Progressive Rock and England

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Gary M. Thomas
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Progressive Rock and England

Post: # 73377Post Gary M. Thomas
Wed Jul 21, 2004 3:51 pm

This might be a little off topic... but I think that it relates directly to YES, so I'm gonna post it here:

It seems that so many of the great progressive rock bands all hail from the United Kingdom. I mean, stop and think about it. Yes, ELP, Genesis, Pink Floyd, (and probably many others I haven't though of).... They're all British bands. And, although there are some "prog rock" band which originated in other European countries, it really seems like all the "top" progressive rock groups are from England. Has this topic been discussed before.... because it seems very obvious that the UK, especially in the 1970s, produced a tremendous number of extremely talanted "prog-rockers". I'm not quite certain why this is... so I thought I'd kinda toss the subject out for discussion. Do ya'll agree... and, if so, any ideas or thoughts on the subject. ;) Gary

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Post: # 73379Post Astral traveller
Wed Jul 21, 2004 5:38 pm

From the old 70s wave, UK dominated indeed. From the 90s on most good Progbands came from the USA or Sweden. (exceptions there ofcourse, like Porcupine Tree) esp. Sweden has a very alive Progscene for a couple of years now.

I guess there was something in the air in England that began with the Beatles. They ofcourse influenced everyone, and bands like The Nice, Moody Blues, Pink Floyd all went away with that influence. The first two added orchestra's, with the Nice composing almost Classical music. And Floyd brought some American Psych-Rock with them, and combined that with their other influences. I guess with those 3 bands, the Progrock began. From then it was spread across the world, but the UK would dominate for years to come. It was still a very English thing then, I guess.

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Post: # 73382Post Gary M. Thomas
Wed Jul 21, 2004 6:36 pm

Hey Astral Traveller, thanks for the reply. "Sweden".... hmmmm, I never would have though of Sweden as being a centre for progressive rock. Guess I'm a little behind the times... huh? :o GT

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Post: # 73389Post Astral traveller
Wed Jul 21, 2004 10:01 pm

Yeah, they have lots of great bands. The Flower Kings, Opeth, Anekdoten etc. All superb Progbands

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Post: # 73390Post Vaguson
Wed Jul 21, 2004 10:35 pm

Hey, I've got a lot of Swedish in me...HmmAstral, which way do they swing on the progressive definition? More rocky and hard or more abstract and ethereal...? Also, do they sing in English or Swedish? I assume Swedish, but who knows...
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Post: # 73411Post psychopomp95
Thu Jul 22, 2004 9:14 am

Opeth is DEFINITELY at the 'rocky and hard' end of the spectrum... if you haven't heard anything of theirs, download "The Leper Affinity", I dare you. ;) And yes, their lyrics are in English (as are the Flower Kings' if I'm not mistaken)!

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Post: # 73414Post Dr_Yes
Thu Jul 22, 2004 10:18 am

I'd never really heard anything from Opeth until I visted some website on Prog that offered some free downloads. I got hold of the songs The Drapery Falls and Closure, among a great swathe of stuff from loads of different bands and put it all on a long playlist on Windows media player. When I plyed it through I was surprised that only a few songs prompted me to look and see who they were by (i.e. I thought they were good) and Opeth was picked for both!

I don't know if these two songs are good by their standards, but would like to explore a few albums by them - any ideas???

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Post: # 73420Post bundy
Thu Jul 22, 2004 2:02 pm

Gary M. Thomas wrote:Hey Astral Traveller, thanks for the reply. "Sweden".... hmmmm, I never would have though of Sweden as being a centre for progressive rock. Guess I'm a little behind the times... huh? :o GT


Sweden has produced more good prog outfits than anyother nation int the past 15 years. The Flower Kings, Anekdoten, Anglagard, Landberk and The Par Lindh Project are all highly regarded in prog circles. Not to mention guys like Bo Hansson and Bjorn Lynne. I have a number of really impresive albums by Swedish prog acts. In all instances the vocals are in English. I'm sure Haze or Guilddigger will be able to add some more about the Swedish scene.

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Post: # 73434Post tardistraveler
Thu Jul 22, 2004 4:44 pm

I never realized the Flower Kings were from Sweden.

I've been discovering other progressive bands as of late - there seem to be some excellent ones from all over the world.

But yeah, in the 70's, the scene was definitely England. I'm curious myself as to why. Perhaps some of our English members who were around at the time could enlighten us?

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Post: # 73447Post Astral traveller
Thu Jul 22, 2004 5:27 pm

Doc, you must mean http://www.progarchives.com, right?
That is a most excellent site indeed. I recommend everyone to check it out, you can download complete tracks from a lot of bands.

