What you should know about progressive rock

 

I think it is time everybody learned about my favorite genre of music since I believe it is massively underrated for no good reason. Progressive rock, or prog, as it is often shortened, is a subgenre of the more comprehensive rock music. It developed in the UK and the U.S.A. in the late sixties, a perfect time for music exploration.

It relies more on instrumentation, composition style, diversity and on fusion, rather than on being catchy as it is with pop music and Top 100 artists. Moreover, it is influenced by genres such as blues, jazz, folk and even classical music, which should tell you a lot about its vibe and underlying melancholy.

Under the label of prog, artists were allowed to explore new musical realms and to make lyrics more poetic, to put art back into music and enhance the listening experience in a world where bops made for the dancefloor dominated the charts. As it is the case now, unfortunately. It seems some things never change enough for a shift in the status quo.

For more than half of a century, progressive rock has been the breeding ground for rock’s most outlandish ideas and artists, and the birthplace of some of the most loved albums of our time. And it’s still going strong despite the fact that it has become an underground style of music which is often thought of as a stereotype in the mind of the general public, which is mainly focused on pop culture.

The genre’s genesis coincided with the 1960s economic boom, which allowed record labels to offer more creative control and decision-taking freedom to the signed artists. This meant the music artists created wasn’t affected by statistics, beta listeners, and other redundant stuff that only watered down their vision.

Prog reached a high level of popularity during the 1970s, when it sold incredibly well, but faded soon into a certain level of obscurity. The culprit? Well, some loud voices are saying the rise of punk rock is to blame since the seventies were a bit more rebellious. And the critics too had their share of the blame, as they would often criticize the style of being pretentious and hard to digest.

Soon after the 1970s, progressive rock inevitably fragmented and went on to give birth to many forms of music. Although the hype was over, some bands still achieved commercial success even after the heights of the genre passed.

This form of artistic expression is also related to progressive politics, as it is always the case with music. Even though music has lost some of that political influence because artists would rather sell sex than art, progressive rock remains one of those genres which isn’t afraid to call out the people responsible for the major social issues such as poverty and abuse.

My top 5 blues guitar players

 

Electric blues is represented by any type of blues music that uses electric amplification for musical instruments. Out of all instruments, the guitar was the first one that was amplified and later used in shows by various pioneers such as Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker.

This happened 80-90 years ago and, ever since, electric blues remained a music genre adopted by various artists. Although there were other amplified instruments over the years such as the harmonica, the piano or the bass guitar, the electric guitar remains, in my opinion, the most powerful instrument that can be used to play an impeccable blues ballad.

If you’d like reading more about blues guitars, I suggest you check the top 5 blues guitar players according to my standards.

 


 

  • Eric Clapton

The English star is a blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter. He used to be part of the Yardbirds and Cream bands and reached the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame three times, both with the bands and as a solo artist.

Clapton is considered one of the best musicians of the 20th and 21st centuries and he cites Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, and Freddie King as his main musical influences. In 2006 he was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award for his astonishing musical career.

 

  • Jimi Hendrix

Born Johnny Allen Hendrix, he was one of the most prolific and notorious rock music players in history. He was awarded the title of “the greatest guitarist of all times” by the prestigious Rolling Stone magazine, back in 2003.

His new playing style at that time implied the use of an electric guitar and it easily became a recognizable style that influenced generations of future modern guitar players. Because of his hectic lifestyle, Hendrix didn’t leave behind too many recorded albums or tracks and, as a result, most of his songs were pirated from concerts.

 

  • Robert Johnson

Born Robert Leroy Johnson in 1911, he was one of the pioneers of the blues guitar. Some of his most famous songs are “Sweet Home Chicago”, “Crossroad Blues”, and “Love in Vain”.

These songs remained influential for upcoming musicians so that they were also played by famous rock bands and guitarists, including Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, and others.

 

  • John Mayer

Born in Connecticut, John Clayton Mayer is a famous American guitar player who started his career playing acoustic rock and began a slow transition to blues in 2005. Since then he worked with other famous players such as B.B. King, Eric Clapton, and Buddy Guy, and he even started his own band, John Mayer Trio.

 

  • Joe Bonamassa

He is considered “the king of modern blues” and he started his career when he was just 12 years old when he opened for B.B. King.

He has released 15 solo albums and is one of the most reputed blues guitarists of the 21st century.