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Thread: Describe your descent into prog...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    South Carolina

    Describe your descent into prog...

    Apologies if this has been posted before. How did you first discover progressive music? Was it a specific band or sub-style that initially grabbed your attention? How did you discover said band or style? How did your tastes expand from there?

  2. #2
    Outraged bystander markwoll's Avatar
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    Nov 2012
    Northern Virginia
    Prog was top 40 when I was an impressionable kid ( late 60's early 70's ).
    I also discovered college radio ( WGTB & WAMU ) about the same time and ran with an audiophile crowd later.
    It infected me with a love of complicated music that has kept up for 50 years now and shows no sign of diminishing.
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."
    -- Aristotle
    Nostalgia, you know, ain't what it used to be. Furthermore, they tells me, it never was.
    "The future will be better tomorrow." Dan Quayle

  3. #3
    Estimated Prophet notallwhowander's Avatar
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    Nov 2012
    Coastal California

    I was born in '71, so prog was past its heyday when I was developing musical tastes. However, I remember my uncle playing Dark Side of the Moon one day, when I was quite young. It freaked me the hell out: the heartbeat, the ominous helicopter, the wailing woman. It literally scared me and he had to stop the record, all the while he was insisting it was really good. I lived in a kind of fear of that album, with it's black austere cover, for much of my childhood. It wasn't until my early adolescence that I decided to take the bull by the horns and give it a good listen. At that point, I found it awesome and mysterious. Pink Floyd became my favorite band through my teenage years, even though they had split by then, and were in high acrimony. I made sure to see the Radio KAOS and Momentary Lapse tours, which were some of the highlights of high school.

    It should be said that from childhood I had always loved the Beatles. I think because they set the template for progressive rock, and because the prog era was that of legend by the time the '80s came around, I was pretty primed for the genre. When my older brother moved in with component stereo system and a cassette collection (Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Jethro Tull, Asia, Saga, etc.) I think my course was pretty much set.
    Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world.

  4. #4
    I saw Yes in April 1979. That got me totally into Yes, and from there I explored ELP, Tull, KC and eventually many others. Left it behind for a while, but got back in the game when stuff was being released on CD in the early 90s, and from there discovered many gems that had not been on my radar before.


  5. #5
    Howdy Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    Nov 2012
    42°09′30″N 71°08′43″W
    I can't really recall any specific moment, but I got bored with Top 40 and crappy AM sound and switched to listening to stations that would play a wider variety of music on FM, and just branched out. I guess maybe Tull and ELP were my gateways, and there was a syndicated show called Modern Music that I recall mentioning UK and Klaus Schulze...

  6. #6
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    Nov 2012
    Kalamazoo Michigan
    For me I think it harkens back to when I was in 5th grade elementary school. I had a music class and the teacher played us the classical piece “Danse Macabre” from Saint Saens. I distinctly remember her describing the story that the music was representing to the point where I could picture it in my head. The next year I took up playing the French Horn so was again exposed to a lot of classical music. In high school I really started to discover rock n roll. I started with Bob Seeger, Bachman Turner Overdrive, REO Speedwagon, Boston, Eagles and other hard rock that was popular in the mid-70’s Midwest. At some point a bit later I discovered Queen, which opened the floodgates for me and was the first band that I really fell in love with from a more experimental perspective. I also discovered Styx which used elements of classical music in some of their stuff. Queen and Styx led to Kansas (my first prog rock concert). Kansas led to everything else and around 1979 I discovered ELP, Tull, Crimson, Yes, Genesis, and all the rest. I came to prog a little bit late, but it has had it’s hooks in me ever since.

  7. #7
    Progdog ThomasKDye's Avatar
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    Nov 2012
    Vallejo, CA
    I can nail it down to one moment.

    In 1986 my mother and I were living with a friend, who was into Yes and the Beatles. I was always interested in trying out new music. He played me some of the Beatles, and I definitely enjoyed that. I had already bought Yes's "90125" and liked it well enough, so he told me he'd show me what Yes REALLY sounded like. He played several songs for me. However, it wasn't until we got to "Close to the Edge" that I had the epiphany.

    After "I Get Up I Get Down" ... the SECOND that stately pipe organ came in... I was prog's bitch. I felt like I had never heard anything so awesome in my life.

