Book

Rocking the Classics

Edward Macan

Published in print March 1997 | ISBN: 9780195098884
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199853236 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195098884.001.0001
Rocking the Classics

Preview

Few styles of popular music have generated as much controversy as progressive rock, a musical genre best remembered today for its gargantuan stage shows, its fascination with epic subject matter drawn from science fiction, mythology, and fantasy literature, and above all for its attempts to combine classical music's sense of space and momumental scope with rock's raw power and energy. Its dazzling virtuosity and spectacular live concerts made it hugely popular with fans during the 1970s, who saw bands such as King Crimson, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Yes, Genesis, Pink Floyd, and Jethro Tull bring a new level of depth and sophistication to rock. This book illuminates how progressive rock served as a vital expression of the counterculture of the late 1960s and 1970s. Beginning with a description of the cultural conditions which gave birth to the progressive rock style, it examines how the hippies' fondness for hallucinogens, their contempt for Establishment-approved pop music, and their fascination with the music, art, and literature of high culture contributed to this exciting new genre. It explores the conventions that govern progressive rock, including the visual dimensions of album cover art and concerts, lyrics and conceptual themes, and the importance of combining music, visual motif, and verbal expression to convey a coherent artistic vision. It argues that the critics' largely negative reaction to progressive rock says far more about their own ambivalence to the legacy of the counterculture than it does about the music itself.

Keywords: progressive rock; classical music; rock music; Pink Floyd; Moody Blues; King Crimson; Jethro Tull; lyrics; counterculture; concerts

Book.  304 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: popular music

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Table of Contents

Introductionin Rocking the Classics

Chapter

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Related Stylesin Rocking the Classics

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