No one is going to go into a prog rock album and expect to hear songs that are going to play all over the radio. From the minute that the genre was born, this was the kind of music that was supposed to not even touch the charts, looking to move rock and roll into the same realm as something like classical music or jazz. Things were definitely going past the days of Chuck Berry, and these bands weren't shy about their more ambitious side.
Throughout every single one of these songs, you're not exactly going to find the traditional verse chorus structure any time soon. Building their songs almost like architecture, every single one of these tracks feels a lot more sizable in scope, bringing together the traditional rock and roll ensemble with everything from orchestras to choral arrangements, all to make for songs that are a lot more grandiose than anything else in the genre.
While these songs aren't necessarily for the impatient, they aren't really aiming to grab you from the first second you hear them. These are songs that are meant to sprawl out, making for some of the most intricate playing in the rock world and sculpting together masterpieces of rock and roll. The party time was over, and now we had songs that were meant to take you on a journey in your headphones.
10. A Quick One - The Who
As rock and roll was first stepping into the Swinging '60s, prog rock didn't really have a name yet. King Crimson was still working out what they wanted their project to be, and even the first iteration of Genesis fit more in the lines of baroque pop than anything progressive. The trail had not yet been blazed, and Pete Townshend actually tried his hand at something outside of traditional rock on A Quick One.
While this entire album was meant to have a sort of democratic quality in the songwriting, Townshend managed to fit some of the best hooks of his career into this one song, and took his sweet time doing it as well. Spanning across 9 minutes, this album closer is 4 songs for the price of one, going from one to the other in rapid fire succession. Each of them may have worked as a great chorus on their own, but they work so much better together, giving the track an almost operatic quality that wouldn't see its full potential until Tommy was released a few years later.
There's even a bit of tongue in cheek humor to the whole thing as well, like when they couldn't afford a string section at the end and decide to sing the word 'cello' instead just to fill out the sound of the final movement You Are Forgiven. Rock was definitely progressing, but Townshend managed to give it an extra push with this album. The first record had set the standard for punk, and this is where we started to see what the power of rock and roll could really do.