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Proto-Prog

Jethro Tull

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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.

Founded: 1967

Location: London, England

Website: Jethro Tull

Kin Ping Meh

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Hailing from Mannheim, heavy progressives Kin Ping Meh first few albums were produced by Achim Reichel for his Zebra Records.

Founded: 1969

Location: Mannheim, Germany

Marián Varga, RIP

Marián Varga, Czech keyboardist and founder of Collegium Musicum, passed away last week at age 70. RIP, our condolences to your loved ones.

Moody Blues, The

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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.

Founded: 1966

Location: Birmingham, England

Website: THE MOODY BLUES

Nice, The

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.

Founded: 1967

Location: London, England

Procol Harum

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

Founded: 1967

Location: Southend-On-Sea, Essex, England

Website: Procol Harum Beyond the Pale

Renaissance (Yardbirds)

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Jim McCarty and Keith Relf's post-Yardbirds project was one of the early experiments fusing classical and rock music.

Founded: 1969

Location: London, England

Website: Renaissance 1969 to 1971: JohnHawken.com

RIP, Ray Thomas of The Moody Blues

Just the other day I was playing a compilation called Early Blues on Compleat Records. Love those early recordings of The Moody Blues, and of course, where would we all be without Days of Future Passed...

From Cherry Red/Esoteric:

Skin Alley

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As with other Clearwater Production groups, Skin Alley had their roots in the London underground and free festival scene. After recording two albums for CBS the band signed with Transatlantic, who licensed two albums to the famous US Stax label. Latter albums feature the Daltrey-esque vocals of Nick Graham. Thomas Crimble left to work with Hawkwind.

Founded: 1968

Location: London, England