    I wanted to know more about Yes and progressive rock from that moment on.
    "Arf." -- Frank Zappa, "Beauty Knows No Pain" (live version)

  8. #8
    Member Since: 3/27/2002 MYSTERIOUS TRAVELLER's Avatar
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    Nov 2012
    The Kingdom of YHVH
    In the mid-70s it all began with Pink Floyd for me, then when I heard Stanley Clarke’s “brown album” that turned my musical world upside down. Later I started hanging with serious music dudes in NYC that were into all styles of progressive Rock music and they turned me on to the Italian progressive scene and the Afro Prog scene as well as Canterbury and some Avant Prog along with the usual suspects of the Brit Symph scene.
    The mid-70s was a great time to be a music fan!

    No one delineated between any of the styles of progressive Rock music back then. There was no 4-letter word “prog”, it was all just new, exciting, experimental combinations of Rock and other musics and we just reveled in the zeitgeist.
    Why is it whenever someone mentions an artist that was clearly progressive (yet not the Symph weenie definition of Prog) do certain people feel compelled to snort "thats not Prog" like a whiny 5th grader?

  9. #9
    Around 1977 when I was just barely a teenager and while in my friend's older brother's pick up truck he put on a Yes Fragile 8 track and I liked it immediately. I heard a some classic rock and hard rock albums (the only radio I was exposed to was AM top 40) since the early 70s but very little prog (with the exception of some Pink Floyd.) He suggested other bands like Genesis and Gentle Giant and it wasn't long before I was buying prog albums and coming home from school and listening to them every day.

  10. #10
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    Nov 2012
    descent is just the right term for this

    in a nutshell: hearing ELO and SAGA on the radio at the impressionable age of ~12yrs (now fast approaching 50) and discovering that there is a whole new world out there.
    Last edited by iguana; 01-23-2019 at 08:20 AM. Reason: typo

  11. #11
    Pretty sure my first “gateway drug” was Gary Wright’s “Dream Weaver.” I was big into astronomy and fantasizing about space travel through nebulae and suchlike when I was a kid, and that song sounded like what I pictured space travel to be like. I didn’t know what synthesizers were yet, but I knew I liked the sound. Soon afterwards, I discovered ELO (my first favorite band) and Supertramp (got Breakfast in America for my tenth birthday). I wound up getting a cassette of On the Third Day for my eleventh birthday, and what with its synthesizers, string arrangements, suite form and classical-rock stuff (“In the Hall of the Mountain King”), it was probably my first “prog” album. That coupled with Olé ELO (which had “10538 Overture” and “Kuiama” on it alongside some early hits) helped shape my tastes. And then, there was this:


    Laser-show program from the Morrison Planetarium in Golden Gate Park. Some definite prog on that playlist, and it was like a red flag to a bull regarding what sort of music I’d start combing record stores for. In my early teen years I heard Yes’ “Roundabout” on the radio and it was pretty much cemented after that.
    Confirmed Bachelors: the dramedy hit of 1883...

  12. #12
    Moderator Poisoned Youth's Avatar
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    Feb 2002
    Nothern Virginia, USA
    These stories somewhat mirror my own.

    Quote Originally Posted by notallwhowander View Post
    I was born in '71, so prog was past its heyday when I was developing musical tastes. However, I remember my uncle playing Dark Side of the Moon one day, when I was quite young.
    I was born in '70 and had an older sister that was into 70s rock and a father into music as well. Most of my memories in the 70s were of a mix of bands like the Eagles and Doobies mixed with Floyd, Zeppelin, and others.

    Quote Originally Posted by ThomasKDye View Post
    I had already bought Yes's "90125" and liked it well enough, so he told me he'd show me what Yes REALLY sounded like. He played several songs for me. However, it wasn't until we got to "Close to the Edge" that I had the epiphany.
    I had a similar experience. 91025 was one of the first albums I purchased. My dad passed away in 1980 and I remember sometime in 1984 or so flipping through his vinyl. While he didn't have a lot of progressive rock, he did have several Yes albums including Tales(!) (as well as TYA, Fragile, CTTE, GftO). I remember putting a few of those albums on at the time. The music was so "alien" to me. I wouldn't say I had the epiphany at that time, but my curiosity was piqued.

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveSly View Post
    At some point a bit later I discovered Queen, which opened the floodgates for me and was the first band that I really fell in love with from a more experimental perspective. I also discovered Styx which used elements of classical music in some of their stuff. Queen and Styx led to Kansas (my first prog rock concert). Kansas led to everything else and around 1979 I discovered ELP, Tull, Crimson, Yes, Genesis, and all the rest. I came to prog a little bit late, but it has had it’s hooks in me ever since.
    Yep. For me it was around 1983. But I had a very similar experience. Styx and Queen were the two bands I was most into along with lots of AOR and the emerging hair metal scene. Kansas was one of the bands I gravitated to shortly after. I was into to a lot of the more popular progressive rock bands eventually, especially ones still recording in the 80s.

