybe just a few less lyrics, Peter, and a few less notes Tony? But that wasn't the era was it? Also a lot of egos, a lot of youth.

    And TBH the people who love these bands like the whole mess just as it is. So I'll shut up.

    Beyond their talent for melody, the slight frustration with these bands as well is they can come up with something as stunning and unique as the first few moments of Fountain of Samalcis, say, and just, not really develop it. Too many ideas, not enough development, perhaps.; OK now we are onto something else. But they had so many ideas, many of them really good! Anyway they've been sampled A LOT by hip hop artists because of their genius with sounds.

    Favourite Genesis moment is probably 'Fly on a Windshield' because it has drama and BREATHES. Perfect prog moment... That whole first side of the Lamb works great, even though its utterly preposterous, it has the Genesis Vibe.

    Anyway Jeff Buckley has been a huge influence on so many artists including Radiohead and current young pretender Sam Fender, and he was clearly a fan:


    (This is very much a rough and unreleased demo albeit with some very cool and rather Fripp-ish guitar work, so if you are unfamiliar with Jeff please don't judge based on this track. Go and listen to Grace which is awesome)

    Oh yeah and Muse were/are huge and reviled by the music press precisely because of their proggy leanings.

    Whereas, IDK, Epitaph or Devil's Triangle (which I was just listening to) or Lark's Tongue or Exile...those hold up really well.

    I still think a dream concert would be a Genesis reunion with Phil and Peter trading off songs...maybe could sing the other guy's songs, as PG has done with Sting and others. (I had a ticket to see PG with Sting a few years ago, but couldn't go at the last minute because of a family emergency. My daughter got me the T-shirt.)

    Fripp did play on several Peter Gabriel albums (along with Phil Collins), and produced PG's second solo album.
    To be honest after watching that reunion interview they did a couple of years back I think PG would take too much pleasure winding up Tony, and Tony still after 60 years, being utterly unable to deal with it. It's like a schoolboy dynamic that is still going so many years later. Crazy.

    Phil shared a house with one of my favourites, John Martyn (also a friend of David Gilmour) as well as playing drums on one of his records, how for me managed to achieve much of what prog was straining to do with all its effects and toys, with absolute ease. One World is damn near perfect, I guess you'd call it progressive folk maybe.

    Is To Pimp A Butterfly a prog Hip Hop record? I'd argue so.

    Anyway, is this the time and place to mention Cardiacs?

  12. #11

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    I prefer jazz snob thank you very much.

    Despite that I love King Crimson, the Red era especially, Fripp, Cross, Wetton and Bruford.

    Is there anybody else here who was lucky enough to see Jeff Buckley perform?

    I saw him in Toronto at a church on Bloor Street in either 93 or 94.

  13. #12

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    Crimson and Amon Duul II, for me.

    And those first 4-5 Peter Gabriel solo records.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by A. Kingstone
    I prefer jazz snob thank you very much.

    Despite that I love King Crimson, the Red era especially, Fripp, Cross, Wetton and Bruford.

    Is there anybody else here who was lucky enough to see Jeff Buckley perform?

    I saw him in Toronto at a church on Bloor Street in either 93 or 94.
    Wow, very envious

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Miller
    Wow, very envious
    I got lucky. I was working in a music library for a national broadcaster and received CD's from what used to be called record companies. You may have heard of them.

    I was onto Buckley and Sheryl Crow early.

  16. #15

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    We could do a whole ‘nother thread on King Crimson musical collaborations or alumni projects. Robert Fripp and Tony Levin played on practically every decent album in the 80’s LOL…Mel Collins also played on about a gazillion records—did the sax work on the Rolling Stones’ Miss You and Tina Turner’s Private Dancer, for instance, and played with Alan Parsons Project among others.

    As far as bands, Fripp formed a brief punk group League of Gentleman that put out a very cool album. Ian McDonald co-founded Foreigner and stuck with them for 3 highly popular records. John Wetton co-founded UK along with KC alums Eddie Jobson and Bill Bruford (first album with the legendary Allan Holdsworth) and later fronted Asia with Yes alums. Bruford and Belew had reasonably successful solo careers after playing with almost everyone else in the business.

