Progressive Rock has had a strange history. From its early days in England in the late ’60’s, its arena-rock success of the early 70’s to its cultish status since its heyday; Prog Rock has seen a lot of changes. Some of the Prog Rock bands have had a lasting influence on music, whilst others are so obscure even the most knowledgeable music guru takes pains to think of one of their songs. There has been much criticism of Prog over the years – both negative & positive. That the musicians are talented & highly skilled has never been in doubt. That they can be seen as pretentious and flamboyant, perhaps. But Prog Rock has always enraptured my imagination because of its artistry – the way it uses music to tell stories & build pictures in the listener’s head. Plus, I’ve always liked the idea that some songs just need to be longer then four or five minutes.
I used to play a bit of a game with some friends of mine – something to just pass the time. We would imagine we were stuck on a deserted island with a single ninety minute mix tape as our only musical solace. The game was to pick the songs that we would put on that Deserted Island Mix Tape. I always laughed that mine wouldn’t hold all of my “must have” songs – since most of them were beyond the six minute mark. Well, the below list is my Prog Rock Desert Island Mix – if I could only have ten Prog Rock songs, these would be them.