Another Bit of Prog – Part 2

I mentioned in my previous prog post that many of that genre’s songs run 20 – 30 minutes and so I purposely avoided those so I could have a wider selection. My intention all along was to pick one long-form song for the follow-up post.

I listened to a lot of stuff but frankly, it really came down to two bands – Yes and Genesis. For a guy (me) whose idea of complexity is adding an extra lick to Johnny B. Goode, this is some “out there” shit.

Interestingly, Prog magazine recently did a reader survey of the greatest prog songs of all time. Number 2 was “Close to the Edge,” and number one was “Supper’s Ready” from Foxtrot. I’m quite a bit bigger fan of Yes than I am of Genesis so initially, I thought I’d post “Edge.” And then I thought – why can’t I post both? Of the two, my favorite is “Close to the Edge.” Its “I get up, I get down” section gives me goosebumps every time. I’ve talked to more than one blogger about this and fellow blogger CB recently did a nice piece on it.

Of it, Prog says, “Inspired by the structural detail found in Sibelius’ 5th symphony and the electronic textures of Wendy Carlos’ Sonic Seasonings, Jon Anderson’s eclectic listening habits form the basis for their grandest musical statement to date. From the surging overtures, hymnal diversions, and all the way to the transcendent coda, every second is vital and vibrant, every section a crowning triumph.”

Anderson said,” it had nothing to do with radio, nothing to do with rock ‘n roll, nothing to do with business…. It had everything to do with music.”

Spotify link

Of “Supper’s Ready,” Prog says, “Its carefully cohesive meanderings lash together symphonic rock, heartbreaking melodies, surrealistic lyrics and sky-high drama to build ‘new Jerusalem.’

This uneasy listening embraces, within its scale and scope, short sweet pastoral songs, longer more savage cuts, trembling dreamscapes and jolting blasts of reality. Gabriel sings of good versus evil, love, religion, Winston Churchill dressed in drag, firemen, farmers and – somehow – the link between walking across the room to turn the television off and the Antichrist.”

“We wanted to go further,” says Tony Banks. “We’d all been wanting to push away from the regular structures. It turned out better than we’d thought.”

Spotify link


17 thoughts on “Another Bit of Prog – Part 2

  1. CB has featured both these albums. I listened the grooves off of them. So many great ideas, changes etc going on in both pieces of work. These guys, Floyd, KC, ELP and a few others kept me vegging for hours.

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      1. Couldn’t do it. If you asked me which one I listen to now in 2020? It would be ‘Edge”. I dont revisit the Genesis as much. More KC, Yes, Floyd. But if people nudge me, like you just did I jump on songs like Suppers Ready in a heartbeat.

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  2. Both great tracks of course – great choices for the two best prog epics ever, although Thick as a Brick is up there too. Gabriel is totally the focal point for the Genesis song IMO, and it wouldn’t work without his theatricality. While Close to the Edge is about the monster groove – Squire is right at the centre – and Anderson is much more like an instrument with his meaningless lyrics.

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    1. In fact, Prog says “Gabriel sings – though it’s more than singing, it’s also a delivery, an an acting performance…” Much as I like them both, “Edge” for me has, well, the edge.

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      1. Edge is my favourite album ever, but Foxtrot is up there too. King Crimson’s ‘Starless’ from 1974’s Red is another tier one prog epic for me, although it’s nowhere near as long as the other two.


  3. Supper’s Ready is the more engaging song, Collins does a great job on Seconds Out as well, Close to the Edge however is a continually challenging as a song, they are both totally over the top though, cant chose

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  4. While I guess it’s hard to speak of “a bit” when it comes to most prog rock, I can handle the tracks you chose pretty well.

    To start with, Yes and Genesis are among the handful of prog rock bands I’ve listened to over the years. Plus, both tunes not only have vocals but also pretty strong vocalists. I like these selections.

    I’m also glad we now finally know where German outfit Trio got their inspiration for “Da Da Da”!😂


      1. The first three words of the Yes track you highlighted – admittedly, that only occurred to me as I was looking at the lyrics while listening to the track – proof that I actually did listen!😀


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