The Show That Never Ends

The Show That Never Ends

The Rise and Fall of Prog Rock

Book - 2017
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The Show That Never Ends is the definitive story of the extraordinary rise and fall of progressive ("prog") rock. Epitomized by such classic, chart-topping bands as Yes, Genesis, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, and Emerson Lake & Palmer, along with such successors as Rush, Marillion, Asia, Styx, and Porcupine Tree, prog sold hundreds of millions of records. It brought into the mainstream concept albums, spaced-out cover art, crazy time signatures, multitrack recording, and stagecraft so bombastic it was spoofed in the classic movie This Is Spinal Tap.

With a vast knowledge of what Rolling Stone has called "the deliciously decadent genre that the punks failed to kill," access to key people who made the music, and the passion of a true enthusiast, Washington Post national reporter David Weigel tells the story of prog in all its pomp, creativity, and excess.

Weigel explains exactly what was "progressive" about prog rock and how its complexity and experimentalism arose from such precursors as the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds and the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper. He traces prog's popularity from the massive success of Procol Harum's "Whiter Shade of Pale" and the Moody Blues' "Nights in White Satin" in 1967. He reveals how prog's best-selling, epochal albums were made, including The Dark Side of the Moon, Thick as a Brick, and Tubular Bells. And he explores the rise of new instruments into the prog mix, such as the synthesizer, flute, mellotron, and--famously--the double-neck guitar.

The Show That Never Ends is filled with the candid reminiscences of prog's celebrated musicians. It also features memorable portraits of the vital contributions of producers, empresarios, and technicians such as Richard Branson, Brian Eno, Ahmet Ertegun, and Bob Moog.

Ultimately, Weigel defends prog from the enormous derision it has received for a generation, and he reveals the new critical respect and popularity it has achieved in its contemporary resurgence.

Publisher: New York :, W. W. Norton & Company,, [2017]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780393242256
Branch Call Number: ANF 781.660904 WEI
Characteristics: xx, 346 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm


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PimaLib_NormS Oct 11, 2017

“Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends . . .” These are the opening lyrics to a mind-expanding piece of music known to classic rock fans everywhere - Karn Evil 9, 1st Impression, Part 2, by those noted pioneers of progressive rock, Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, and is the inspiration for David Weigel’s, “The Show That Never Ends: The Rise and Fall of Prog Rock”. (Several live versions of this song can be found on the PCPL’s free music site Freegal @ Now, back in the day, I was not familiar with the term “progressive” rock, but I knew that bands like Yes, The Moody Blues, Pink Floyd, and Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, among others, were trying to do something radically different. Some of the progressive music was incomprehensible to my adolescent mind, but then there were songs that seemed like aural works of art, and unlike anything else out there. Of course, there were excesses, and some of the prog rockers took pretentiousness to unprecedented levels, but most were in a passionate search for musical boundaries to break through. They realized that for the music to grow, it desperately needed musicians that were unafraid to experiment. Granted, some of the music ultimately turned out to be just dreadful, but it was all part of the process. David Weigel skillfully takes us back to the roots of prog rock, through its heyday, and ultimate fall from the heights of popularity.

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