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

  1. #51
    Member Since: 3/27/2002 MYSTERIOUS TRAVELLER's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Triscuits View Post
    True, but it even says "Henry Cow '78" on the front cover.
    because that's the speed you're supposed to play it at
    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?

  2. #52
    Member Rajaz's Avatar
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    As far as the mayor acts are concerned, 1978 had the worst ELP album released in Love Beach and Yes' Tormato is among their lowest rated albums and Jethro Tull Heavy Horses was a departure for the band from prog to folk. The only bright spot was the release of UK's debut album and QUEEN was riding high live and with their Jazz album although not entirely prog, were a force to recon with at the time. And then there were three was a bitter sweet LP/tour seeing Steve Hackett gone and the start of a pop-singles oriented Genesis.

    In Europe Goblin's Il fantastico viaggio del bagarozzo Mark (post-Suspiria) was truly significant in the prog scene and Eloy released a double Live album shortly followed by the classic Silent cries and Mighty echoes that no one can deny is one of their best. And back to America, Boston's Don't Look Back was a great counter attack on the punk wave approaching. And by all standards, Kansas' Two for the Show was the best live album that year. Pieces of Eight by Styx a true classic as well in the same league as Rush Hemispheres.

    So I would say 1978 was a year with many highs but the lows were a turning point in prog history without a doubt.
    Last edited by Rajaz; 1 Week Ago at 12:37 PM. Reason: added comment
    My PROG shows:
    YES - Montreal Forum, Feb. 74 - The Winery, Saratoga, CA Aug 2016
    ELP - Montreal Forum, Dec. 73 - Verizon, Houston TX May 2010
    Pink Floyd - Olympic Stadium, July 77 - Yankee Stadium, NY Jun 94
    Jethro Tull - Montreal Forum, Jun 73 - LA Forum, Nov 78
    Rush - Montreal Forum, July 84 - Toyota Ctr, Houston, TX May 2015
    Genesis - Montreal Forum, December 74 - Pepsi Arena, Denver Oct 2007
    King Crimson - Spectrum Montreal, July 84 - Videotron Ctr Quebec July 2017

  3. #53
    Member Gizmotron's Avatar
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    My answer?

    No.

  4. #54
    Quote Originally Posted by starless and bible black View Post
    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

    Genesis
    "Signs of Life"? Rush et al.? In a year that spawned Western Culture, the most advanced album to ever come out of the 70s British progressive rock foundation and literally one of the most intricate 'rock music' albums ever released?
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  5. #55
    Moderator Poisoned Youth's Avatar
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    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.
    No worries. Thank you for clarifying your intention. Sometimes threads here on PE go pretty off track. I hope it doesn't discourage you.
    WANTED: Sig-worthy quote.

  6. #56
    The OPer asked an interesting question, which hasn't really been answered by (m)any posters since - which was about how you remembered things back in 1978. I think he's right to highlight the fact that, for one reason or another, much of the music that we now hold in high regard from, in this instance, 1978, has acquired its "status" with the benefit of "hindsight".

    Back in the day, my memory is that - in Edinburgh, where I was living - we listened to the music that we could get hold of in the wee independent record stores, informed either by the guys selling the records, the music press (NME, Sounds, Melody Maker, Record Mirror), or, from a strictly prog perspective, Tommy Vance on a Friday night on the radio. His show launched, I think, in 1978. So there was obviously still a sense that there was an audience out there for prog.

    But what I really remember is that, as 1978 turned over to 1979, most of us who listened to music that was "progressive" carried on listening to the likes of UK & Gentle Giant, but that actually, the real excitement was with the new bands like PiL & Joy Division & Magazine & The Pop Group.

    These were the bands that seemed, back then (in 1979, perhaps more than 1978), to be doing what the prog bands had been doing at the beginning of the 70s - forging new spaces for musical creation, creating a sense of vibrant excitement about the possibilities of music.