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Post: # 73454Post Vaguson
Thu Jul 22, 2004 6:18 pm

Yeah, it's definitely a great sight, esp. when reviewers compare the band in question to other prog bands. AND you get free mp3s...altogether it gives you a pretty good idea of whether you might like a band or not.
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Post: # 73455Post Vaguson
Thu Jul 22, 2004 6:19 pm

I mean great SITE, not sight...
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Post: # 73457Post Gary M. Thomas
Thu Jul 22, 2004 6:42 pm

Silly me.... now I know just how outta touch I really am. I somehow always get stuck thinking...."ABBA".... when I think of Sweden. Oh man, that's way back there, isn't it. :p :p :p

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Post: # 73460Post raddad
Thu Jul 22, 2004 6:55 pm

ABBA???,Well they did have the harmonies but never quite reached for the progressive edge.

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Post: # 73462Post raddad
Thu Jul 22, 2004 6:57 pm

First time talkin to all the Yes peeps,
Question for you.When and Howe did you first get turned on to Yes?

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THAT'S THE ONE!

Post: # 73511Post Dr_Yes
Fri Jul 23, 2004 8:15 am

Astral traveller wrote:Doc, you must mean http://www.progarchives.com, right?
That is a most excellent site indeed. I recommend everyone to check it out, you can download complete tracks from a lot of bands.


Yes that's the one!

A really worthwhile site for the relatively uninitiated neo-progster (i.e. me).

I've always had a fairly broad familiarity with prog, but this site is GREAT for giving a taste of a lot of different bands.

But can you/anyone recommend an album by Opeth that's a good start point?

Doc

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Post: # 73515Post topographic_drama1980
Fri Jul 23, 2004 9:01 am

Well, considering that they're somewhat of a progressive/folk/death-metal band, from what I have heard from various people is to start with their most recent release, Damnation. It's more gentle than their usual growling vocal metal sound. Lots of nice acoustic stuff on this album. Hopefully this helps you out.
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Post: # 73522Post Dr_Yes
Fri Jul 23, 2004 12:18 pm

topographic_drama1980 wrote:Well, considering that they're somewhat of a progressive/folk/death-metal band, from what I have heard from various people is to start with their most recent release, Damnation. It's more gentle than their usual growling vocal metal sound. Lots of nice acoustic stuff on this album. Hopefully this helps you out.


Thanks TD1980.

I like the sound of Damnation. Seems appropriate to my life at the moment too.

I love the idea of them being "a progressive/folk/death-metal band" too. Cool.

Mind you Porcupine Tree manages to blend quite a heavy vibe in with acoustic stuff and it works a treat.

D.

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Post: # 73562Post Haze
Sat Jul 24, 2004 4:33 am

bundy wrote:Sweden has produced more good prog outfits than anyother nation int the past 15 years. The Flower Kings, Anekdoten, Anglagard, Landberk and The Par Lindh Project are all highly regarded in prog circles. Not to mention guys like Bo Hansson and Bjorn Lynne.
Thanks, me ol' mate, but I have to point out that not only Sweden, but also our neighbouring countries Finland, Norway and Denmark has a lot of interesting bands within the progressive field as well. Perhaps, once again, I could coax you into start a new topic about Nordic progressive music? As you're certainly an authority on this subject! (Sure, I know a few bands, but I would prefer an outsiders fresh and untarnished view on this matter. And I would of course back you up, whenever needed...)

However, this particular thread was about why the Brits always excelled within progressive music. And as it were I have a few ideas on that subject (bear in mind that this comment is about the seventies progressive music from England and nothing else - and as such slightly fictionary!):
Maybe because this fairly isolated group of islands have - through more than three thousand years - been invaded or influenced by such different cultures like the Celts, the Romans, the Vikings (us Scandinavians, that is), the Sachens and in more recent years, due to their colonies]If you can't label it - it's Progressive[/i]"! ;)

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Post: # 73688Post Thorbrynjolfson1968
Tue Jul 27, 2004 1:45 am

Englad has always fostered more of an adventurous group of musicians. In the U.S., bands can learn to do covers and get by with it, but in the U.K., you have to be different before they give you the time of day.

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Post: # 73703Post Vaguson
Tue Jul 27, 2004 2:25 pm

That's very true, now that you mention it...but why do the states get away with that kind of thing and the UK doesn't? Is it because of what's expected from each country?
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Post: # 73719Post MOONWEED
Tue Jul 27, 2004 8:08 pm

Dr_Yes wrote:Thanks TD1980.

I like the sound of Damnation. Seems appropriate to my life at the moment too.

