24 August 2012

A Guilty Pleasure

Okay. I admit it. I really liked so-called Progressive Rock. I had largely sublimated my memories of Progressive Rock until I read David Weigel's five-part series on slate.com (starting here). Like the "prog rock" he describes, Weigel's series is a bit pretentious but he does a great job of explaining what made Progressive Rock exciting in its day and how it was "killed" by the relentless commercialization of FM rock stations in the 1970s (which needed more "playable" (i.e., < 4 minutes) material) and the sudden change of heart by the mainstream rock critics at Rolling Stone.

I missed listening to Progressive Rock when I moved from Philadelphia's upper Main Line to Northwest Iowa in 1972. To the best of my recollection, none of my college friends from the Midwest had heard of even Bruce Springsteen much less Traffic, Rick Wakeman, or Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Managed to get them mildly interested with my albums but the lack of AOR FM stations in that area meant that enthusiasm for Progressive Rock was always going to be limited to larger metropolitan areas.

Since my turntable died, I haven't listed to my old Jethro Tull, Robin Trower, and Yes vinyl in years (nor my old Warner-Reprise Loss Leaders), nor does Sirius feature a Progressive Rock channel. But I have found a good source on iTunes radio. And I must admit that I still enjoy it after all these years.


  1. I didn't know all this! I have a working turn table so next time you come to visit you can listen with me. :)

  2. Or perhaps I can borrow it to digitize my old albums. ;)