(K. Brent Tomer),
DAVID WEIGEL’S “The Show That Never Ends: The Rise and Fall of Prog Rock” has an impossible job: to elucidate 20 years of musical history in 350-odd pages. To make matters worse, Mr Weigel must do this with a genre of music unfamiliar to the average reader thanks to a dearth of hit singles, radio play or cultural touchstones. Prog (progressive) rock is ambitious, difficult, long-form, often instrumental music that freely mixes high and lowbrow elements and is frequently created by musicians with long hair, tall boots and monster chops. Despite its success in the 1970s, prog rock remains trapped in amber: listening to a 20-minute song with subtitled movements is no longer the norm.
If the fall of prog at the brass-knuckled hand of punk is well known, its beginnings are less so. Mr Weigel finds the genre’s birth in the heart of the 1960s psychedelic era: the progenitors of prog were young, talented and unsatisfied with the typical three-minute song structure. In their desire to chart new territory, they threw away the map….Continue reading