    Back then, even though we carried on listening to some of the other bands mentioned, there was no (longer the) sense that they were at the progressive/cutting edge.

    I'm not posting this to make any judgements about any of the music - I'm just trying to convey my memories of how things seemed, at that time, in response to one of the questions raised by the OPer.

  7. #57
    Member Since: 3/27/2002 MYSTERIOUS TRAVELLER's Avatar
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    I purposely avoided listing any established artists. My whole list is made up of upstarts of the late 70s, but I have to admit that I didn't find out about half of those until the internet age.
    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?

  8. #58
    This has gone really out of tracks here. Everyone is discussing about music that was recorded - or released KC godamitt - in 1978.

  9. #59
    Quote Originally Posted by per anporth View Post
    The OPer asked an interesting question, which hasn't really been answered by (m)any posters since - which was about how you remembered things back in 1978.
    Of course. That was the question it was asked. No worries there. That was just the original question and we got it off track.

  10. #60
    So, to get back on track, and sorry for the one hour from my life I've wasted to answer to the OP, how did I remember things back in 78? I was 4 years old, I asked the guy in the record shop to bring me some Henry Cow, 78 was on the cover, but I said no, this is from the future, it's going to be released in 79, and he said no, you're only 45 years old, you're not old enough to be revered and say whatever is on your mind and be progressive,you're just a kid, that's how I remember it.

  11. #61
    Member Joe F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zappathustra View Post
    So, to get back on track, and sorry for the one hour from my life I've wasted to answer to the OP, how did I remember things back in 78? I was 4 years old, I asked the guy in the record shop to bring me some Henry Cow, 78 was on the cover, but I said no, this is from the future, it's going to be released in 79, and he said no, you're only 45 years old, you're not old enough to be revered and say whatever is on your mind and be progressive,you're just a kid, that's how I remember it.
    So what you're saying is that the question really wasn't meant for you. Thanks for playing though. For your efforts you win the consolation prize of a lifetime supply of razors by Gillette, the closest shave you'll ever experience!

  12. #62
    Quote Originally Posted by Joe F. View Post
    So what you're saying is that the question really wasn't meant for you. Thanks for playing though. For your efforts you win the consolation prize of a lifetime supply of razors by Gillette, the closest shave you'll ever experience!
    No Joe. There was a question there you know, in plain English. And I answered the question. I took the time and effort to answer it. But I probably misread because it's off track.

    Most probably I shouldn't bother answering at all.

  13. #63
    Member Joe F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zappathustra View Post
    No Joe. There was a question there you know, in plain English. And I answered the question. I took the time and effort to answer it. But I probably misread because it's off track.

    Most probably I shouldn't bother answering at all.
    My reply was meant to be humorous and good natured. Apparently I failed. Carry on.

  14. #64
    Quote Originally Posted by Zappathustra View Post
    Of course. That was the question it was asked. No worries there. That was just the original question and we got it off track.
    I wasn't having a snark because the thread had wandered off topic. I was just trying to provide some context for why I was writing the post in the way that I did (rather than responding directly to the immediately ongoing discussion).

  15. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by MagmaShark View Post
    I still can't imagine walking into local import record store in the seventies and asking for the new atila or bubu or nadavati etc... at least that was my experience.
    not asking for them by name... but an eclectic record store (which there were quite a few) would be able to show you what they had in the way of progressive Rock music and likely play some of the records for you in the store.
    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?

  16. #66
    Quote Originally Posted by Joe F. View Post
    My reply was meant to be humorous and good natured. Apparently I failed. Carry on.
    I know. Sorry, I got irritated, not by your post.

  17. #67
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zappathustra View Post
    There's something that hurts the eye here...
    Jazz is my preferred Queen album along with their first two (and the poster has no added value to that judgment)

    Quote Originally Posted by per anporth View Post
    The OPer asked an interesting question, which hasn't really been answered by (m)any posters since - which was about how you remembered things back in 1978. I think he's right to highlight the fact that, for one reason or another, much of the music that we now hold in high regard from, in this instance, 1978, has acquired its "status" with the benefit of "hindsight".

