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.”
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.”