Re-evaluating the ‘death of progressive rock’: critical reception and journalistic narratives in Melody Maker magazine, 1973-76 [event postponed due to Covid-19]

    Activity: Invited talk or paper presentationOral presentation


    Academic and journalistic accounts of ‘progressive rock’ typically construct it as a British genre that emerged in the late 1960s, flourished commercially and artistically from 1972 to 1974 and sank into decline by the late 1970s due primarily (in Britain) to the emergence of punk rock in 1976 (Macan, 1997; Stump, 1997; Martin, 1998). These studies tend to focus on recorded artefacts, hence rarely examine how the bands that they classify as ‘progressive rock’ were discussed in the contemporary British press of the era. Of particular interest to this presentation is the weekly magazine Melody Maker, which had consistently championed ‘progressive’ music since the late 1960s, though it also covered a variety of other musical styles. An analysis of the magazine will be offered that focuses on the years 1973-76 in order to examine the common myth that ‘punk killed prog’. It suggests that the use of the term ‘progressive rock’ must itself be questioned in an early 1970s context, and that signs of press condemnation and dissatisfaction pre-date the emergence of British punk. It also casts light on other factors covered by the magazine which may also have influenced the potential success or otherwise of ‘progressive’ rock bands during this period, including changes both in British radio programming policies and the university/college gigging circuit.
    Period28 May 2021
    Event titleThe 4th Biennial International Conference of the Progect Network for the Study of Progressive Rock
    Event typeConference
    LocationOttawa, CanadaShow on map
    Degree of RecognitionInternational