The 100 Greatest Prog Artists Of All Time: 60-41

Part three of five…

60 Fish

WE SAY: Never mind his seven years as Marillion’s frontman, Derek Dick has explored his uniquely poetic vision of artful rock’n’roll for three further decades and is simply a prog icon.

YOU SAY: “The wordsmith of prog, and has the fire in his music that just inspires loyalty from the faithful.” – Steve Hawkins

59 Roger Waters

WE SAY: After leaving Pink Floyd in the mid 80s, Roger Waters struck out on a rich vein of solo work. Albums like The Pros And Cons Of Hitch Hiking and Radio K.A.O.S. are imbued with the same cathartic polemic lyrically as his finest contributions to Floyd.

YOU SAY: “Gets in ahead of his band mates for trying to keep his music relevant to the real world when it would be easier to phone in endless Echoes re-treads.” – Ian Blackaby

58 Nektar

WE SAY: Formed in 1969, this English band had more success in Germany during the subsequent decade than anywhere else. However, their impact on a younger generation of British musicians can be seen by the fact that Iron Maiden cover King Of Twilight from A Tab In The Ocean, perhaps the band’s finest album.

YOU SAY: “Great fusion of prog and space rock.” – Carol Taylorson

57 Mastodon

WE SAY: Prog metal heroes who started in Atlanta during 2000. Mastodon’s progressive stock has risen with each release, as they’ve gradually carved out their own musical niche. Their approach has steadily become more sophisticated, while never forsaking a crucial edge.

YOU SAY: “The only band I have ever seen where I needed earplugs and didn’t care one bit about it. The
jazz-style drumming of Brann Dailor contrasts wonderfully with the heavy guitar attack from the rest of the band. And they made a heavy metal concept album based on Moby Dick. Who else would even try something so outlandish?” – Adam Bloedorn


Rosalie Cunningham (Purson)

Rosalie Cunningham (Purson)

“There are lots of bands that are up there but I’d have to pick Genesis because they just encompass everything that
I love about prog. It’s the journey they take you on, both lyrically and musically, and they’re genius virtuosos but without me ever getting bored. Some prog can be a bit cold whereas I find Genesis very warm and inviting, and the storytelling nature keeps me hooked.”

56 Mahavishnu Orchestra

WE SAY: One of the great jazz rock fusion bands. The Mahavishnu Orchestra were formed in 1971 by guitarist John McLaughlin. In two periods, from 1971-’76 and again from 1984 – ‘87, the band featured some all time great musicians, such as Billy Cobham, Jan Hammer and Jean-Luc Ponty.

YOU SAY: “This is a band that doesn’t quite fall into the traditional progressive styles, but what they did with jazz and rock is groundbreaking. This is progressive music in the highest order.” – Kyle Lund

55 Arjen Lucassen

WE SAY: Dutch multi-instru mentalist, composer and producer, Arjen Lucassen first emerged in metal band Vengeance back in 1984, quitting to follow a more progressive musical direction. Since then, he’s released a series of
rock operas, working a number of high profile names, as well as being involved with the like of Star One, The Gentle Storm and Guilt Machine.

YOU SAY: “Arjen Lucassen is the most collaborative, creative and exciting prog artist around today.” – Ricky Barron

54 Rick Wakeman

WE SAY: Impossible to pigeon hole, Rick Wakeman has been a major part of the prog scene ever since he joined Yes for the first time back in 1971. Subsequently, in various guides he has given the world astounding music and spectacular live shows. Given his huge personality, it’s easy to forget that Wakeman is also an incredible keyboard player – almost without peer.

YOU SAY: “An uncountable amount of keyboard instruments, three concept albums and one genius. The years with Yes proved Rick Wakeman’s undeniable musical talent, but solo pieces showed something more – his great ability to create powerful conceptual music.” – Marek Kabat

53 Peter Hammill

WE SAY: A crucial part of Van der Graaf Generator, Hammill has also amassed a spread of highly evolved solo albums, which defy categorisation. The man has always refused to fit in with any trend, and has followed his own instincts.

