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Thread: 1978 - is it the worst year in seventies progressive rock?

  1. #26
    Member StarThrower's Avatar
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  2. #27
    I think my post has gone way off track of what I was intending. It somehow morphed into just a list of great prog rock released in 1978. I guess that's the perspective I spoke about... hindsight thanks to the internet cannot be compared to the actual happenings of the time. I remember travelling to Germany in 1981 and every record store I went into laughed when I asked if they had Grobschnitt... mostly, they had no idea what I was talking about. Same as what happened in France when I was looking for Magma stuff. They had Joy Division and Peter Frampton and Fleetwood Mac but prog? They looked at me like I was an alien. I guess I didn't know the proper underground shops? If a tree falls in a forest and all that...

  3. #28
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    for me, it was never about 'what's played on the radio' as that really only represents the mass-appeal/pop-ular artists and being the most popular usually is not a litmus for quality. I do not find Genesis and Yes all that interesting, but that's just me. For me, it was about finding a record store that carried those pop prog bands and asking the curator about other bands who pushed the boundaries of conventional VCVBC Rock music. In that fashion I would find my favorite stores in any particular urban area (I moved about a lot) and often they would play samples of albums that caught my attention or they recommended. SFF, Henry Cow, Shylock, Potemkine, SBB, Caldera and others were all discovered that way.

  4. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by MYSTERIOUS TRAVELLER View Post
    For me, it was about finding a record store that carried those pop prog bands and asking the curator about other bands who pushed the boundaries of conventional VCVBC Rock music. ... and often they would play samples of albums that caught my attention or they recommended. SFF, Henry Cow, Shylock, Potemkine, SBB, Caldera and others were all discovered that way.
    yes, I understand... for me that record store was cellophane square in bellingham WA and another (can't recall the name) in seattle, and in vancouver at yellow submarine records and ernie's hot wax. I too discovered bands like which you mentioned that way.

  5. #30
    Member Joe F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MagmaShark View Post
    yes, I understand... for me that record store was cellophane square in bellingham WA and another (can't recall the name) in seattle, and in vancouver at yellow submarine records and ernie's hot wax. I too discovered bands like which you mentioned that way.
    Mount Olympus?

  6. #31
    Member moecurlythanu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MagmaShark View Post
    I remember travelling to Germany in 1981 and every record store I went into laughed when I asked if they had Grobschnitt...
    They had Grobschnitt in Cleveland in '78 or '79. And from Dark Elf's list, I purchased these at the time:

    Quote Originally Posted by The Dark Elf View Post
    Jethro Tull - Heavy Horses and Bursting Out
    Rush - Hemispheres
    Genesis - And Then There Were Three
    U.K. - U.K.
    Peter Gabriel - Scratch
    And knew of these:

    Quote Originally Posted by The Dark Elf View Post
    David Gilmour - S/T
    The Moody Blues - Octave
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  7. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by Kcrimso View Post
    Isn't Western Culture from 1979?
    It was recorded in 1978, not released until later I think. National Health s/t was recorded 1977 but released 1978.

  8. #33
    (aka timmybass69) timmy's Avatar
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    Love Beach by ELP. November 18, 1978. Epic.
    "Why is it when these great Prog guys get together, they always want to make a Journey album?"
    - fiberman, 7/5/2015

  9. #34
    I see your original intent of the post. Living in 1978 prog was going downhill from the big names. It turns out a lot of good stuff was being released but for a lot of people that was discovered through reissues later or learning about those bands in the 90s onward.

  10. #35
    Progga mogrooves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mogrooves View Post
    Art Bears - Hopes and Fears
    Quote Originally Posted by Zeuhlmate View Post
    Not mentioned yet: Art Bears - Hopes and Fear

    Not to pick a nit, but....
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  11. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by mogrooves View Post
    Not to pick a nit, but....
    hey, so he missed a few...


    about 4 from my list but who's counting

  12. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by MagmaShark View Post
    The bands quoted here - Spinetta, Seru Giran, Czeslaw Niemen I don't get how these would be known and consumed by rock audiences. Rock music simply included those bands considered prog rock mixed in, or in a special "import" section. I understand your sentiment that prog rock shouldn't be considered Britcentric or limited to anglo saxon bands, but back then I just remember that's what it was like.

