10 Best Progressive Rock Bands Of All Time

When Rock Got Technical.

Dream Theater

Rock and roll has never been known as the most complicated of genres. When things first started back in the early '50s, all you needed was a basic understanding of the 12 bar blues to get by in any decent rock band. Once the '60s started to spread out, it was about time that bands started to mess with the structure of what rock and roll was about.

Rather than just get by with your traditional foundations of rock, these were the artists that bucked the trends and went for much more complex songs that no one had ever heard before. That meant songs that stretched out to much longer lengths, some blistering solos from everyone involved, and a whole mess of different time signatures to work with. As technical as some of these songs might seem though, prog doesn't really get enough credit for how much it opened the floodgates for the rest of us.

Sure, not all of us are planning to make another 9 part suite and make an album that would make a pleb's head explode. Then again, the seeds that were planted by these bands gave the rest of the rock scene free reign to try whatever they wanted to when the time called for it. It might be a little bit tough to figure out at first, but this is the kind of music where it pays to do your homework as a musician.

10. Yes

Any band that even thinks of going the progressive route has to have some level of faith in their instrument. As much as it might be fun to string together a few song ideas and call it a suite, you still have to be pretty proficient behind your instrument to make the whole thing move forward. And as the prog rock revolution got underway, Yes were practically the rock and roll answer to classical music.

In the era of the vinyl record, going through albums like Going for the One or Close to the Edge feel more like experiences listening to a classical piece, complete with vast sections that would sometimes go on past the 10 minute mark. It takes a lot to make a track of that length interesting though, and Steve Howe found a way by putting together some of the most off kilter guitar parts and making them fit under one roof.

That's not to downplay the rest of the band either, with Chris Squire's amazing bass playing driving songs like Roundabout and Jon Anderson's searing vocals sitting like a sonic bed on top of everything. Yes also don't get nearly the credit they deserve for bridging the gap to the next generation, going for the '80s update to their sound on tracks like Owner of a Lonely Heart. When other bands tried to chase trends, the most technical bands never really go out of style.

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