The Show That Never Ends

The Show That Never Ends

The Rise and Fall of Prog Rock

Book - 2017
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Draws on inside access to key figures in a chronicle of progressive rock that shares behind-the-scenes stories about the chart-topping bands of the 1970s, the sounds of genres ranging from psychedelia to heavy metal and the inconsistent ways 1970s rock has influenced culture, inspired satire and divided fans.
Publisher: New York : W. W. Norton & Company, [2017]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780393242256
Branch Call Number: 780.904 W427
Characteristics: xx, 346 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm


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Jul 20, 2018

Focuses mostly on the first wave--Genesis, Yes, King Crimson, Jethro Tull, and Emerson, Lake & Palmer--from their starts, and through their multiple re-incarnations. Robert Fripp seems to be intertwined through each phase--Fripp was in the original King Crimson, but played at some point with seemingly everybody in that era. Rush also makes a solid appearance as the leaders of the second wave (and first non-Brit/European wave). Interesting look at a rock era that is loved by many, and loathed by others (and was loved and loathed by the music press at the time).

Nov 02, 2017

"Are you ready to prog rock and roll?!!"-Probably never said by anybody.
Songs written in 8/12 time and obscure key signatures, concept albums, ridiculous song titles ("Karn Evil 9: First Impression"), keyboard solos lasting for days, songs lasting for weeks-these are the hallmarks of progressive rock, a genre that thrived in the 1970s and was reviled by many critics and rock fans. Washington Post writer David Weigel thinks this is unfair and sets out to both tell the story and make a case for this much maligned genre. I approached this book as a fan of music books, rather than a fan of prog rock, which I'm not, do have a limited interest in. His defense is that this bands, which include ELP, Yes, Genesis, Rush, and King Crimson, were musical virtuosos who dealt in big themes, expanded the boundaries of rock, and worked on an epic canvas. Its detractors find the music pretentious, self-important, and, worst of all, boring. King Crimson probably gets an inordinate amount of space because it's the most respected of the lot (Kanye sampled them!) and Robert Fripp is the most important guitarist in the genre. Weigel writes as a fan, and I wish he'd been a little more critical, as well as willing to explore why almost all of the musicians and fans are white and male. Of the bands, Rush has finally earned some cred and you might want to see the documentary "Beyond the Lighted Stage." Set your keyboards on snooze.

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.

Oct 05, 2017

The Show that never ends, the name based on a the lyrics of a ELP song (that is, Emerson, Lake and Palmer for those not in the know), was good for introducing Progressive Rock bands to an ear whom had never once heard of them. However, I found that the author was a tad too King Crimson-centric for my tastes. Also, he tended to skip around too much, sometimes to the point of confusion.


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