    It all keeps coming back to SS's comment about "perspective". If someone in 1978 heard on the radio or saw in the record store new release pile (in Canada or the USA) and bought Modry …fekt - Svet Hledacu or Cai - Mas Alla de Nuestras Mentes Diminutas or Hinn Izlenski Thursaflokkur - Hinn Izlenski Thursaflokkur I would love to hear that story!!
    First, if it's about fame yet isn't 'baricentric' - then I don't quite understand the unclearness of my previous post. Argentina is a huge country, but progressive rock names like Charly Garcia or Luis Alberto Spinetta weren't merely gigantic there - they were in all of the South Americas, in other words with hundreds of millions of people. Whether or not listeners identified that music as "progressive" has nothing to do with it, and neither has the fact that listeners elsewhere - for example in Great Britain - weren't aware. After the fall of the military dictatorships, Garcia and Spinetta were admired by liberal state leaders who wanted themselves photographed next to these 'idols of the masses and harbingers of freedom'. That's the picture.

    Second, this is supposedly about the music itself, which was being further developed by lesser known bands. "Fame" or restrictions as to which record stores would sell the music or not for commercial reasons - no. In that case, I presume the thread would benefit from a new title, such as "1978 - my personal worst prog-rock year" or something.

    The Plastic People of the Universe, who released scorchingly radical 'progressive' rock music with imminently radical lyrics, had their manager and two members jailed and beaten on several occasions for opposing the way-of-things in a repressive Czechoslowakia - and they were legendary with audiences there already then; enough so that they were part of the Charta '77 manifesto which basically ignited the organized cultural opposition to the Czech dictatorship. Czeslaw Niemen turned sales of more than two million in his native Poland, the Ukraine and Russia during the latter half of the seventies; he was brought to the west on the strength of his 'sensation' but ultimately didn't like it there.

    It comes down to the fact that music is more than "us" and "ourselves" - what we know, what we understand, what we prefer and the way we would like to see it all connected for self-insights to somehow be hopefully confirmed and concur with the grander scheme of things.
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  13. #38
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    I thought it was one of the best if only for Hemispheres and Tormato, there must be many others.

  14. #39
    I would say - with my limited knowledge and understanding - that 1978 is the year of two landmark albums: National Health Of Queues and Cures and Henry Cow Western Culture. I am not sure that progressive rock - in the traditional sense of the guitar-bass-drums rock format - made much progress after that. It is not that brilliant progressive music stopped being produced: but either it moved away from the rock-combo tradition [ΕDIT: meaning also towards the post-punk/new wave trend] or stopped breaking ground the way it did in the previous decade. This is valid of course only as a generalization, there were perhaps exceptions.

    There was still some great prog being made in the periphery of the world, but it did have a more local, limited impact - not any universal status as those British bands were claiming earlier. Those latter bands were of course toast by 1978 - more or less, and were about to transform to something which had nothing in common with their past (except names and logos).

    Overall, checking Gnosis, yeah, I could agree with the original post. Not a great year compared with earlier ones, in terms of quantity of truly essential albums.
    Last edited by Zappathustra; 03-08-2019 at 07:01 AM.

  15. #40
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    I'd say it is a weaker year, especially in the big prog 6 (who put out weaker or no albums) and in terms of what I would retain, 78 is weaker than 79 and 77, but superior to any 80's year



    1978 (in italic, the stuff that I was aware of back then)
    13 Ripaille La Vieille que l'On Brula
    12 Bubu Anabelas
    12 Grobschnitt Solar Music Live
    12 Itoiz Itoiz
    12 Maneige Libre Service
    12 Marino, Frank & Mahogany Rush Live

    12 Muffins, The Manna / Mirage
    12 Van Halen Van Halen
    11 Cano Eclipse
    11 Marley & The Wailers Babylon By Bus
    11 Max Webster Mutiny Up My Sleeve
    11 Police, The Outlandos d'Amour
    11 Queen Jazz

    11 Thursaflokkur (řursaflokkur) Hinn Islenzki Thursaflokkur
    11 Troisieme Rive Banlieues
    11 National Health Of Queues and Cures
    11 Henry Cow Western Culture
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from heroin-addicts to crazy ones

  16. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by Trane View Post

    11 Queen Jazz
    11 National Health Of Queues and Cures
    11 Henry Cow Western Culture
    There's something that hurts the eye here...

