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Friday on my Mind 194: A Whiter Shade of Pale

I suppose this track really ought to have been much higher up this list. However, I didn’t want the category to contain any obvious songs from the 60s (hence no Beatles, no Rolling Stones) nor – certainly after a few weeks – repeats of the same artist. When I posted the band’s Shine on Brightly I thought I had already featured Homburg here. (I had, but before I started the Friday on my Mind category.)

A Whiter Shade of Pale is so quintessentially 60s that it’s a bit clichéd as an exemplar from the decade.

But this still sounds so fresh, possibly because of its source material, Bach’s Air on the G String.

The original video/film was surely in black and white. That’s certainly how I remember it. This one must have been colourised.

Anyway here’s where Prog Rock might be said to have begun – at least in the public’s mind.

Procol Harum: A Whiter Shade of Pale

Not Friday on my Mind 41: Paradise Lost

The Herd’s follow-up to From the Underworld kind of carried on from where that one left off but Paradise Lost was still a very odd concoction, with its intro and coda reminiscent of The Stripper but Prog leanings elsewhere.

(By contrast the band’s third single – which I featured in a different context here – was straightforward bouncy pop song.)

The Herd: Paradise Lost

Friday on my Mind 134: From the Underworld

When a very young Peter Frampton joined The Herd, the group with whom he made his name, they had just been dropped by Parlophone, but simultaneously brought in composers Ken Howard and Alan Blaikley, who had written a barrowload of hits for Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich and signed up to Fontana. The songs concocted for the Herd were of a different order to those hits though. Elements of psychedelia and glimmerings of prog rock are here.

The Herd: From the Underworld

Chris Squire

I wasn’t much into Yes – not at all in fact – but Chris Squire, their bassist who died recently, seems to have been their main driving force; and they were famous purveyors of Prog Rock.

Christopher Russell Edward “Chris” Squire: 4/3/1948 – 27/6/2015. So it goes.

Live It Up 21: He Knows You Know

A bit of Prog devant la lettre I discovered tardily as my first introduction to Marillion was the later Punch and Judy. I soon delved into their back catalogue. This was track two on their first album Script for a Jester’s Tear and had given the band a no 35 hit in the UK in 1983. I like the way the last lines of the verses are different but rhyme with each other (as well as the “poison in your head.”)

Marillion: He Knows You Know

Not Friday On My Mind 29: Shine on Brightly

Not a single but Procol Harum were one of the forebears of Prog Rock. As this track, among many others, evinces.

Procol Harum: Shine on Brightly

Not Friday On My Mind 26: Rain and Tears – RIP Demis Roussos

So Demis Roussos has gone. He was only 66. Strange that in the 70s he seemed quite old.

He first came to my attention in the 60s as lead singer of Aphrodite’s Child, another of whose members was Vangelis.

I posted their song It’s Five O’Clock here. It was out of songs and groups like this that Prog Rock developed.

I’ll skip over Roussos’s 70s solo number 1 For Ever and Ever and instead feature a live version of Aphrodite’s Child’s only UK hit, a number 29 no less, Rain and Tears.

Aphrodite’s Child: Rain and Tears

Artemios “Demis” Ventouris-Roussos: 15/6/1946 – 25/1/2015. So it goes.

Friday on my Mind 112: Painter Man

A small hit in the UK (no 36) but a no 8 in Germany. The track has echoes of The Troggs and The Who of I’m a Boy and prefigures the Roy Wood era Electric Light Orchestra. The video features “guitarist” Eddie Phillips playing his instrument with a violin bow – reputedly the first to do so – a major contributor to the record’s sound. Another antecedent of Prog Rock?

Phillips had also used this technique on their previous single, Making Time.

The Creation: Painter Man

Friday on my Mind 103: Reputation

A bit of proggy psychedelia. Just for a change.

This sounds a bit like Nirvana (the real Nirvana) but it’s a bit too fuzzy and fussy.

One of Shy Limbs’ members was a certain Greg Lake.

Shy Limbs: Reputation

Not Friday On My Mind 20: Never Comes The Day

Tuesday Afternoon was followed as a single by Voices in the Sky (with its flute flourishes and distinctive vocal from Justin Hayward) which, like its follow-up, the hard-driving perennial favourite Ride My See-Saw, featured on the next LP, the even more pretentious concept album, In Search of the Lost Chord. That was the first Moody Blues LP I bought – possibly my first ever and there’s barely a dud on it – with the possible exception of the spoken passages and the final track Om. Its standout is the Ray Thomas song Legend of a Mind embedded within the House of Four Doors sequence with its classical pretensions placing the group’s output firmly in Prog territory.

By this time the Moodies were firmly established as my favourite band.

Then we had this song – later to feature on On The Threshold of a Dream – which I remember in its review of the single the NME referred to as “beautifully constructed.” Here the group plays it live.

The Moody Blues: Never Comes The Day

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