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David Weigel - The Show That Never Ends: The Rise And Fall Of Prog - book review

Word salad surgery

David Weigel - The Show That Never Ends: The Rise And Fall Of Prog - book artwork

Does it matter if this book says that Bill Bruford joined Hatfield And The North? Should we care when Gentle Giant’s Ray Shulman is mentioned as being the editor of Melody Maker or that Adrian Belew was part of Peter Gabriel’s 80s reinvention? Weigel’s day job as a political correspondent in America requires him to sift through the disingenuous rhetoric and ‘fake news’ that infests much of today’s political discourse. So if facts do matter in responsible political journalism, they’re just as important in the rock journo branch of the fourth estate, no? While such inaccuracies jar and undermine the author’s credibility as a reliable guide on this subject, his admiration for the creative ambition and musical invention for some of the bands emerging in the late 60s isn’t in doubt. However, chronicling prog rock’s big beasts by threading press clippings together, along with passages from books by others on the subject, makes this a well-worn, familiar tale. Adding little in the way of new substance, Weigel’s reportage from Cruise To The Edge does at least sparkle with well-drawn portraits and waspish humour. A pity those admirable qualities don’t extend much beyond the opening chapter.