    However it wasn't really until the early 90s that I really took it to the next level. For me, the music that I feel in love with as a teen abruptly came to a halt by about 1989-1990 and I wasn't a fan of what was emerging, so I went "back to the 70s" and started to discover music I'd missed. By that time, used CD stores were popping up everywhere and from about 1991-1999 I spent a great deal of time rummaging through bins to find music. I'd also met a friend at one of these stores around 1995 or so that was a prog fan who introduced me to bands like Camel for the first time. By the late 90s I was a prog junkie and even attended the first NEARFest in 1999.

    By about 2001 I was much more connected with the community. And just as I was telling my wife that "I think I'm about done collecting prog", I discovered the world of jazz and eBay. Talk about your descents...
    WANTED: Sig-worthy quote.

  13. #13
    Member Zeuhlmate's Avatar
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    Nov 2012
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Born in 57.
    No specific point.
    I always liked adventurous music, my dad played allsorts of classical, folk, and some jazz.

    I just move on to more challenging stuff when I get bored.
    Bought Hot Rats, Valentyne Suite, Hansson & Carlsson, Band of Gypsys when I was around 13, changed school when I was 14 and got new friends that were into GG, Yes, Crimson... found Magma on the local library at the time.
    And 'prog' was THE music of the decade.

  14. #14
    Born in 1963. I had an uncle who loved classical music and gave me a set of Beethoven symphonies when I was 7 years old. I listened to them non-stop (much to my parents annoyance). When I discovered pop music, my ear gravitated towards complex melodies and song structures and immediately noticed The Beatles, Moody Blues, ELP, Yes, Kansas. I didn't notice Genesis or King Crimson until I was in high school. Then came punk, new wave, post punk, synth-pop and I listened to that thinking that the Prog era was over, although I did like the more "artsy" of those groups. Flash forward to 1994 and the chance discovery of Bob Wolf's table at the NYC record show. At that point I was off to the races listening to bands I'd never heard of before and new acts that were putting out music all the time.
    No matter what anyone says, you are the decider of how you will listen to music.

  15. #15
    I got into prog mostly because of K-SHE (St. Louis) classics. They played a lot of prog mixed in with other rare tracks. So I learned about Renaissance, Camel, Ambrosia, Steve Hackett (I owned Please Don't Touch before I owned any Genesis album) and FM to name a few. My sister owned Journey to the Centre off the Earth and Remember the Future and when she needed money, I bought those from her. I was also a Rush fan in high school, and friends introduced me to Jethro Tull and Yes. I got into all these bands not knowing that there was a genre called progressive rock. When I went to college, a friend of mine worked at the college radio station (KMNR, Rolla, MO) and he was able to unearth a lot more prog than we had previously known about. So my descent was gradual and sort of naive.

  16. #16
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    Nov 2012
    Iowa City IA
    Beatles at around age 10 (1976)
    Friends all listened to a lot of Kansas, Floyd and Tull as we hit the teenage years. Liked Floyd, loved Kansas and Tull.
    Yes happened to come to Bethlehem PA in 1980. I thought they were the greatest singers/players ever (including T. Horn...). I was an instant fan.
    Found out about King Crimson in '81 through the connection with Bruford.
    Randomly bought a Caravan album at a yard sale in '81 or '82. Bought all things Canterbury that i could over the next several years.

    Mostly forgot about it from say '88 to '93. Became a fan of Jazz and World Music. Then I found RMP and AMY and got sucked back into the Prog rabbit hole. Haven't emerged since.

  17. #17
    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    Dec 2015
    Hudson Valley, NY
    I was born in a wee lad during the original hey day. I borrowed my brother-in-law's copy of Moving Pictures in the early 80's, that album and single incident changed my life. I subsequently also played in orchestra and jazz ensembles at school, then went on to get my bachelors and masters in music education/performance, and have been teaching orchestra for 22 years.
    If it isn't Krautrock, it's krap.

  18. #18
    Yes, I was listening to heavy metal as a teenager, and bought upon release Fates Warning- Perfect Symmetry and Dream Theater - When Day and Dream Unite. I liked those 2 very much, so when I was informed that they were heavily influenced by a band named Rush I bought 2112.

    It was like an alien object landing in my room. Completely weird music.

    So basically my way in was the Northamerican bands Rush, Kansas, Pavlov's Dog etc.

  19. #19
    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    Mar 2003
    Westchester, NY
    I'll just mention a couple of key things;

    On a trip the summer before senior year of high school this friend urged me to listen to DSOTM and I loved it, and this girl kept playing Genesis' Duke. So I was opened to Floyd and Genesis.

