Podcast: A Classic Format Episode About Classic Prog Rock

As Monty Python used to say, “And now for something completely different.” I taught my last class of the semester today, which means I’ll have a bit more time to turn up for battle here. Feeling in a whimsical mood I decided to do a one-off 20-minute episode about my favorite topic with which to annoy anyone of taste and refinement—a reflection on prog rock, which Jody Bottum once aptly described as “rock and roll gone to college.”

It turns out that 2021 marks the 50th anniversary of some of the classic albums from the golden age of Prog Rock, including “Fragile” and “The Yes Album,” Jethro Tull’s “Aqualung,” “Nursery Crime” from Genesis, and “Acquiring the Taste” from Gentle Giant.

Steve Hackett

Given that I’ve successfully annoyed Power Line readers with some of the more forbidding Gentle Giant tunes from that era, I decided for this episode to spotlight some of the instrumental interludes and bridges of Genesis from those long ago albums before Phil Collins ruined the band by taking it into pure pop after Peter Gabriel left in 1975. For excerpts, however, I decided to use some of the recent live arrangements of Steve Hackett, one of the lead guitars and co-songwriter for many of those old tunes. So while it may be “prog rock,” it’s easy listening! (Though I did sneak in a few bars of Gentle Giant at the very end. I promise it is not too painful.)

The episode features excerpts from “Firth of Fifth,” “The Cinema Show,” “Supper’s Ready,” “Horizons,” “After the Ordeal,” and “Harlequin.”

You know what to do now: listen here, or boogie on over to the bandstand at Ricochet. (Except, don’t try to boogie to prog rock. With its irregular time signatures, you’ll dislocate a knee or break a hip.)