The 10 best progressive rock albums have lent themselves to music history in a way that rock and roll could never have done in its entirety. The progressive rock movement was about creating an artistic body of work. Instead of having an album be a collection of individual songs, progressive rock artists wanted the album to be an entire piece.
- "Close To The Edge" by Yes. Yes recorded this album in 1972. It is based upon the book "Siddhartha" where the main character finds himself "close to the edge" of a river and discovers a spiritual awakening. The themes of renewal and reawakening are evident in this album and create an amazing feeling of awareness for each listener.
- "Wish You Were Here" by Pink Floyd. This was the ninth studio album released by Pink Floyd. They recorded this album in the midst of touring Europe and finding inspiration in the mental health of their former band member, insight into the music business and the feelings that emptiness and absence brought to them. This album is one of the best progressive rock albums, because it was with this album that Pink Floyd decided to split "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" into two separate pieces. This created the overall feel of an entire piece being made in the album.
- "Selling England By The Pound" by Genesis. The British group certainly loved their motherland. So much so, in fact, that the entire album "Selling England By The Pound" focused on medieval England and its juxtaposition with the present.
- "Thick As A Brick" by Jethro Tull. This "album" only consisted of one track that lasted nearly 45 minutes. The idea was based around a fictitious boy name Gerald Bostock. Simply creating an album based on one character and making that into one extremely long song is nothing short of genius, progressive rock.
- "In The Court Of The Crimson King" by King Crimson. Typically when a band puts forth the effort to strip down their sound, they tend to build it back up again in an entirely different way. King Crimson did that with their debut album in 1969. They took rock and roll and broke it down. From there, they reminded listeners of the jazz and blues influences that served as a catalyst for rebellion in music.
- "Foxtrot" by Genesis. "Foxtrot" made its mark because of the band's obvious evolution in song making. The instrumentals were much more polished and the lyrics were poignant. Genesis experimented a bit more with their sounds as well, and "Foxtrot" became one of the most celebrated progressive rock albums of all time.
- "Dark Side Of The Moon" by Pink Floyd. "Dark Side Of The Moon" was a pre-cursor to the exploration of mental illness in "Wish You Were Here." Not only was mental illness a theme in this album, but so was greed, internal conflict and time. This album didn't delve into musical exploration and instrumental messages which was to come in the next album.
- "Hybrids" by Anglagard. "Hybrids" was an excellent mashup of classic percussions and progressive rock ideology. Mattias Olsson's background in classical training served as a canvas for experimental strings and prolonged beats.
- "Godbluff" by Van Der Graaf Generator. This album is where the electromechanical keyboard became a signature sound for experimental rock. Because of the keyboard's tight sound, the rest of the instruments followed suit.
- "Animals" by Pink Floyd. This album was mildly based on the George Orwell novel "Animal Farm," and used that novel as a catalyst for making social and political statements about England's state in government.
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