The 100 Greatest Prog Artists Of All Time: 100-81

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Part one of five…

(Image: © Getty)

100 Amon Dűűl II

WE SAY: Formed in Munich during the late 60s, this band are regarded as one of the pioneers of the krautrock movement. Early albums like Yeti and Tanz Der Lemminge mixed disparate styles and had a real feel of improvisation, which included lengthy progressive suites.

YOU SAY: “Utterly unique and completely groundbreaking. There’s nothing else like them.” - Sam Jones

99 …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead

**WE SAY: **Formed in 1994 and based in Austin, Texas, they quickly made an impact melding prog experimentation with punk attitude. Their art rock aptitude has made them one of the most individual bands of the 21st century, merging influences from Pink Floyd, Fugazi, Rush and Vivaldi.

YOU SAY: “They present a fascinating modern slant on the progressive rock genre.” - Jeff Kilroy

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98 Queensrÿche

WE SAY: A heavy metal band that aimed higher than the rest, Queensrÿche made the genre’s ultimate conceptual masterpiece in 1988’s Operation: Mindcrime and have been pushing the boundaries ever since, albeit with some interpersonal turmoil along the way.

YOU SAY: “Prog metal could not exist without them. The first five albums are a must and Geoff Tate was a hell of
a singer.” – Giovanni Magistrelli

97 Pallas

WE SAY: If prog was dead in the early 80s, no one told Aberdeen’s finest. Pallas bestrode that decade like subversive titans, releasing albums like the ageless The Sentinel and fanning the flames of a burgeoning new movement that would eventually bring us Marillion, IQ and the rest. Still out there, the Scots are perhaps neo-prog’s ultimate talismans.

YOU SAY: “Pallas were the first prog band I saw, being from Aberdeen myself. Have seen them many, many times and they have never disappointed.” – Brian Rumbles

96 Ian Anderson

WE SAY: You would think that being the leader of Jethro Tull would have been enough, but Anderson’s remorseless artistry has spilled over into a fascinating and eclectic solo career, too. From 1983’s Walk Into Light to 2014’s Homo Erraticus, Anderson’s vision remains one of prog’s most cherishable and idiosyncratic phenomena.

YOU SAY: “In 47 years of uninterrupted recording and touring, Jethro Tull have never stopped evolving. Progressive rock incarnate.” – Greg Walker

My Favourite Prog Artist Of All Time

Ray Shulman (Gentle Giant)

Ray Shulman (Gentle Giant)

“For me it has to be Miles Davis; I think he embodied progression. Even though I, as a fan, listen to all of his eras, depending on mood, he seemed to both dismiss and refuse to discuss his past work. He always moved forward. From the beginnings of be-bop, cool jazz, free jazz, jazz funk and even pop he was unique. I saw him during his pop era with a group of amazing young musicians.”

95 It Bites

WE SAY: Briefly regarded as British pop starlets, It Bites were always too smart and too interesting to be anything other than merchants of refined prog rock. Few albums are as revered as 1988’s Once Around The World, the zenith of Francis Dunnery’s stewardship of the group, but 2012’s Map Of The Past – with John Mitchell at the helm – ran it pretty damn close.

YOU SAY: “Listen to the song Once Around The World, the best prog epic ever!” – Bert Treep

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94 Grateful Dead

WE SAY: The biggest cult band of all time? Almost certainly. Jerry Garcia’s multi-genre mavens formed in 1965 and spent the next three decades reinventing rock music and taking countless detours into uncharted territory. Despite numerous classic albums, it was for their freewheeling live shows and mercurial jam sessions that the Dead will always be remembered.

YOU SAY: “If progressive music is about moving forward and reinventing yourself, it has to be them.” - Rick Tye

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93 Galleon

WE SAY: The strength-in-depth of the Swedish prog scene is a matter of record, and Galleon’s contribution has certainly been of great significance. Thanks to albums like King Of Aragon, The All European Hero and In The Wake Of The Moon, the band have steadily become one of Scandinavia’s most admired musical forces.

YOU SAY: “These guys have been making albums since the early 90s. They’re getting better all the time and their playing is excellent. They haven’t toured much, but still maintain a small but dedicated fan base.” – Christer Nilsson

92 Frost*

WE SAY: Jem Godfrey’s neo-prog squad hit the jackpot at the first time of asking with their 2006 debut_ Milliontown_ and have since become established as one of the United Kingdom’s most intriguing bands. 2008’s Experiments In Mass Appeal built on their burgeoning reputation and the impending arrival of a third album in 2016 looks certain to be greeted with noisy euphoria.

YOU SAY:Milliontown is that hen’s tooth of an album: one that I can listen to again and again and never tire of. It never fails to excite me! Hyperventilate is an onomatopoeic track – it’s exactly what I do during it!” – Julian Berkeley

91 Dave Stewart

**WE SAY: **With a CV that boasts tenures in Egg, Hatfield And The North, Uriel, Khan and National Health, Dave Stewart has more than earned his status as one of UK prog’s most important figures. From his work with Barbara Gaskin to countless orchestral and soundtrack projects, he is a one-man progressive rock whirlwind and an architect of our world.

YOU SAY: “Dave Stewart has never stopped following his heart, never stopped exploring musical horizons that only he seems able to see. His imprint on the fast-paced progression of the so-called Canterbury scene of classical-jazz-rock fusion was breathtaking.” – Drew Fisher

My Favourite Prog Artist Of All Time

Liv Kristine (Leaves' Eyes)

Liv Kristine (Leaves' Eyes)

“I have loved Mike Oldfield’s music since I was a little girl. I especially adore the songs he did with Maggie Reilly and I remember trying to imitate her in front of the mirror with a hairbrush! I had Tubular Bells on cassette and
I remember hearing his songs all the time on Norwegian radio – he’s still huge in Norway. One of my best friends has driven his tour bus and I would love to see him in concert.”