YOU SAY: “Peter is a great creator, solo or with the band; I will never forget the first time I heard that voice!” – Oscar Touceda


Keshav Dhar (Skyharbor)

Keshav Dhar (Skyharbor)

“If I personally had to pick one band that completely changed the way I listen to and write music, it would be Oceansize. They disbanded in 2010, much to my chagrin and anguish – but even today, if I ever find myself in a creative rut and looking for something inspiring, I’ll almost always throw on their debut album Effloresce.”

52 Alan Parsons Project

WE SAY: Active from 1975 to 1990, the Project featured Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson, with a revolving door of other musicians. Their 11 studio albums were essentially conceptual and the Project had huge success, especially in America. Woolfson’s death in 2009 ended the chance of any future albums, but Parsons continues to tour under the band name.

YOU SAY: “Alan Parsons Project takes you on a journey of the mind with every listen.” – Tony Cooke

51 Robert Fripp

WE SAY: Whether with King Crimson or other artists, Robert Fripp has been steadfastly innovative. Not only as a brilliant guitarist, but also as the man who brought in such techniques as Frippertronics and soundscapes. He has been constantly inventive, which is why he has always been in demand.

YOU SAY:” I list him separately from King Crimson because of his constant involvement with so many other artists across a wide spectrum who have also contributed heavily to progressive (and other types) of music.” – Keith Wilkerson

(Image credit: Photofeatures)

50 PFM

WE SAY: Premiata Forneria Marconi were formed in Italy in 1970 and became the first prog band from that country to have international success. Discovered by Greg Lake and signed to ELP’s Manticore label, they released the acclaimed Photos Of Ghosts in 1973.

YOU SAY: “PFM were a bit of an Italian Genesis, also using classical and jazz and operatic sounds with brilliant musicianship, again producing little known gems such as The Mountain, culminating in the great Jet Lag album.” – Paul Westaway

49 Pendragon

WE SAY: Formed in Gloucestershire during 1978 by guitarist/vocalist Nick Barrett, Pendragon were in the vanguard of the neo progressive era. While they never had the status of some of their peers, the band have continuously come up with music that fitted into a style established early on, yet have always sought to sound fresh.

YOU SAY: “They never disappoint after 30 years and are not given the credit they are due; Nick Barrett is a master of his art.” – Ivan Joseph Hodgkinson


“I love Peter Gabriel’s Scratch My Back and So – he’s still a brilliant artist and he makes beautiful music. He has so much depth and has all these layers; he doesn’t make easy music even though it might sound that way to fans. It’s very complex and when I recorded What Lies Beneath, I started to understand more about how much effort it takes.”

(Image credit: Getty Images)

48 Brian Eno

WE SAY: Eno made his initial mark with Roxy Music between 1971-73. Since then, he has worked in a variety of different musical fields with a battery of formidable collaborators, that has included Robert Fripp, Kevin Ayers and Pete Sinfield, as well as a solo performer.

YOU SAY: “His first four solo albums (especially, to me, the first two) were the coolest, quirkiest pop/prog songs ever.” – Kris Gilpin

(Image credit: Photofeatures)

47 UK

WE SAY: A supergroup put together in 1977, the combination of John Wetton, Bill Bruford, Allan Holdsworth and Eddie Jobson was thankfully as impressive in practice as in theory. After releasing their self-titled debut album in 1978, Wetton and Jobson worked as a trio with Terry Bozzio on 1979’s Danger Money, before UK split.

YOU SAY: “An underrated prog band who completed their final ever tour in 2015. A stellar supergroup, amazing musicianship, fantastic composers and great performers.” – Tim Lansley

(Image credit: Getty Images)

46 Supertramp

WE SAY: During a career that began in 1970, Supertramp have sold in excess of 60 million albums. They’ve done this by ensuring their music has a streamlined pop appeal, while never betraying a commitment to deep-seated progressive inclinations. Albums such as Breakfast In America have both mass appeal yet musical depth.

