Fire in Harmony: the 1980s UK British progressive rock revival

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Published conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

Progressive rock’s ‘golden age’ is typically defined as a decade beginning in the late 1960s and ending in the late 1970s. Extant histories and media coverage suggest that by the late 1970s progressive rock’s most visible and successful acts had either broken up, run out of steam, or begun to adopt a more mainstream, radio-friendly style. However, ‘progressive’ rock enjoyed a nascent revival in the early 1980s that had continuities with the 1970s, yet developed in its own particular ways. This chapter explores the history and media of the early 1980s progressive revival, and questions the use of the term ‘neo-progressive’ (now typically used to refer to this period of music and to a network of styles that supposedly developed from it). It considers both how bands sought to gain broader popularity/record deals, and how they were supported in their endeavours by trans-local scenes and specific infrastructures and individuals. The paper concludes by suggesting various reasons for the failure of the ‘progressive revival’ to gain traction at that time, though certain bands managed to persevere through fan support, and others later reformed after varying periods of inactivity. Indeed, some of these bands have careers that are considerably longer than those achieved by many of the first wave of progressive bands in the 1970s.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProg Rock in Europe. Overview of a Persistent Musical Style
EditorsPhilippe Gonin
Place of PublicationDijon
PublisherEditions Universitaires de Dijon
Pages151-164
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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  • Cite this

    Anderton, C. (2016). Fire in Harmony: the 1980s UK British progressive rock revival. In P. Gonin (Ed.), Prog Rock in Europe. Overview of a Persistent Musical Style (pp. 151-164). Editions Universitaires de Dijon.