who invented prog rock?


Nov 28, 2016
Virginia, USA
So, let's be clear: "Prog rock" is simply short-hand for "progressive rock." Back in the 1960s, both in the U.S.A. and in Europe, there were radio stations going on the air that portrayed themselves as "underground" radio, and what they had to offer was a mixed bag all over the spectrum. I used to listen to WHFS-FM 102.3 in Bethesda, Maryland, and nearby Georgetown University had their own student station airing "progressive" music.

Probably the first exposure I had to this form of music was in 1966 or so. I had a tenth-grade paper route and walking the neighborhoods at 2:00am every day made it possible for me to tune in to WBZ AM out of Boston. This was known as "skip," as nighttime atmospheric allowed AM signals to bounce over the airwaves. Good luck trying to tune it in during the day!

I try not to use the term too narrowly. Yes, King Crimson and the like produced an early form of "arena rock." Vanilla Fudge and early Deep Purple took mainstream songs and turned them into extended-jam pieces that shook the house. Greatful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service, and similar bands out of the Bay area, did the same. At the time, radio was limited to 2- or 3-minute songs (the Doors even shortened Light My Fire to shoehorn it into the formula), so pretty much anything that went beyond that time limit might be considered progressive rock.

This discussion is akin to the question, "How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?" I, for one, am glad that adventurous and talented people turned their noses up at "restrictions" and mainstream. I don't care what you call the result.

24 track

Ad Free Member
Nov 6, 2014
kamloops bc
there were bands that tried to fuse genres to form a new feel to music
ELP, fused long hair classical influences into rock ( muskorski, Genistera) (spelling?)
Gentle Giant used Baroque influences
Yes, used a myriad of influences from classical to Jazz
Pink Floyd, used experimental sounds to create sound-scapes
Exception, used Beethoven-esque influences
King Crimson , Star Castle........adnausium

hard to see who was first in this batch but the ideas to fuse Ideas was strong and gave music some great listening choices.

Chester P Squier

Friend of Leo's
Jan 16, 2021
Covington, LA
I can't help but think that George Martin had a hand in pushing the Beatles into new, unexplored (for rock) territory. That was his piano solo on "In My Life" on their Rubber Soul album.

New Posts