In September 2022, a new series inspired by the lore of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth came to our screens. The Lord Of The Rings: Rings Of Power is set thousands of years before the events of Peter Jackson's The Lord Of The Rings live action trilogy and its prequel trilogy, The Hobbit.
Prog music and Middle Earth have long been kindred spirits, with many bands taking inspiration from Tolkien’s fantasy world, from Marillion, to Isuldur’s Bane, to Gandalf’s Fist. To celebrate the release of this new series, we count down 10 of the best prog songs inspired by Middle-earth.
Rush, Rivendell, 1975
Taken from their second album Fly By Night, Rush’s Rivendell is named after the peaceful valley and Elven town in Middle-earth. As the tranquil atmosphere of the track indicates, Rivendell is a place of sanctuary, and it's also where the quest to destroy the One Ring began.
Camel, Nimrodel/Procession/White Rider, 1973
A nine-minute epic based around Lord Of The Rings' most famous wizard? You can't get much more prog than that. Camel's 1973 classic three-part track charts the journey of Gandalf, from his battle with Balrog to his return as Gandalf the White.
Enya, Lothlórien, 1991
Before she went on to feature on the soundtrack for Peter Jackson's 2001 film The Fellowship of the Ring, Enya released Lothlórien, a gorgeous instrumental inspired by the Elven forest of the same name.
Mostly Autumn, Forge Of Sauron, 2001
In 2001, Mostly Autumn released a whole album inspired by Lord Of The Rings, simply titled Music Inspired By Lord Of The Rings. The largely instrumental album was written and recorded in just two weeks and charts Tolkien's story, from the opening Forge Of Sauron to the aptly-named The Return Of The King.
Bo Hansson, Music Inspired By Lord Of The Rings, 1972
Swedish instrumental prog rocker Bo Hansson went better than just a song - he recorded an entire album dedicated to Tolkien's classic. Hansson had grown up in a Swedish forest and recorded this, his debut album, on a remote island.
Sally Oldfield, Songs Of The Quendi, 1978
Best know as older sister to Mike, Sally Oldfield, with whom she'd performed as fold duo The Sallyangie. She released her debut solo album, Water Bearer, in 1976, which featured the hit single Mirrors. The album also featured this 16-minute suite, inspired by Tolkien.
Nightwish, Elvenpath, 1997
The opening track from Nightwish's 1997 debut album Angels Fall First, the title gives it all away, as does a direct sample from the film as well. Wishmaster, the title track from the band's 2000 album was also inspired by The Lord Of The Rings.
Argent, Lothlorien, 1971
The second track titled after Middle-earth's real of the Elves, which was ruled over by Galadriel and Celeborn, this seven-minute long progger is from Argent's second album Ring Of Hands.
Rush, The Necromancer, 1975
This 12-minute track from the band's third album, Caress Of Steel, is the Canadian trio's second offering to make this list. Inspired by Sauron, the main antagonist in The Lord Of The Rings, who used the alias The Necromancer.
Barclay James Harvest, Galadriel, 1971
Taken from the band's second album Once Again, which was released in 1971, this ode to Royal Elf and protectress of Lothlórien is notable for the fact that John Lees, who wrote the track, also played John Lennon's guitar on it, a feat later immortalised mon song on John Lennon's Guitar from 1990's Welcome To The Show.