Back to 1973 Progressive Rock
When I’m in the mood for some cerebral music, I listen to either Classical or Progressive Rock. Some of my favorite Progressive Rock albums were released in 1973. I was only two years old that year, so I got to discover these albums already in my teens; but I have a pretty vivid recollection of days in the late ’70s when some older cousins and young uncles of mine would play their vinyl records on the phonograph that sat in the big living room of mom’s parents’ house where we also lived. Some of those records were of this genre and were the following.
Aside from their having the same release year, another common denominating characteristic of these albums is the complexity of music, the focus of which is on the instrumentation itself. Well, what could one expect—that’s the trademark of Progressive Rock—the genre that could launch a million brain cells in the mind of a so-called multidimensional listener—the genre that I love next to New Wave.
Mike Oldfield – Tubular Bells (1973)
Anyone who loves this album must really love instrumental music and have very patient ears and keen sense to details. Imagine, this album is comprised by only two tracks—“Tubular Bells” part 1, which is almost 26 minutes; and the 23-minute “Tubular Bells” part 2.
Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Brain Salad Surgery (1973)My favorite album by the band, consisting of only 5 tracks, the last of which is the blissful, 30-minute long epic “Karn Evil 9.”
Gentle Giant – In the Glass House (1973)
Although this does not contain my favorite songs by the band—“On Reflection” and “Memories of Old Days”—it is, however, my most favorite because it contained some of Gentle Giant’s longest songs, such as “Way of Life” (7 minutes, 53 seconds) and the title track (eight, six).
Genesis – Selling England by the Pound (1973)Many music enthusiasts in my own circle are familiar with Genesis via the band’s ’80s Pop, Phil Collins-fronted era. Personally though, I prefer the band’s early albums because they were Progressive Rock–styled and showcased their most intricate and ornate songs, and especially because the guitarist Steve Hackett was still a part of them. Among these albums, ‘Selling England by the Pound is one of my favorites, particularly the songs “The Battle of Epping Forest” and “The Cinema Show.”
Curiously many of the Progressive Rock music followers whom I know belong to the 50+ and 60+ age brackets. Seldom do I stumble upon music enthusiasts from my own generation (I’m currently in my 40s) who really dig Progressive Rock music. That’s okay. I simply love complex music from whatever generation—be it from the Baroque or Romantic era of the previous centuries’ Common Practice Period, Progressive Rock of the 1960s and 1970s, or their contemporary representatives.
Even with my beloved New Wave music, I still get drawn more to those albums that feature more instruments and unconventional song structures and extended interludes.
But don’t get me wrong, for at the end of the spin, music to me is also about moods and moments. While I get elated with the hyperbolic ornateness of Progressive Rock music, I could also feel surges of sugar rush when listening to three-minute short, catchy Pop songs—but that’s for another story.