    I'm not posting this to make any judgements about any of the music - I'm just trying to convey my memories of how things seemed, at that time, in response to one of the questions raised by the OPer.
    Yes, and it's also difficult to remember how you felt at the time (about the descent of prog in hell) and separate from what we've lived through, and the revisionism we all did with our future musical endeavours in the next four decades.

    How did I fell about "prog" 40 years ago?? Shit dude, I didn't know it was "prog" back then (only discovered that in the 90's), but at high school, bands like those were called "art rock". AFAIAC, the first revisionism (most likely involuntarily so) most of us are guilty of, was to think of it as "prog"


    Quote Originally Posted by Joe F. View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Zappathustra View Post
    So, to get back on track, and sorry for the one hour from my life I've wasted to answer to the OP, how did I remember things back in 78? I was 4 years old, I asked the guy in the record shop to bring me some Henry Cow, 78 was on the cover, but I said no, this is from the future, it's going to be released in 79, and he said no, you're only 45 years old, you're not old enough to be revered and say whatever is on your mind and be progressive,you're just a kid, that's how I remember it.
    So what you're saying is that the question really wasn't meant for you. Thanks for playing though. For your efforts you win the consolation prize of a lifetime supply of razors by Gillette, the closest shave you'll ever experience!
    Difficult not to answer and give a quick 0.02p such a tempting subject, even if slightly off-subject (like I did in my first post , but at least I had the good taste/sense of italizing what I knew back then). I guess that there should've been a minimal answering age mentionned in the OP

    Quote Originally Posted by per anporth View Post
    I wasn't having a snark because the thread had wandered off topic. I was just trying to provide some context for why I was writing the post in the way that I did (rather than responding directly to the immediately ongoing discussion).
    Yup, if my first response was a typical PE one (putting a list), as soon as I reread the OP, I started writing more "à propos" in my second post. Guilty like most of the PE bus.

    Quote Originally Posted by MYSTERIOUS TRAVELLER View Post
    not asking for them by name... but an eclectic record store (which there were quite a few) would be able to show you what they had in the way of progressive Rock music and likely play some of the records for you in the store.
    Well, what was a eclectic or progressive record store back then??

    When a teenager in the late 70's in Toronto and having my weekly saturday record raid on the Yonge Street strip (from Dundas to Bloor st), only the vinyl museum (a fairly expensive used record shop, busy dealing with collectors) was +/- eclectic, but all the others (Records on Wheel or Sam The Record Man and others) were stritcly or mainly mainstream (despite the big StRM having a very wide catalogue on proposal) and almost no-one to guide the young customer to find music he would've liked to hear, rather than radio-played stuff. The only reason to do all of them stores on the way up was price comparison, so on the way down, you did the buying. And I don't think Toronto was worse off the 95% of big North Am cities. Montreal was more "alternative" because of its french music culture and access, though, but if most of the Québécois prog was available in Toronto stores, I could only listen before buying in Montreal. This is how Maneige, Harmonium, Sloche, Morse Code were part of my record collection at that tender age.

    However I did find the Record Peddler (an expensive import store) Vortex Records (a really cool used vinyl store with a good owner - despite not liking prog) and the Records on Wheels (the dude looked like Roger Earl of Foghat) closest to my place as special stores .... But only the import store really offered something really different, but all way too expensive for me to start exploring these "foreign bands" without knowing what I was buying.