    (As I recall Bruford toured for awhile with Genesis after PG left—is on the Seconds Out album. Didn’t like it much. Now HE was an opinionated guy.)



    And Greg Lake co-founded ELP.

    There was also a lot of cross-pollination with the other big bands of the time. Jon Anderson sang on the Lizard album, Bruford came to KC from Yes. I think I read that KC auditioned Tony Banks as a keyboardist and even thought of having Elton John play keys and sing in the early 70’s. They also auditioned Bryan Ferry as a lead singer.

    The lack of a single great lead singer could have been a liability, though Greg Lake and John Wetton both filled that role well, but OTOH that meant that there was no charismatic front man to detract from the instrumental stuff.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by A. Kingstone
    I got lucky. I was working in a music library for a national broadcaster and received CD's from what used to be called record companies. You may have heard of them.

    I was onto Buckley and Sheryl Crow early.
    I was onto Tim Buckley years ago. RIP. Great, great musician who also died too soon. He was produced by Zappa at one point. Should have been way more successful than he was.

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Jeff
    I.........Tim Buckley ......... He was produced by Zappa at one point. ...........

    Really?

    I did not know that.

  19. #18

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    Influential no; terrific yes.

    Gentle Giant.

  20. #19

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    Just a few points from a 70s prog rock guitarist (me):

    Influential would depend on individual criteria. Pink Floyd were actually not prog rock, but influenced hordes of kids who obviously thought they were.

    After Gabriel left Genesis, it was inertia that kept them going for a while. The band was already coming apart in The Lamb Lies Down.

    Anyone thinking that some prog is boring (probably have only listened to Pink Floyd), how about old, flogged to death tunes like Satan Doll? As the man said, there are two kinds of music...

    I find it difficult to believe that Peter Gabriel was a fan of such a sh*tty band as Roxy Music. When did he say that?

    Phil Collins was a great prog drummer, and so was Bill Bruford, and so was .....

    The Battle of Epping Forest is a timeless, major accomplishment of composition (and execution).

    Johnny Rotten was a wanker.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Jeff
    Touche!
    Good to see you have a sound sense of humor (pun intended).

    I would say King Crimson was the most influential prog rock band with ELP being my favorite.

  22. #21

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    I like all the bands mentioned so far but don't forget......

    Jethro Tull!

  23. #22

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  24. #23

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    KC's first album was a tremendous influence on me, and still is. During the lock down, I wanted to write big band arr.'s of all of my original tunes, along with my fave tunes, and ITTTW is still one of my faves.

    It should be fun to hear these aging jazzbos play some prog! I wrote up a song by If, and not one person there knew who they were, and the sax players didn't even know who freaking Dick Morrissey was, but they loved playing it.
    "If" played in all complex meters, so you could call them Prog, Jazz-Rock, Fusion, whatever.

    I like all the Canterbury bands that Dave Stewart played in, although National Health is my fave. Some great guitarists came out of there, Phil ?, who eventually went jazz.

    And finally there's Musica Urbana from Barcelona.
    KC were the first, and most influential, though, I guess.

  25. #24

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    I saw King Crimson in concert once. They made an impression. They were different for sure. But virtuosic? I can’t say it hit me that way at all.

    in that same time frame I saw Stephen Stills, Jerry Garcia, Eric Clapton, Alvin Lee (there’s one), Craig Chaquico (another one), and Carlos Santana. Plus a bunch of other 60s/70s rock guitar heroes.

    Then I saw McLaughlin and Benson…

  26. #25

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    Never liked Genesis that much

    Yes, Rush and Thick as a Brick for me

    also more recent harder edged prog-metal like Opeth (but never liked Dream Theater)

    to me prog isn’t time sigs and scales, more about a classical vibe of bigger forms and development of ideas

    always hated this pretension of odd meters = rhythmic sophistication, compared to what Jazz or Funk can do within 4/4 (and a polyrhythmic tune like Discipline is more than just odd meters)

    Yes is as foundational/influential to prog as any band