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Thread: From Pop to Prog and back again

  1. #1

    From Pop to Prog and back again

    Was just thinking about those bands that started their careers playing rock/pop and then slowly developed into progressive or even experimental music only to revert, for whatever reason to their original style.

    Moody blues springs to mind.
    Rush
    Genesis (including 1st album)
    PFM (pop to prog to pop to prog)
    The Beatles (considering Sgt Pepper)
    Mike Oldfield?

    There have to be many more but just can't think of them.......

  2. #2
    Many bands that released an album earlier than 1970 and also later than 1980.

    The intrigue would be finding pop/prog/pop arcs that occurred outside of this window.

  3. #3
    Oh No! Bass Solo! klothos's Avatar
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    Considering that between 1968 and about 1975, Prog was part of the "mainstream", it will be hard to differentiate

  4. #4
    Hm, well there's It Bites; fairly refined pop/rock (debut), glossy pomp-prog (second) and then bombastic arena-metal (St. Louis).

    Birth Control started out hard rock, went "progressive" and then turned back into a sorta new wave-hard rock group.

    Golden Earring did just about the same as Birth Control, as did to some extent Lucifer's Friend.

    The Church began as neo-psychedelic pop/rock, went a bit "progressive" and returned to what was now a kind of indie-rock approach.
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    Member Digital_Man's Avatar
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    I didn't think Mike Oldfield started out as pop. Tubular Bells certainly isn't pop. If he did start out as pop that's news to me.

    I don't consider the first RUSH album pop either(more like hard rock or proto metal)but I get where you are coming from. It wasn't full prog and later on they turned away from typical prog also. I actually like how RUSH has mixed it up a bit over the years but in the last ten years it seems like they are trying to appeal to their hard rock/heavy metal audience rather than develop in a more adventurous way they could(yes, that's me nitpicking since I'm still a big fan).

  6. #6
    Timebox - Patto - Boxer. Man, was it good.
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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    Birth Control started out hard rock, went "progressive" and then turned back into a sorta new wave-hard rock group.
    Birth Control were kind of odd, starting out as a hard psychedelic rock band, quickly transforming into organ-fueled heavy rock with prog overtones a la Deep Purple or Bloodrock. Then they went all Gentle Giant-y on us on Plastic People and Backdoor Possibilities. Increase finds them going in a more jazz-rock/funk direction, then Titanic went full-on disco funk. Later albums revert to the earlier hard rock style.

    Golden Earring did just about the same as Birth Control, as did to some extent Lucifer's Friend.
    I basically separate them into the Frans Krassenburg era (beat-rock/pop) and the Barry Hay era (hard rock with Zep/Stones influences). They took stabs at prog sounds on pretty much all their albums from Eight Miles High through to Contraband but it didn’t define their sound, so much as the era in which they were produced. I think some of them (especially Barry Hay, who’s responsible for the flute playing on some of those tunes) were listening to lots of Jethro Tull at the time.

    Lucifer’s Friend, on the other hand, seemed to try out a new sound with each album. The only albums with any sort of similarity would be Where Groupies... and Mind Exploding (progressive hard rock) and I’m Just a Rock & Roll Singer and Good Time Warrior (dumb boogie-rock with occasional forays into more of a prog sound).
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  9. #9
    Rush is a good example. The first one I thought of was Todd Rundgren.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Progbear View Post
    Birth Control were kind of odd, starting out as a hard psychedelic rock band, quickly transforming into organ-fueled heavy rock with prog overtones a la Deep Purple or Bloodrock. Then they went all Gentle Giant-y on us on Plastic People and Backdoor Possibilities. Increase finds them going in a more jazz-rock/funk direction, then Titanic went full-on disco funk. Later albums revert to the earlier hard rock style.
    Zeus B Held's career was all over the place too. Fantastic producer.
    "Always ready with the ray of sunshine"

  11. #11
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    Rundgren
    Ambrosia
    Gino Vannelli
    Shawn Phillips
    10cc
    It Bites
    Journey
    Ice Age
    Scenes

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    Member moecurlythanu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital_Man View Post
    I didn't think Mike Oldfield started out as pop. Tubular Bells certainly isn't pop. If he did start out as pop that's news to me.
    His debut was with his sister Sally in a Folk duo called the Sallyangie. It's nice, but very hippie dippy, and what some would undoubtedly call "twee." Not "Pop" at all though.
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  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by MJBrady View Post
    Ambrosia

    Journey
    I'm not sure either of these qualify. To me, Ambrosia started out prog and went pop. Same with Journey although Journey may have done a bit of exploratory/progressive music in more recent years (that is, after Perry left or was booted out of the band).

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by flowerking View Post
    To me, Ambrosia started out prog and went pop. Same with Journey
    Yupz. Both delivered two progressive albums and then steered mostly away, much like NZ-heroes Dragon (whose first two albums aren't only "prog" but excellently so).
    "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

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