  17. #42
    Member Zeuhlmate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zappathustra View Post
    There's something that hurts the eye here...


    Did I mention Art Bears - Hopes and Fears?

  18. #43
    My Top 10 would probably look like this:

    Henry Cow - Western Culture
    National Health - Of Queues and Cures
    Muffins - Manna/Mirage
    Art Bears - Hopes and Fears
    Rialzu - Rialzu
    Bubu - Anabelas
    Rush - Hemispheres
    Cathedral - Stained Glass Stories
    Etron Fou - Les Trois Fous
    Magma - Attahk

    But...there was fantastic music from the other side of the fence: Devo, Wire, Magazine, Pere Ubu, Chrome.

    The Indexi - Modra Rijeka, was it mentioned?

  19. #44
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MagmaShark View Post
    My personal contention is that 1978 was the end of seventies progressive rock as we knew it. Or at least a clear sign that the original classic progressive rock scene would be forever changed. Much like the dow jones (which is only 30 stocks) measures the overall health of the stock market (out of tens of thousands of stocks) the top prog rock bands of the seventies (yes, genesis, crimson, elp, floyd, camel, moodies, tull etc....) represented the overall health of the prog rock music scene.
    Please note this is from a north american perspective (widespread releases, touring, FM radio, older brother's collections...)
    OK, nowadays, we're of course seeing things from a retrospective PoV, because back then, I'd say that it was impossible top say that "prog" was nearing its "classical era", despite what a few Kunts (like Nick Kent) were writing in enemy of MM. Who read NME and MM in North am back then, anyways?? >> it arrived 4 to 6 weeks later (at best, when at all) in Toronto.

    I myself, despite starting out with prog earlier in the decade, by 78, I was into hard rock, reggae and some punk. (I was in the attendance of 13 at Toronto's The Edge for The Police, having won the tickets via the radio station)

    I look to these bands and what happened from 77 - 78. The drop off from album to album is astounding. Some of these bands either broke up, or tried to reinvent themselves, or changed members but whatever happened, things would never be the same. I thought about 1979 but out of the major 5 bands only pink floyd put out an album (albeit what a classic it turned out to be!) but because of a relatviely nominal output of prog in 1979 (at least in comparison to 1978) I can't single out this year more than the previous year.
    personally and retrospectively I view 79 as a better year altogether (not just for "prog"), but back then I didn't notice the start of the plunge, since I was buying Bob Seger, Styx, Tom Petty, Neil Young and Aerosmith (etc...) albums LR&C (left right & centre) and I was not into making judgments or ratings per year or genre... It's only years later that those "lesser" albums dropped in my esteem

    Quote Originally Posted by MYSTERIOUS TRAVELLER View Post
    it depends on how one views progressive Rock music. If you are just looking at the top selling acts with pop appeal then 78 was the end
    but if you're looking at the artists creating deeper, more challenging progressive Rock music one might say that 78 was a rebirth!
    Well, the RIO crowd was getting under way.... but it's not like that crowd attracted big throngs.
    I mean a "normal" teenager in the late 70's probably had not a chance in H or H to know those bands, unless you had an import store and much cash to pay triple than a domestic release. I mean even Gong & Magma were imports in Canada, AFAI can remember

    Quote Originally Posted by moecurlythanu View Post
    But...but...TOR-mah-toe!! <sob> <sniff> <wail> OH GOD WHAT HAS HAPPENED???!!!
    Take away Awaken from GFTR and Tormato is the better album of the two

    Quote Originally Posted by Poisoned Youth View Post
    I do agree that it's difficult to compare 1978 with 1972-1975. But I don't think it was the worst year of the decade.
    Yep. I think if you're using the "big 5" as a measure, it looks pretty bleak. But 1978, for example, was just about the greatest year for progressive rock in Spain, not to mention was going on in France at the time.
    I would say the lesser 70's year in terms of quality releases, beit prog and rock (I made no difference back then as "prog" was basically unknown or described as "art rock)

    Spain was on a different cycle, though, and only politically (and therefore artistically) free since 75 and the death of Franco... so 78 in Spain represents 71 in the US&UK and 73 in continental Europe.

