layout began as a way to showcase progressive artists and their
suites, like Yes with "Close To The Edge," and Genesis
with "Supper's Ready," etc. Basically songs that are
several sections and generally fifteen minutes or longer. However,
progressive rock fans likely would already have all the suggestions.
As a result, I stretched the territory to complement the
progressive music with other bands in different genres. I added
bands like Led Zeppelin and the Allman Brothers Band with long
improvisational rock and blues, the Grateful Dead with their
open-ended exporatory masterpiece
"Dark Star," and the jazz great John Coltrane with the
incredibly melodious "My Favorite Things."
album Foxtrot is one of their better ones from the
Peter Gabriel era. It is
highlighted by the ambitious sidelong epic "Supper's
Ready" that comprises of seven linked subsections.
"Supper's Ready" begins on multiple 12-string acoustic guitars, and ends big with the
gloomy "Apocalypse in 9/8," with Tony Banks playing a 4/4 organ solo while the rest of the band repeats a 9/8
riff. With lots of good stuff in-between.
An inferior version of "Supper's
Ready" appears on their live album Seconds
Grateful Dead are known for their long jams. Their best known
jamming vehicle is "Dark Star," a track perfectly
suited for improvisation. The song took different structures
through the years. We reference a 1972 version here and its structure is:
DS theme & jam >
additional jams >
return to DS theme jam & 1st vocals
> space >
additional jams >
more jamming >
... the next song.
The four-disc release, Steppin' Out...,
also features other
musical masterpieces including "The Other One,"
"Playing in the Band," and a "Goin' Down the
Road" > Not Fade Away" medley, and more.
If you like Garcia's playing check out his
side band's interpretation of "Don't Let Go." It is
their most exploratory number.
Tull are not a strict progressive rock band, though they do venture
to that arena from time to time. Though, their album Thick
a Brick was revolutionary in that realm. It is basically one
"Thick as a Brick" achieves its greatness
through a combination of exquisite composition and arranging,
supplemented with top-notch musical passages.
Anderson’s demonstrates his versatility
with a host of instruments including flute, violin, trumpet and
sax. Guitarist Barre’s shines throughout with both guitar leads and riffs
bringing the song to its harder side.
Thick as a Brick is an essential
album for progressive rock fans.
Led Zeppelin extended many of their songs live
with lengthy solos. Two tracks in particular became
centerpieces of their concert performances that were generally
over twenty minutes. They are "Dazed and Confused" and
"Whole Lotta Love."
Led Zeppelin has three live albums and a DVD
to consider. Our strongest suggestions is the three-disc CD How
the West Was Won that was recorded in June 1972, and their
incredible DVD. The links will take you to full reviews
of the releases.
The follow up to Pink
Floyds classic album Wish You Were Here is
Animals. It is
academically not their best album, that would be Dark Side of the
Moon; however, we enjoy this one just as much. From a purely guitar
perspective this is the best Pink Floyd album.
An important distinction
between Animals and their previous two is that it does not have any
stand alone songs that make for frequent radio play resulting in an
even seamless flowing album.
The theme of the album comes from George Orwell's book Animal
The album begins and ends with short acoustic guitar tracks that
have the same chord sequence, but different lyrics. Between are
three lengthy tracks that have great cohesion to their structure,
and all have great musical passages. The song "Sheep" is
the best song on the album; it includes one of David Gilmour finest
constructed guitar solos leading up the lyrics. "Dogs" is
another wonderful listening experience, beginning with the
keyboard/guitar intro, leading to Waters' powerful vocals, and just
as significant is another scorching Gilmour guitar solo.
Pink Floyd's 1977 album
Animals is a perfect flowing forty plus minutes of one of a kind
took progressive rock to the hard rock genre with their
classic and still talked about album 2112. The
title track is the centerpiece which at the time of its
release was an album side.
II. The Temples of Syrinx
V. Oracle: The Dream
VII. Grand Finale
The complete track is included in live format on Different
Stages: Live; a great value - 3 discs for the price of
two. The first two discs consists primarily of 1997 material promoting Test
For Echo, along with a few songs from 1994's Counterparts tour.
Enclosed in a separate case is an archive disc of a 1978
London performance. Be aware that shorter renditions of
"2112" and medley do appear on some of their other
live album and compilations.
more lengthy suite compositions than any artist that I follow.
We consider Close to the Edge to be their best
featuring excellent musical passages and awesome dynamics. structured into four sections of captivating music:
I. The Solid Time of Change
II. Total Mass Retain
III. I Get Up I Get Down
IV. Seasons of Man
The other two tracks on this album, "And You and I"
(four sections), and "Siberian Khatru" are
masterpieces unto themselves.