90 Can

WE SAY: Arguably the greatest German band of the 70s, Can’s cerebral experiments in rhythm and melodic nuance have influenced virtually everyone that dares to be musically different. The hypnotic, semi-improvised colossus of 1971’s Tago Mago remains their finest hour, but few bands generate catalogues of music that resonate with such fierce individuality.

YOU SAY: “They spearheaded the Krautrock genre, and remain one of the most unique sounding bands in the progressive realm.” - Michael Kendrick

89 William D Drake

WE SAY: First brought to our attention as the keyboard player in the legendary Cardiacs line-up of the late 80s, Mr. Drake’s wonderfully peculiar songs are both joyously English and subtly unsettling. From the cracked psych-pop of albums like Briny Hooves and Revere Reach to the oddball piano minimalism of Yew’s Paw, he exists in his own sonic world and everyone is invited.

YOU SAY: “Great combinations of instruments and excellent tunes.” – Richard Hassett

88 Sanguine Hum

WE SAY: Driven by ambition and an almost childlike wonder at music’s potential, Sanguine Hum are one of
the modern era’s most distinctive bands in progressive music; their combining of meticulous songcraft and left-brain improvisation leading to albums like 2013’s exquisite The Weight Of The World: love letters to recorded sound that aim for the heart and the head.

YOU SAY: “It is remarkable to find such a unique sounding band with such elaborate compositions and concepts in today’s music world where artists are bound to overlap in their musical palettes.” – Simon Larsson

87 Robert Wyatt

WE SAY: Even within the prog scene of the early 70s, Robert Wyatt was a unique figure. Having broken all manner of new ground with Soft Machine, he embarked on a solo career and has since released a huge amount of fascinating and resolutely heartfelt music that knows no boundaries.

YOU SAY: “The most majestic artist from the mighty Soft Machine. Sublime voice.” – Noriko Ichimura

86 Public Service Broadcasting

**WE SAY: **Prog to the core but quite unlike anything else, PSB’s eclectic explorations embrace electronica, art rock, krautrock and the endless possibilities of the sampling epoch.

YOU SAY: “A unique and modern take on prog done with humour and style. Race For Space will be one of the great concept albums of recent times.” – Steve Hawkins

My Favourite Prog Artist Of All Time

Krystoffer Rygg from Ulver

Krystoffer Rygg from Ulver

“A band I’ve kept returning to over the last 20 years that I’ve been doing this is King Crimson. They more or less define the classic prog sound for me. In The Court Of The Crimson King was a defining moment and I just got massively into it. For me, it’s mainly about the first five albums. Although I’ve heard a lot of the later things, they haven’t made the same impact.”

85 Ne Obliviscaris

WE SAY: Like most genres, prog metal needs a regular kick up the whatsit, and Australia’s Ne Obliviscaris are the embodiment of that brusque wake-up call. Startling in their metallic extremity but also capable of mind-blowing acts of musical daring.

YOU SAY: “This band has a messianic role in the world of music. In my opinion, they are the ones to properly make a bridge between metal, classical and folk music. I believe they can appeal to the masses, if framed in the proper context.” – Robert Westerveld

(Image: © Stuart Wood)

84 Magenta

WE SAY: Graced with the magical tones of vocalist Christina Booth, Magenta’s subtly inventive take on modern progressive rock has put Wales firmly on the map over the last 15 years. Keyboardist Rob Reed’s unerring knack for conjuring atmosphere and cinematic verve set them apart from their peers.

YOU SAY: “Another shamefully underrated group with one of the best female vocalists ever. Wonderful live!” – Ian Tompkins

83 Haze

WE SAY: Did punk kill prog? Did it bollocks. Haze emerged in 1978 from the streets of Sheffield and proudly dived into progressive waters, embracing the genre’s key tenets and converting them into some vivid and vital for a somewhat trickier era. A genuine cult concern – they released their own records when people generally didn’t – they remain revered for their independent fervour.

YOU SAY: “I’ve had more fun at Haze gigs than any other band I’ve seen!” – Tim Romain

82 Grobschnitt

WE SAY: One of Germany’s most potent and bizarre prog bands, Grobschnitt brought psychedelia and prog precision together on classic audio voyages like 1974’s Ballermann and 1977’s symphonic splurge Rockpommel’s Land. Listen to their 1978 magnum opus, Solar Music Live, to hear the sound of a band with no fear, no safety net and a whole heap of inspiration.

YOU SAY: “Almost all of their albums gave me thrills when listening to them even after all those years.” – Bert

81 Asia

WE SAY: Supergroups are usually far less than the sum of their parts, but when John Wetton, Carl Palmer, Steve Howe and Geoff Downes joined forces for their eponymous 1982 debut, they effectively redesigned prog for the
80s and bolstered it with a hefty dose of gleaming AOR perfection. The world succumbed and we still love them today.

YOU SAY: “To me, they are a mix of Yes (naturally…) and Kansas. From complicated tunes to catchy radio songs. A great band.” – Frank Sollie

My Favourite Prog Artist Of All Time

Darren Young (Diatessaron)

Darren Young (Diatessaron)

“Without Coheed And Cambria I may have never discovered so many of the prog bands that I know and love today. Through their music I was exposed to Rush, then Yes, Genesis, King Crimson, and all of the other greats of the genre. There is an undeniable influence that Mr Sanchez and co have had on Diatessaron, while I try my hardest to not rip anyone off!”