Academic and journalistic accounts of ‘progressive rock’ construct it as a 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 to the emergence of punk rock in 1976. Musicological, aesthetic and social descriptions of this genre of rock music are offered by a number of authors including Macan (1997), Stump (1997) and Martin (1998), yet this upsurge in academic and popular interest in the mid-late 1990s struggles with defining what, precisely, ‘progressive rock’ is. These studies rarely examine how the bands that they classify as ‘progressive rock’ were discussed in the press of the early 1970s yet, as Anderton & Atton (forthcoming) demonstrate, the assumptions which are made about genre definitions and history need to questioned much more. In this chapter, the British weekly music press of the early 1970s is examined (particularly Melody Maker which championed both progressive rock and punk rock) to show the somewhat ambivalent reception that the bands gained and to question the common myth that ‘punk killed prog’. It suggests that use of the term ‘progressive rock’ must be questioned in the early 1970s context, and that signs of press condemnation and dissatisfaction pre-date punk’s ‘year zero’ by three or four years. The chapter is complementary to that which follows and together these two chapters suggest an alternative way of looking at the history of, and relationship between, progressive rock and punk rock in the 1970s.
|Title of host publication
|Media Narratives in Popular Music
|Chris Anderton, Martin James
|Published - 13 Jan 2022