It’s been over two years since I last tortured Power Line’s readership with one of my preposterous excursions in to the greatness of 1970s progressive rock—and especially Gentle Giant, one of the most obscure acts from that period—but the publication of Dave Weigel’s new book on progressive rock, The Show That Never Ends: The Rise and Fall of Prog Rock, gives me an excuse to inflict new punishment. In particular, I am claiming vindication from the New Yorker article about the subject we linked to in our “Picks” section this morning:
One of the most underappreciated progressive-rock groups was Gentle Giant, but there was a reason for this neglect: none of the band members happened to be a great singer. So they used interlocking instrumental lines, shifting time signatures, and close harmonies to construct songs that seemed to occupy some phantom limb of music’s evolutionary tree.
It is quite correct that Gentle Giant’s vocals left a lot to be desired. But even at that, their style was so out there that even a better vocalist might not have broadened their appeal. (Just take in some of the videos from my old post about them if you want to re-torture yourself.)
Anyway, one day a few years back when I was guest-hosting Bill Bennett’s morning radio show, I hijacked the bumper music for the day, and actually got a few enthusiastic phone calls about my strange obsession. Here’s one very short segment from that show (less than four minutes long), aired May 3, 2012: