Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A growing fascination with progressive rock

I may not have been a total and complete newcomer to progressive rock by the time I was formally introduced to it in the fall of 1978.  There were hints at a personal taste for it coming from me going back to the more adventurous days of The Beatles, and then when they broke up I needed to find some other band to awaken more of my senses the same way an album like "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" did.

Then, when I started hearing the sounds coming from Electric Light Orchestra -- the same kind of strings I'd heard from a tune like "I Am the Walrus" -- I knew there was hope.

As I got deeper into the ELO catalog, I started to realize just how much of a pop direction ELO had turned toward while still hanging on to that more "progressive" string sound.  When I picked up an ELO greatest hits album, there was one song in particular that I fell in love with.  You could say that there was no "pop" about it.  This was full-bore progressive.  The Beatles didn't even do a song like "Kuiama."

More time went on, and I happened to hear a song on the radio by an American group that caught my ear as well.  It, too, had a violin in it.  What was it about those stringed instruments that got my attention?  It was all so ... progressive.  Rock music with a somewhat classical feel to it.  The song was from Kansas, "Point of Know Return."  That was my first purchase of a Kansas album.  I now have just about every Kansas album ever released.  I could almost start to say, "Beatles who?"

Then I went to college for a year, straight out of high school.  I met a lot of different people from all over the U.S. -- from all over the world, for that matter.  That was where my progressive rock appreciation really began, with bands like U.K., Yes, Genesis, King Crimson, Gentle Giant ... the list is too long.

That was still just the beginning.  A seed had been planted, and even well into adulthood -- with a family of my own -- I still kept searching for progressive music that would make my ears take notice.  There are newer bands still out there, willing to "push the inside of the envelope" and stretch things out a bit musically ... bands like OSI, Liquid Tension Experiment, on and on.

It's all out there if we know where to look.

Long live progress!!!

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