Prog? And Valentine's Day? So as Classic Rock and Metal Hammer were busy compiling their playlists for Valentine's Day, they were chuckling amongst themselves about how poor old Prog would have to sit this one out. 'Oh really," we thought. 'We'll see about that."
And so we put our thinking caps on and it didn't take long to come up with a list of proggy love songs with which you can celebrate tomorrow. They once reckoned we couldn't make Prog look as sexy as they think they are. So we came up with this list for them!
So then, Prog and Valentine's Day. Oh no sir, we're not sitting that one out. Enjoy...
YES - AND YOU AND I
Few songs embody that spirit of bonding and togetherness as this, taken from 1972's Close To The Edge album. Originally its working title was less loved up - it was called The Protest Song, but for most Yes fans, And You And I reads like the perfect love song.
GENESIS - YOUR OWN SPECIAL WAY
A simple but effective acoustic ballad written by Mike Rutherford that appeared on 1976's Wind & Wuthering album and perhaps an early example of the kind of balladry the band would sometimes lean to as their career moved on from here. Some may turn their noses up, but this remains a lovely song nonetheless.
RIVERSIDE - I BELIEVE
Dipping right back to 2004's Out Of Myself debut album comes this plaintive love song from Polish prog rockers Riverside. With lyrics such as "I want to share my place to hide, My place to feel, With You..." it's not difficult to see where Mariusz Duda and co are coming from.
ALAN PARSONS PROJECT - TIME
When it comes to emotive balladry, few were quite as good in the prog world as Eric Woolfson and Alan Parsons. Taken from 1980's The Turn Of A Friendly Card, this lush ballad, sung by Woolfson, muses on the passing of the titular time on a couple's relationship.
BIG BIG TRAIN - CURATOR OF BUTTERFLIES
The lyrics might tell the tale of a woman's passion for butterflies and nature around her, but we can guarantee, play this to any prospective valentine and you'll be on to a winner. Form it's winsomely pastoral beginning to the uplifting climax, this track from 2013's English Electric Part Two oozes class.
SUPERTRAMP - EVEN IN THE QUIETEST MOMENTS
Arranged by Supertramp's main songwriters Roger Hodgson and Rick Davies during a soundcheck a prior to a show in Denmark, the title track of the band's 1977 album, the song starts as an acoustic ballad before the rest fo the band slowly join in. One of the band's finest love songs and a fine reflection of, when they did collaborate, how great the pair could be.
CHRIS SQUIRE - YOU BY MY SIDE
This thumpingly uplifting tale of love is taken from Squire's debut solo album Fish Out Of Water, which was released in 1975 when Yes were on hiatus. It was, of course reissued in a lavish box set last year. Rarely has Squire sounded so relaxed and joyous. And yes, that is Bill Bruford you can see on drums in the video, along with then Yes keyboard player Patrick Moraz, both of whom played on the album.
RUSH - TEARS
2112 is loved by Rush fans for many things, not least it's bewilderingly dazzling side-long title track. But tucked away on side two is this short, effective love song, not something the band have really been noted for. It was also the very first Rush song that used a Mellotron, which was payed by Hugh Syme, a man better known for creating many of Rush's album covers.
VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR - LOST
Woah, hold on a minute, Van der Graaf Generator on a Valentine's Day prog list? Some mistake surely? Well, admittedly Peter Hammill and the VdGG boys never really went a bundle on the simple love song. But what about this track from 1970's H To he, Who Am The Only One? Described in Van der Graaf Generator - The Book as "uncharacteristically for the band, a straightforward song about lost love and the group added several different instrumental sections into the basic structure." Well, that's good enough for us.
EMERSON, LAKE AND PALMER - STILL... YOU TURN ME ON
Despite almost being a byword for extravagance and prodigious talent, there was always a softer side to Emerson, Lake & Palmer's output, typified by Greg Lake's adeptness at balladry. Given that Lucky Man was the band's first ever single, it seems astonishing that this stunning ballad from 1973's Brain Salad Surgery was never issued as a single. Allegedly that's because despite being used to balance out the bombast on the album, the band didn't think it was representative of their sound. Oh, and Carl Palmer didn't feature on the track!
MARILLION - LAVENDER
So of course we could have gone with Kayleigh, the first single from 1985's Misplaced Childhood, but that's all about lost love. Rather, we'll end on a note of hope with the follow-up single Lavender, a song which is heavily influenced by Joni Mitchell, and recalls the lost innocence of youth. Ah, those were the days...