    I used to flip through the whole rock section in every mainstream store in downtown Toronto (and Montreal), and I don't ever remember seeing Matching Mole, Gilgamesh, Henry Cow, Hatflield, Magma, or National Health albums before the 90's... I'm pretty sure that none of those groups mentioned above were North Am domestic releases (the only Gong album having one was You, and Mole's LRR and maybe Hatfield's debut)... Sooo, never mind Ange, Shylock, Attila, Bubu or Itoiz. Just to say that unless you were a total geek or had "inside info" or were in your 20's (and still buying rock records), there was very little chance for a "normal" teenager to know of Swedish or Japanese avant garde artiste (though Tomita and Stomu Yamashta could be found in most stores, and I bought them) or even taking a chance to tale a Sammla album home. Sure the sons and grandsons of Italian immigrants probably had ways to discover PFM, BMS and Le Orme, because they had specific record stores down in Little Italy
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from heroin-addicts to crazy ones

  18. #68
    Quote Originally Posted by per anporth View Post


    But what I really remember is that, as 1978 turned over to 1979, most of us who listened to music that was "progressive" carried on listening to the likes of UK & Gentle Giant, but that actually, the real excitement was with the new bands like PiL & Joy Division & Magazine & The Pop Group.

    These were the bands that seemed, back then (in 1979, perhaps more than 1978), to be doing what the prog bands had been doing at the beginning of the 70s - forging new spaces for musical creation, creating a sense of vibrant excitement about the possibilities of music.

    Back then, even though we carried on listening to some of the other bands mentioned, there was no (longer the) sense that they were at the progressive/cutting edge.
    Excellent point. I remember feeling threatened in the mid-to-late 1970s by Punk and the New Wave as I thought it meant the end of Prog rock, which was all I really listened to at the time and, actually, all there was to listen to in the first half of that decade when labels such as Vertigo, Harvest and Charisma were dominant. One day I sat down and forced myself to listen to Talking Heads’ Fear of Music (very apt) and I was blown away. This was exciting music that broke out of the conventions of Prog but was clearly influenced by it (Brian Eno was the producer). I then went on to explore Joy Division, Magazine, the Only Ones… It was just so liberating. I still listened to Prog and I later learnt that many of the New Wave musicians were heavily influenced by Prog/German rock. And, IMO, Talking Heads’ next album, Remain in Light, is still one of the greats (alongside Pawn Hearts).

  19. #69
    Camel - A live record
    Eela Craig - Hats of glass
    Grobschnitt - Solar music live
    Hoelderlin - Live Traumstadt
    Stern Combo Meißen - Weißes Gold
    Synergy - Cords
    Just to name a few from my collection

  20. #70
    Member Since: 3/27/2002 MYSTERIOUS TRAVELLER's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trane View Post
    I could only listen before buying in Montreal. This is how Maneige, Harmonium, Sloche, Morse Code were part of my record collection at that tender age.
    that's the kind of record store I discovered things at in 1978
    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?

  21. #71
    Quote Originally Posted by MYSTERIOUS TRAVELLER View Post
    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.
    I confess to not knowing about many of the bands listed by several folks on this thread as being representative of great prog released in 1978, and at the time I was listening to several different FM rock stations in the NY area that were "free form" and nowhere as tightly confined as today's "classic rock" stations representation of 70's rock. Free-form in the sense that they played 2nd- and 3rd-tier bands like Be Bop Deluxe, Angel, Horslips, Frank Marino, Triumvirat, Camel, Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes, Rush before they were popular, AC/DC's first album, etc. etc. ... and I got into many of these bands because of FM radio. You won't hear any of this on classic rock radio today. It's possible I did hear some of those bands like National Health, Henry Cow, Grobschnitt, etc. and maybe they just didn't grab me so I don't remember them, but I'd say that a lot of those bands never even made it to free-form FM radio so there's no way I would have known of them.
    "Moustache stays right where it's at" - Clutch

  22. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garden Dreamer View Post
    It's possible I did hear some of those bands like National Health, Henry Cow, Grobschnitt, etc. and maybe they just didn't grab me so I don't remember them, but I'd say that a lot of those bands never even made it to free-form FM radio so there's no way I would have known of them.
    yep, FM radio was better back then yet still really only played the more pop side of progressive Rock. I always have found the record stores to be the best place to find the more creative artists. Definitely not radio.

