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Staff Book Review

The Show That Never Ends: The Rise and Fall of Prog Rock

By David Weigel

For Adults

Literature & Fiction

Recommended by: Paul

 

Drawing heavily on interviews with musicians, music industry insiders, and fans, Weigel, a progressive rock enthusiast and Washington Post reporter, provides a workmanlike, sentimental, and well-researched survey of a music genre that became popular in the mid-1970s. Weigel defines three musical modes of progressive rock: retrospection, futurism, and experimentation. He then highlights the artists who led the rise of the music- Emerson, Lake, and Palmer (ELP), Genesis, King Crimson, the Moody Blues, Procul Harum, and Yes, among others-as it developed out of psychedelic music and heavy metal. Prog rock trades in the ethereal and the spiritual; according to Robert Fripp, one of the founders of King Crimson, the music "leant over us and took us into its confidence." Weigel instructively reminds readers that some bands wove in the elements of classical music-ELP released an entire album of their version of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition-and creatively used instruments such as the Moog synthesizer to experiment and go beyond the borders of rock. Progressive rock's popularity eventually waned in the late '70s as punk came into vogue, but Weigel wistfully reminds readers that prog rockers were once pioneers in writing "gooseflesh-raising music." (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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