YOU SAY: “Any band who can make great rock music using the saxophone as a key instrument must be on the shortlist. They have been at the forefront of progressive rock for decades.” – William Russell

45 Pain Of Salvation

WE SAY: The Swedish band were started in 1991 by Daniel Gildenlöw, who is also an occasional member of Transatlantic. Their riff-oriented approach combines both calm and heavy musical passages. All of their nine studio albums to date have been conceptual.

YOU SAY: “The most progressive band on the planet, in my view. Daniel Gildenlow has the ability to amaze, make you cry, laugh, smile and be offended on occasion. He is a one-off and has a voice that every other singer in prog should be envious of.” – Martin Molloy

44 Mike Oldfield

WE SAY: The man who found astonishing success with debut album Tubular Bells in 1973. What this huge seller allowed Oldfield to do was to go his own way; in the process he has written and recorded a series of unique albums, which have set him apart from anyone else.

YOU SAY: “My favourite artist and musician. So many elements, so many styles, some poppy and others so absolutely epic that you pour your eyes out. Genius. A wunderkind like Steven Wilson.” – Peter Heunder


Eric Guenther (The Contortionist)

Eric Guenther (The Contortionist)

Yes were a band of brilliant players who created very honest work [at a time when] there were fewer preconceptions of prog or any kind of ‘arms race’ of instrumental or production wizardry. You can listen to their records and hear the character of literally every musician in the band, depending on the decade or members involved for that particular recording era.”

43 Henry Cow

WE SAY: The band were formed in 1968 at Cambridge University by Fred Frith and Tim Hodgkinson. Never interested in being part of the mainstream and being on the edges of the music scene allowed Henry Cow to experiment without any undue outside pressure.

YOU SAY: “Avant-garde jazz rock fusion beautifully done.” – Steven Kotlowy

42 The Enid

WE SAY: Started by the classically-trained Robert John Godfrey in 1973, the band released their debut album, 1976’s In The Region Of The Summer Stars during the heyday of punk. Godfrey claimed the band were as anarchic as the Sex Pistols. Their subsequent career has proven the point, as The Enid have twisted through an array of ironic, classically infused tapestries.

YOU SAY: “Absolutely unique and a true English treasure, even now.” – Steve Reynolds

41 Haken

WE SAY: One of the most impressive of the newer bands to emerge, Haken were formed in London in 2007. Since then they’ve released three studio albums, which have seen them giving a personal twist on the prog metal sphere, one that has seen them becoming increasingly acknowledged as an active force on the scene.

YOU SAY: “They’re on the forefront of the new generation of progressive metal. They combine new elements while sticking to the roots with the classic Dream Theater style. Using many complex time signatures, they weave in and out of metal, rock, jazz and some fusion sounds.” – Eric Bernhardt


Nick Beggs

Nick Beggs

“If I had to nominate the super nova in my heavens it would be Chris Squire. On hearing his bass majesty I was stunned by the integral supportive roll his contribution made to any music. It was powerful without being verbose. Melodic and harmonic with subtlety. Contrapuntal and polyrhythmic whilst flamboyant. I was lucky enough to meet Chris. He had become a friend and I was very grateful for that.”

Jerry Ewing

Writer and broadcaster Jerry Ewing is the Editor of Prog Magazine which he founded for Future Publishing in 2009. He grew up in Sydney and began his writing career in London for Metal Forces magazine in 1989. He has since written for Metal Hammer, Maxim, Vox, Stuff and Bizarre magazines, among others. He created and edited Classic Rock Magazine for Dennis Publishing in 1998 and is the author of a variety of books on both music and sport, including Wonderous Stories; A Journey Through The Landscape Of Progressive Rock.