    You also make an interesting point about "maybe they just didn't grab me"... as I think there are probably many progressive Rock fans whose tastes have changed and perhaps expanded since 1978 and what they might have thought of as nonsensical noise back then are artists they really enjoy today
    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?

  23. #73
    Member dropforge's Avatar
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    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!
    Not to mention electronic prog was only just beginning to cook!

  24. #74
    Member dropforge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rarebird View Post
    Camel - A live record
    Eela Craig - Hats of glass
    Grobschnitt - Solar music live
    Hoelderlin - Live Traumstadt
    Stern Combo Meißen - Weißes Gold
    Synergy - Cords
    Just to name a few from my collection
    Now that right there is a great list.

  25. #75
    Quote Originally Posted by per anporth View Post
    The OPer asked an interesting question, which hasn't really been answered by (m)any posters since - which was about how you remembered things back in 1978. I think he's right to highlight the fact that, for one reason or another, much of the music that we now hold in high regard from, in this instance, 1978, has acquired its "status" with the benefit of "hindsight".

    Back in the day, my memory is that - in Edinburgh, where I was living - we listened to the music that we could get hold of in the wee independent record stores, informed either by the guys selling the records, the music press (NME, Sounds, Melody Maker, Record Mirror), or, from a strictly prog perspective, Tommy Vance on a Friday night on the radio. His show launched, I think, in 1978. So there was obviously still a sense that there was an audience out there for prog.

    But what I really remember is that, as 1978 turned over to 1979, most of us who listened to music that was "progressive" carried on listening to the likes of UK & Gentle Giant, but that actually, the real excitement was with the new bands like PiL & Joy Division & Magazine & The Pop Group.

    These were the bands that seemed, back then (in 1979, perhaps more than 1978), to be doing what the prog bands had been doing at the beginning of the 70s - forging new spaces for musical creation, creating a sense of vibrant excitement about the possibilities of music.

    Back then, even though we carried on listening to some of the other bands mentioned, there was no (longer the) sense that they were at the progressive/cutting edge.

    I'm not posting this to make any judgements about any of the music - I'm just trying to convey my memories of how things seemed, at that time, in response to one of the questions raised by the OPer.
    I'm from England so this is in line with my perspective of how things were in 1978 . For me, I'd started off buying records when Pink Floyd and the Nice were releasing their first albums. It was always difficult to hear and buy albums by what were then 'undergound' bands. Initially I picked things up from the John Peel show and from recommendations from friends, usually those with older older brothers who picked things up at university. But my tastes soon diverged from what was 'mainstream' in the undergound -I wasn't much interested in Bob Dylan, I hated the blues rock bands and I soon formed my own tastes around VDGG, High Tide, East of Eden etc. None of these were ever easy to find in shops and so I got used to scouring the music papers and sending off for lists from mail order companies. I liked Yes but although their records could be picked up easily, if you got your tastes from the radio you'd proabably never have heard them. They were probably only played on the Friday rock show but that was well after their prime. I was in Edmonton Canada two years ago and I was surprised to hear 'Roundabout' played on daytime radio coming from a street vendors radio. That would never happen in the UK!, so I think US readers' views on what was popular may vary from the UK experience. Anyway I'd agree that by 1978 all the original bands (known as the big 5 on this forum) were past their best, and the music papers had largely abandoned anything progressive in favour of pub rock or punk. The only bands I'd still go and see were Bruford, National Health or PH/VDGG. But then amidst all the punk and reggae on John Peel I heard, just once, a track by Albert Marceour and then one by Univers Zero. It took me a while to figure out wjhere to buy them but soon I had a recommended Records catalogue in my hands and life was more exciting, I bought records by both of these and then others by the Muffins and the Samlas. Progressive music was still exciting but it was being made in Europe and the US instead of the Uk. I think it would be have 1978 when I discovered all this, so yes it was a bad year for the 'old' prog and a good year for the 'new' prog , although of course it was all part of a continuum that has never stopped completely.

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