Newer members of the rock community may not be very familiar with the genre progressive rock, but this doesn’t mean it should be left aside. In fact, progressive rock was a huge part of the worldwide rock scene back in the 1960s, so here are some interesting facts you should know about.
What is progressive rock?
Also called classical rock, symphonic rock or art rock, it was developed in the United States and the United Kingdom it the beginning of the 1960s.
It was initially named progressive pop and started to become popular after many psychedelic bands of the moment decided to abandon the former pop traditions and experiment more with instrumental compositions that were usually attributed to classical music, folk, and jazz.
What are the main characteristics of progressive rock?
Apart from the previously mentioned musical influences, progressive rock bands decided to invest more in their lyrics and make them more poetic. New technologies were used to create unique sounds and music so that songs could turn into pure forms of art.
Another important characteristic of progressive rock is that the music was now created mainly to be listened and felt, and not necessarily danced. As opposed to the previous waves of rock bands and musicians, the ones opting for progressive rock mainly focused on delivering studio albums to the detriment of live performances on the stage.
Technical skills, eclectic costumes, and fantasy lyrics represent the main elements of progressive rock. The genre often received influences from jazz and folk music, transforming into a fusion of styles and approaches.
The macroeconomic climate
The development of this music sub-genre coincided with the worldwide economic boom after the Second World War. The 1960s brought a relaxed international environment, allowing record labels to invest more in the creativity of their artists instead of only thinking about the profits. Therefore, artists were encouraged to express their own personality and experiment with various musical genres.
However, the popularity of prog rock only lasted for about two decades, before the development of punk rock at the beginning of the 1980s. Some people suggest that this exact form of musical relaxation triggered the fall of prog.
Most popular musicians and bands
It is hard to make a list of the bands and musicians that promoted prog rock mainly because most of the artists were experimenting with various genres and musical influences. Some of the most iconic rock bands of the 1970s and 1980s began their activity in the late 1960s and may have released an album or two in the era of prog rock.
The most influential artist of this genre remains Jimi Hendrix. In his short musical career, Hendrix released four albums, between 1967 and 1970. After his tragic death in September 1970, his father decided to release more songs of Hendrix, gathered in four different albums – “The Cry of Love”, “Rainbow Bridge”, “War Heroes”, and “First Rays of the New Rising Sun”.