Mark S. Tucker demonstrates impressive wordsmith skills and a deep knowledge of music. Here are some excerpts from part 2 of his essays on Progressive Rock / Progressive Thought from OpEdNew.com.
Progrock’s Birth Pains
The recording studio, with its multitrack equipment, gave composers and players an, what was at the time, almost unlimited palette to paint with, in what Frank Zappa cogently recognized from the very beginning to be an artificial situation: few groups could ever hope to pull off live the wilder permutations and sonic massageabilities studios offered, though some would create mindbending performances attempting it.
Much debate is expended needlessly in an argument amongst progrock devotees as to whether Pink Floyd or even the Beatles beat the Moody Blues to the punch, but it‘s an ill-considered contention. Part of the problem is that the albums in question all released the same year, 1967. However, Days of Future Passed had a tidal wave influence on the slowly gathering form, fathering it, affecting many other styles, certainly far more than Pink Floyd. The Beatles’ realm was never progrock and their work, though incredibly influential on mainstream rock, was not nearly so affective within prog in toto.
One very important detail: the first ‘art rockers’ were English almost unanimously, issuing from a British school system – elementary, secondary, and university – which had effectively pounded a far more serious classicalist music orientation into children than any other country.