I love the idea of them being "a progressive/folk/death-metal band" too. Cool.

Mind you Porcupine Tree manages to blend quite a heavy vibe in with acoustic stuff and it works a treat.

D.

That's Steve Wilson,founder of P.Tree,on mellotron on the Damnation disc and ,if I'm not mistaken,he produced the album.
I was lucky enough to see both bands togather about a year ago with Opeth playing the entire Damnation album."The music from the Damnation album is a different kind of darkness."

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As Far As Progressive Goes...

Post: # 73742Post N2yes
Wed Jul 28, 2004 3:41 am

Other than Kansas, I can't really think of another American band that can even remotely compete for the era when things were really cookin'. Now, if we are talking Canadian, well, I think we all know who that is. The UK undeniably was the Mecca for prog-rock...and likely still is.
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Post: # 73749Post Dr_Yes
Wed Jul 28, 2004 10:14 am

MOONWEED wrote:That's Steve Wilson,founder of P.Tree,on mellotron on the Damnation disc and ,if I'm not mistaken,he produced the album.
I was lucky enough to see both bands togather about a year ago with Opeth playing the entire Damnation album."The music from the Damnation album is a different kind of darkness."


This gets better and better. I LOVE Porcupine Tree - my favourite band of the decade and a great find. Sounds great. And I am so jealous that you saw them both!

I only found out about PT after the In Absentia tour - arrgghh! Would love to see them live.

Doc Y.

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Post: # 73779Post fragilesi
Wed Jul 28, 2004 6:20 pm

N2yes wrote:Other than Kansas, I can't really think of another American band that can even remotely compete for the era when things were really cookin'. Now, if we are talking Canadian, well, I think we all know who that is. The UK undeniably was the Mecca for prog-rock...and likely still is.

I can't imagine who you mean N2 . . . :)

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Post: # 73889Post MOONWEED
Fri Jul 30, 2004 7:12 pm

Dr_Yes wrote:This gets better and better. I LOVE Porcupine Tree - my favourite band of the decade and a great find. Sounds great. And I am so jealous that you saw them both!

I only found out about PT after the In Absentia tour - arrgghh! Would love to see them live.

Doc Y.
The new disc should be out within a few mounths with a tour to follow.Also they are remastering the early albums and I believe Sunday Side of Life will actualy have the tracks rerecorded with real drums instead of drum machines(he couldn't afford a drummer the first time through).Have fun!!

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UK prog

Post: # 73927Post hennie552001
Sat Jul 31, 2004 11:38 pm

Nice to be back, it's been some weeks now. Interesting topic. I think there is one primary reason for the amazing british groups in the early 70s. That's mainly due to the politics of the record companies. In the US, my impression is that they are, and have always been, much more focused on profit. The usual way of doing things would be: get a nice face that can sell, and an OK voice to go with it, then bring in the proffessional songwriters and the top notch session musicians and make a product that will SELL. The Elvis way. And it MUST be radio-friendly (or MTV-friendly). In Britain however, much thanks to the Beatles, the early 70s were the time were experimentation was not only allowed, but THE hottest thing. As Wakeman said in an interview: the company managers simply said: do what you want, make us a record. Tales would never have surfaced had they been controlled by an american company, not even CTTE.
Seems like UK has become more and more american in their thinking spending 90 per cent of marketing budgets on acts as safe as milk. I think for the last 10 years or so Scandinaviasn artists have been more exciting. (The last is maybe because I live here, and can follow certain acts without too much advertising putting it in my face.)
and the flowering creativity of life, wove it's web ...

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Post: # 74300Post wild_westie
Tue Aug 10, 2004 11:09 pm

[quote="Gary M. Thomas"]This might be a little off topic... but I think that it relates directly to YES, so I'm gonna post it here:

It seems that so many of the great progressive rock bands all hail from the United Kingdom. I mean, stop and think about it. Yes, ELP, Genesis, Pink Floyd, (and probably many others I haven't though of).... They're all British bands. And, although there are some "prog rock" band which originated in other European countries, it really seems like all the "top" progressive rock groups are from England. Has this topic been discussed before.... because it seems very obvious that the UK, especially in the 1970s, produced a tremendous number of extremely talanted "prog-rockers". I'm not quite certain why this is... so I thought I'd kinda toss the subject out for discussion. Do ya'll agree... and, if so, any ideas or thoughts on the subject. ]
I was going to bring this topic to the table. I totally agree with your post. I'm thinking really hard here. Trying my best to think of a band from the USA that comes close to those you've mentioned. Ummmmm.
Nothing comes to mind. However, the UK continues to bring us very talented bands such as Coldplay.

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