Rush, mid to late sevenies
Rush, mid to late sevenies

The Persistence Of Prog Rock

In the seventies, prog-inspired American bands like Kansas and Styx had conquered arenas, and by the end of the decade, there was Rush, a Yes-obsessed trio of Canadians who received even worse reviews than their British forebears.

One reason was their avowed love for Ayn  Rand; an influential and absurd review in New Musical Express, a British magazine, accused them of preaching “proto-fascism.”

Another reason was that, by the late seventies, progressive rock was about the most unhip music in existence.

“The fans showing up to hear Rush were the wrong kinds of fans—the mockable ones, with mockable taste in music,” (David) Weigel writes, holding up this judgment for ridicule before quite dissenting from it.

By the time Rush emerged, progressive rock had entered into its never-ending defensive phase; un-coolness is now part of the genre’s identity, and even a devoted fan like Weigel may not be sure he wants to change.

Progressive rock, broadly defined, can never disappear, because there will always be musicians who want to experiment with long songs, big concepts, complete structures, and fantastical lyrics…

The Prog Spring, was progressive rock the end of pop-music history? Yes and no, by Kelefa Sanneh, The New Yorker


Leave a comment