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The Golden Age of Prog Singles

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    The Golden Age of Prog Singles

    Sometime in the late 70's, after punk had scared the bejeezus outta record companies there was a golden era of Top 10 Prog singles. 3 1/2 minutes of glorious earworms. That the milkman could whistle along with.

    On my TV came these 3 nuggets...

    1. Wondrous Stories
    2. Follow Me, Follow You
    3. Steppin' in a Slide Zone

    Add in what ELO were doin', then PF's we don't need no education...

    So what was really in the water in that time?
    Was it really a golden age, a window of opportunity
    before the BIG 80's production kicked in?


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    Last edited by Gilly Goodness; 04-05-2022, 02:57 PM.

    #2
    Originally posted by Gilly Goodness View Post
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    Octave doesn't get enough love.

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      #3
      Let's not forget Rush's "Closer to the Heart", 2:53, although best realized on the 2011 Time Machine tour intro…

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        #4
        I guess at that point a lot of those bands were writing SONGS again, rather than esoteric rock symphonies. A number of them fared quite well in the singles/hit song format. One band that DIDN'T have any success at it was ELP with Love Beach. 'All I Want Is You' was released as a single but it flopped and Love Beach remains one of the most vilified albums in music history. Though, truth be told, it's not really as bad as people believe. At least compared to 1994's 'In The Hot Seat', it's Brain Salad Surgery. Could 'All I Want Is You' have been a hit if it weren't ELP? It's kinda catchy, I don't mind it.

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          #5
          Originally posted by PhaseDance View Post

          Octave doesn't get enough love.
          Octave is interesting in a way, it's the only MB album like that. Not part of their 'Core Seven' as it's known, nor part of their resurgence with Patrick Moraz. It's a transitional album - kind of a false start and not quite the comeback album they were hoping for. They'd have to wait for Long Distance Voyager for that. However there are a few overlooked gems on Octave like 'Driftwood' which is beautiful. No, other than Slide Zone and sometimes Driftwood, Octave doesn't get the love. But it is worth pulling out every once in a moody blue moon.

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            #6
            Was inspired to start this thread after watching a Steve Wilson interview and him comin' to terms with bein' known only as a Prog guy and never breakin'into the mainstream. Radio just didn't wanna know.

            Prog was very uncool accordin'to the press after punk. But without the terrible social conditions in England, the context for punk's fashionable rise, YES was still big down here. Wakeman's return for G4T1 actually made page4 in our tabloid. With a photo of the lads sittin' next to Lake Geneva.

            So seein' WS on COUNTDOWN, our pop music show was revelatory. As it was the first time I had seen them play. Had not seen YESSONGS by then. So this was it. My heroes on TV. And Molly Meldrum seemed genuinely excited to air the video. And what did we get? A classic, beautifully lit video of just the band. Squire did his thing of wearin' the same shirt as the new(ish) guy, Rick. See when he wears the goofy glasses like Horn on Drama. Then mullet and leather when Rabin joined. It was his way of welcomin' and assimilatin' the new guy.

            So suddenly I saw the Genesis boys, MBs after a decade of 20 minute songs. And concepts. But then MTV arrived and visuals got just as much coverage as the music.

            But for a brief time Prog bands dipped their toes into radio and telly and found that the screamers from NME had got it wrong and people still wanted great songs, well sung and well played.
            Last edited by Gilly Goodness; 04-05-2022, 11:27 PM.

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              #7
              Originally posted by Soundwaveseeker View Post
              I guess at that point a lot of those bands were writing SONGS again, rather than esoteric rock symphonies. A number of them fared quite well in the singles/hit song format. One band that DIDN'T have any success at it was ELP with Love Beach. 'All I Want Is You' was released as a single but it flopped and Love Beach remains one of the most vilified albums in music history. Though, truth be told, it's not really as bad as people believe. At least compared to 1994's 'In The Hot Seat', it's Brain Salad Surgery. Could 'All I Want Is You' have been a hit if it weren't ELP? It's kinda catchy, I don't mind it.
              I'll agree AND disagree.

              The Side Two epic, Memoirs of an Officer and a Gentleman, is a "very nice" pastoral epic, and the prelude to that, which was the last track on Side One, Canario, was a great track.