    Quote Originally Posted by MagmaShark View Post
    I enjoy your posts (as well as MT and others) but I think my idea for the post somehow got corrupted really fast. I wanted my original post to be about 1978 at the time, not in retrospect.
    welcome to PE

    but unless being a seer, it was impossible to see that trend, unless you had a reason to provoke it (punk wave wanting their 15 minutes of glory) or had a hidden agenda (record labels out to rationalize the costs >> a punk album cost 1/150 of a prog album)

    A question for scrotum scissor and mysterious traveller - in the year 1978 which of the bands you mention on your lists did you walk into the local record store and ask for and then buy? And to refresh my memory I just grabbed some of my old rock magazines from 1978 and checked the back pages where you could buy imports from overseas and I do not see most bands on your lists. That's why I think my original post has gone so far afield. The bands quoted here - Spinetta, Seru Giran, Czeslaw Niemen I don't get how these would be known and consumed by rock audiences. Rock music simply included those bands considered prog rock mixed in, or in a special "import" section. I understand your sentiment that prog rock shouldn't be considered Britcentric or limited to anglo saxon bands, but back then I just remember that's what it was like. Thank you internet for opening the floodgates to history and opening our ears and eyes to what prog rock could really be!

    It all keeps coming back to SS's comment about "perspective". If someone in 1978 heard on the radio or saw in the record store new release pile (in Canada or the USA) and bought Modry …fekt - Svet Hledacu or Cai - Mas Alla de Nuestras Mentes Diminutas or Hinn Izlenski Thursaflokkur - Hinn Izlenski Thursaflokkur I would love to hear that story!!
    of course, you're absolutely right... not a single radio (AM or FM) in North Am or western Europe outside the country concerned ever played any of those albums. Outside pirate stations, the airwaves only opened to private radios in the 80's there anyways)

    Quote Originally Posted by MagmaShark View Post
    I think my post has gone way off track of what I was intending. It somehow morphed into just a list of great prog rock released in 1978. I guess that's the perspective I spoke about... hindsight thanks to the internet cannot be compared to the actual happenings of the time. I remember travelling to Germany in 1981 and every record store I went into laughed when I asked if they had Grobschnitt... mostly, they had no idea what I was talking about. Same as what happened in France when I was looking for Magma stuff. They had Joy Division and Peter Frampton and Fleetwood Mac but prog? They looked at me like I was an alien. I guess I didn't know the proper underground shops? If a tree falls in a forest and all that...
    Again, welcome to PE

    and yes, I suppose you didn't go to the "good" record shops, but 81 was already a different aural time zone as well.
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from heroin-addicts to crazy ones

  20. #45
    Member Kcrimso's Avatar
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    I still believe that Western Culture is 1979 album...
    "A waste of talent and electricity." John Peel on ELP

  21. #46
    Member moecurlythanu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trane View Post

    Take away Awaken from GFTR and Tormato is the better album of the two.
    I wasn't trying to set up a discussion of Tormato with my post, but...Ridiculous. Going For The Run had 4 or 5 tracks that were better than anything on Tormento. Imo, Yes made 3 great albums, and GFTO was one of them.
    Last edited by moecurlythanu; 03-08-2019 at 10:09 AM.
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  22. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by Kcrimso View Post
    I still believe that Western Culture is 1979 album...
    Solely because you are totally embarrassed for not putting it in your top-10 list...:-)

    Recorded 78, released 79.

  23. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by moecurlythanu View Post
    Ridiculous. Going For The Run had 4 or 5 tracks that were better than anything on Tormento. Imo, Yes made 3 great albums, and GFTO was one of them.
    If you remove 5 tracks out of Going For The Nun, Torpedo is waaaaay better.

  24. #49
    I say that if 1978 wasn't the worst year for progressive rock (I think that 1979 was worse), there were clear sings that the genre was winding down. While there were signs of life;
    Rush-Hemispheres
    U.K.-U.K.
    It was also the year of high profile disappointments;
    ELP-Love Beach
    Yes-Tormato
    Gentle Giant-Giant For A Day
    And one of the pillars of '70s prog, Genesis, begins their move to mainstream pop/rock with And Then There Were Three.
    And 1978 was the year that both the record companies and radio (at least in the USA & England) began to close their doors to prog.

  25. #50
    Jazzbo manquť Mister Triscuits's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zappathustra View Post
    Recorded 78, released 79.
    True, but it even says "Henry Cow '78" on the front cover.

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