Organ/drum duo from Sweden, Hansson & Karlsson were early jazz-rock pioneers. Despite having Jimi Hendrix as fan and jam partner, recordings were near-impossible to find outside their native country. Hansson would later achieve international success as a solo artist.
From the onset, High Tide garnered attention; the band had a publishing deal with Apple Corps and was managed by Doug Smith's Clearmountain Productions. Their two albums on Liberty/United Artists are undisputed classic proto-prog albums. Simon House would later join Hawkwind, while Peter Pavli was a member of Rustic Hinge.
Led by Ian Anderson, Jethro Tull was the first group from the progressive era to score resounding chart success. Originally their music was based in rhythm and blues, but punctuated with Anderson's flute playing and larger-than-life stage persona. By Thick As A Brick, the band would provide the ultimate concept album: one song spread over both sides of the album, housed in a newspaper-facsimile record jacket. By the mid-70s, the bands work become more formulaic, but fan favorites were just around the corner, as the folk-roots of Songs For The Wood would attest.
The Moody Blues had rather humble R&B beginnings before discovering the Mellotron and making the switch to art rock. Although they became the first widely accepted progressive band, only their lyrics transcended their pop origins. Massively successful, after releasing seven albums in five years, the Blues took a needed break, only to return to even greater success in the early 80s.
The Nice were originally the backing band for P.P. Arnold, however they gained renown quickly with Emerson's keyboard antics. The Nice were one of the first bands to incorporate classical motifs in a rock context. O'List left after the first album, along with most their psychedelic charm. The remaining trio, increasingly dominated by Emerson's virtuosity, released another pair of albums before splitting. Both Five Bridges and Elegy were mop-up posthumous releases.
Procol Harum's formative years were in an R&B based band called the Paramounts. Named after producer Gary Steven's cat, Harum released their first single and to instant world-wide success. Immediately afterward, they reshuffled their line-up back to the formative one, and perservered through four more albums of sophisticated pop. After a series of personnel changes, the band continued into the late seventies with a degree of success in the US, though the UK proved more elusive