    My first year of college the floodgates were opened immediately, but key was this one very nice and funny friend who was a massive Genesis fan. His girlfriend painted a t-shirt for him that had all the characters from the cover of A Trick of the Tail painted all around the chest and back, and that definitely got me interested in Genesis.

  20. #20
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Mar 2004
    Born in 63 in Europe but arrived in Canada at the start of the 70's, though my first memories of rock music was Tull's Stand Up and OST off the Hair Broadway musical date from Brussels.

    My first two year in Montreal were mostly Beatles vs Stones (I was of the latter side) and CHOM-FM, but our English teacher printed Beatles lyrics and played the albums as school lessons (how cool was that!!).
    Moving on to Toronto in late 73, where I started buying my first few records in 74 with my newspaperboy delivery routes money and they were
    Harmonium's debut, Supertramp's COTC (that was the major clincher for me) , Genesis' SEBTP (didn't like it for the next two years), Floyd's DSOTM...ITCOTCK, ITLOG&P and TAAB followed soon afterwards.
    In my class of 74, I was musically a couple of years ahead of the rest of the students, because a lot of them were either Glam/Bubble-gum rock or straight pop; so as the Froggie in the classroom, I was kind of a loner - which is why (I guess) that music kind of fairly individualist texts resonated so much with me. Amazingly enough, I didn't have an older brother to help me out, but the record shop owner was always excellent advice. had no idea this was called "prog" until the early 90's, though.

    I later turned onto (in High School - from 76 onwards) Blues Rock (TYA), Hard Rock (Rainbow Rising, Argus , Sad Wings and In Rock), Reggae, Punk (briefly) probably though radio exposure (CHUM-FM and CILQ) and in the early 80's (my Uni years), I went bonkers (an Inner-Mounting Erection, shall we say ) with JR/F (Caravanserai and Bitches Brew) and late-60's Psych rock (Dead, Spirit and Jefferson Airplane) and then 60's Jazz (Trane, Miles, Mingus), but I +/- avoided radio between 82 and 91 (return to Europe). The 90's saw me listen to grunge (including RHCP and RATM), trip hop, post rock, RIO/avant and Scandinavian Retro-prog.
    Last edited by Trane; 01-23-2019 at 10:26 AM.
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from heroin-addicts to crazy ones

  21. #21
    I was born in 1970. I was a metalhead in the 80s and leaned towards bands on the proggier side (Anthrax, Iron Maiden, Metallica, et al) I loved Rush as well. I finally took the yes plunge around 1987 and started buying their CDs as quickly as possible. Then started with ELP, Genesis, etc. I had a professor in college introduce me to the Dixie Dregs and Mahavishnu Orchestra. Oddly enough, I really didn't develop a taste for King Crimson until the mid-90s, as I always thought their music was kind of strange at first.

  22. #22
    Worthy of Laudation thedunno's Avatar
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    Nov 2012
    AS a teen in the early 80ies I was already an enourmous music snob.

    I liked the police
    They got very popular
    Could not like them anymore
    I was looking for another band to like that everyone hated
    I found Marillion
    They got popular too
    I found out that Marillion fans hated a band named Cardiacs
    The end

  23. #23
    Member dgtlman's Avatar
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    Nov 2012
    OKC, OK
    I grew up in a home where my mom listened to a lot of classical music. So this was a natural progression into rock music for me. Started with the Beatles, Iron Butterfly, Alice Cooper, etc. Then I found ELP, Heep, Yes & went "This is it!".

  24. #24
    Had an older brother by 5 years, who unwillingly allowed me -when he wasn't around, to listen to his stereo and cassettes. I never differentiated between prog and other genres, it was all music. I just gravitated towards the prog. I was always musically oriented and was always learning some kind of instrument, piano, violin, guitar, bass, drums. Prog just seemed the most interesting to me. I think I liked how all the musical parts were different, yet they all worked with each other to create something very interesting, and complex. I was as much into Zeppelin and Black Sabbath as I was into Yes or Floyd. I still am. Prog is not my only love. I really do not differentiate between prog and other music I like. Maybe I shouldn't even be here.
    I got nothin'

    ...avoiding any implication that I have ever entertained a cognizant thought.

  25. #25
    Rush was my gateway to prog in 1981. But hearing Tull on WPLJ in NYC was also instrumental, as it caused me to delve into their back catalogue. Finally the albums Classic Yes and 90125 were huge, prompting a CTTE listen that served as a catalyst for so many other bands.
    Last edited by Score2112; 01-23-2019 at 03:26 PM.


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