              However, the opening track was weak, and the following tracks were embarrassing, loaded up with patently unsubtle sexual innuendo. The album cover was horrid.

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                #8
                There’s two more that came to my mind:
                Give A Little Bit by Supertramp (huge hit over here in my country)
                Sing For The Day by Styx.

                In hindsight these were stepping stones warming me up to Yes...

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                  #9
                  Originally posted by pianozach View Post

                  I'll agree AND disagree.

                  The Side Two epic, Memoirs of an Officer and a Gentleman, is a "very nice" pastoral epic, and the prelude to that, which was the last track on Side One, Canario, was a great track.

                  However, the opening track was weak, and the following tracks were embarrassing, loaded up with patently unsubtle sexual innuendo. The album cover was horrid.
                  I generally like Love Beach album, though I acknowledge that it definitely has some major flaws and will do nothing for those expecting something like Tarkus. Other than the album cover, one other major is the fact that Emerson seems to be overusing that Yamaha synth that he used on Fanfare For The Common Man. It appears on almost every song, shrinking the sound palette down to that limiting synth. I don't recall hearing the classic hammond organ on any of the album.

                  But the only two songs I find to be far below the quality line are Taste Of My Love with the ridiculous sexual innuendo lyrics that wouldn't be out of place on a Whitesnake album, and The Gambler - another boogie woogie type track done better on earlier albums, a lesser Benny The Bouncer. I kinda like For You, but admit the title track and opening track have quality control issues, but I sorta like them - or at least don't hate them.

                  The side-long epic on side two is overlooked and breaks new ground for them. Ok, it's not a Karn Evil 9 type epic, but has focus. It's an actual love 'story' of sorts (Karn Evil 9 and Tarkus don't actually have 'stories' or are at least a little vague) and its romantic elements and lack of brazen firepower bring it closer to Genesis than ELP. A heartfelt 20-minute suite on an album which is supposed to be a pop album. The song doesn't get much love. Maybe Love Beach is a 'concept' album? Side one is the 'lust' side with the Spinal Tap innuendo, and side two is the 'love' side with romantic leanings? I know that's probably a stretch, never thought about it before. All I know is they look ridiculous on that 'Stayin' Alive' album cover - though on the other hand, who don't like going to the beach?

                  Canario is the one track the recalls classic ELP and is great.

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                    #10
                    Originally posted by Gilly Goodness View Post
                    Squire did his thing of wearin' the same shirt as the new(ish) guy, Rick. See when he wears the goofy glasses like Horn on Drama. Then mullet and leather when Rabin joined. It was his way of welcomin' and assimilatin' the new guy.
                    Maybe? I think of it more as Chris wanting to be au courant - he kept track of trends and contemporary music. But honestly, they're not the same shirt even though they appear similar - it looks like Rick was going for a sort of Nudie look because he's wearing a bolo tie as well. Whereas Chris' shirt is just subsumed in his usual style of colorful accents and flattering jewelry.
                    Rabin-esque
                    my labor of love (and obsessive research)
                    rabinesque.blogspot.com

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                      #11
                      I remember hearing Slide Zone when it came out, but only because I bought the album. I don't recall it getting much airplay - I think it was less successful than Follow You, Follow Me or Wondrous Stories.
                      Slide Zone seems to have been on the setlist quite a bit on all the tours and for me it was a bathroom break song. Perhaps they kept it in the set because it was a Lodge song. Kind of the Moodies version of Boris the Spider, or I'm in Love with my Car.

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                        #12
                        A Lodge song you say? Hope he does it with Juano LIVE on his current tour! 😁

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                          #13
                          Originally posted by Ceasar’s Palace View Post
                          There’s two more that came to my mind:
                          Give A Little Bit by Supertramp (huge hit over here in my country)
                          Sing For The Day by Styx.

                          In hindsight these were stepping stones warming me up to Yes...
                          Love Give A Little Bit, but didn't know it was Supertramp for a long time.
                          Supertramp's followup 'Breakfast In America' from 1979 had four big hits on it here in the States and one album cut (Gone Hollywood) that seemed to be played a lot on the radio as if it were a hit. They were decently popular.

                          Styx were ruling the radio here in that time period.

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