Vintage Progressive Rock Vinyl Records

Progressive rock, or prog rock as it is more commonly called, evolved primarily in England from the late 1960s through the late 1970s. In some respects, the genre was a symphony-suffused offshoot of psych rock, but prog rock also included elements of jazz and musical theater, with long guitar and keyboard instrumentals that routinely broke the short-form molds of top-40 radio, and albums that often revolved around themes and concepts.

Collectors of prog rock gravitate to the original vinyl for numerous reasons. In some cases, it’s the album’s cover art that’s the draw, but in many more cases it’s the opportunity to get one’s hands on this extraordinary music. Some of the most collectible titles can only be found in its original LP format, while many albums have not been remastered properly in the conversion from analog LP to digital CD.

One of the earliest progenitors of the form was The Who, whose mini-rock opera from 1966, "A Quick One, While He’s Away," suggests the direction the band was heading in on its way to its 1969 classic, Tommy.

A Los Angeles band was also influential. Freak Out! by the Mothers of Invention (1966) is widely considered to be the first concept album, which is a format that numerous prog-rockers would whole-heartedly embrace. By 1969, head Mother Frank Zappa would leave behind tunes about the fictional Suzy Creamcheeses of the world to record the jazzy, proto-prog-rock masterpiece Hot Rats.

Back in England, 1969 was shaping up to be quite a year for prog rock. King Crimson’s In the Court of the Crimson King introduced the world to "21st Century Schizoid Man." The Moody Blues, who were shaking off some of their early psychedelic sound in favor of music that was more thematic and orchestral, released On the Threshold of a Dream in the spring, followed by To Our Children's Children's Children in the late fall. The Soft Machine released its second album, titled Volume Two, and, as has already been mentioned, 1969 was, above all else, the year of Tommy.

1970 saw the release of Egg’s self-titled debut as well as Van Der Graaf Generator’s much collected The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other—a CD version was released in 1991, but the sound quality is considered far inferior to the original vinyl, making this one of many prog-rock albums from this period that have not been successfully updated. The French psych-prog-rock band Gong released Camembert Electrique in 1971, one of three albums they recorded that year.

Yes was not quite that productive, but its place in rock history has been more lasting. In 1971, Yes recorded and released both The Yes Album and Fragile, followed, in 1972, by the incomparable Close to the Edge...

If 1967 was the key year for psych rock, 1972 was certainly one of the most productive years for prog. In addition to Close to the Edge, prog-rock classics from 1972 include Jethro Tull’s Thick as a Brick, Triumvirat’s Mediterranean Tales (Across The Water), Gentle Giant’s Octopus, and 666: The Apocalypse Of Saint John by Aphrodite's Child, a Greek group that featured Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou (better known as the composer Vangelis) on keyboards.

But the biggest prog-rock stars of 1972 were Emerson, Lake and Palmer, who came out with the synthesizer-saturated Trilogy in 1972 and followed that up with Brain Salad Surgery in 1973. This supergroup featured Keith Emerson on keyboards—when Emerson was with The Nice, he played on 1967’s The Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack, which some consider the first true prog-rock album. Bassist Greg Lake’s resume included time as a member of King Crimson. And drummer Carl Palmer had survived a few intense years with The Crazy World of Arthur Brown and Atomic Rooster.

As the 1970s lumbered along, pre-pop Genesis gave the world Selling England by the Pound (1973) and The Lamb Lies Dead on Broadway (1974). Mike Oldfield had a difficult time convincing anyone in the music industry to distribute his all-instrumental, heavily overdubbed Tubular Bells until he met Richard Branson, who released it as Virgin’s first album in 1973—to date the record has sold more than 15 million copies.

In 1974, a pair of German groups added electronica and synthpop sounds to prog rock, although Kraftwerk’s Autobahn was more pop oriented than Tangerine Dream’s ambient Phaedra. The next year, Pink Floyd followed up on their enormous hit Dark Side of the Moon (1973) with the prog-rock treasure, Wish You Were Here.

As the decade waned, two bands from North America tried to lay claim to the prog-rock crown. Canada’s Rush released two albums in 1975, but Caress of Kings is the one most collected by prog-rock fans—2112, from 1976, is also considered a classic. In the States, Kansas also released of pair of albums in 1975, but Leftoverture (1976) is the one to get, if you don’t already own it.

Fittingly, the English had the last word when prog-rock reached its apex in 1977. That’s the year The Alan Parsons Project came out with I, Robot, an album that seemed to pull together all the various elements of prog rock in one perfectly produced package. The album was a smash, but for prog-rock collectors, a self-titled LP by a Canterbury, England group called National Health is probably more collectible.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Vinyl Divas

Vinyl Divas

Vinyl Divas pays homage to international female opera singers of the LP era. Chronicling more than 800 singers, the… [read review or visit site]

317X

317X

Despite its mysterious title, 317X is plain and simple—an online gallery of vintage LPs, with a 1950s vintage fee… [read review or visit site]

Mybeatles.net

Mybeatles.net

Jesse Barron's collection of Beatles 45s, picture sleeves, magazines, books, and memorabilia. Browse singles and al… [read review or visit site]

Association of Vogue Picture Record Collectors

Association of Vogue Picture Record Collectors

This great site, from the Association of Vogue Picture Record Collectors, offers detailed background information an… [read review or visit site]

The Remington Site

The Remington Site

Since 1999, the Remington Site has offered classical music collectors a glimpse into Remington Records, an independ… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Extradition~rare 1st Press Oz Lp Hush Nm Sweet Peach Acid Folk Prog Psyche 1971Andromeda Andromeda Lp Rca Victor (1969) Sf 8031 England Vg Psych ProgBlackfeather - At The Mountain Of Madness Rare 1971 Orig Top Heavy Oz ProgGeorge Wallington Quintet At The Bohemia Orig 1955 Progressive Lp Near Mint!+++ Collection Of Rare Prog And Psych Lps - Mint And UnplayedFree - Tons Of Sobs Lp Orig Uk 1968 1st Press Island ProgPink Floyd Omayyad - Rare Live & Studio Tmoq Clean Shrink Prog Psych JamsBlack Sabbath Master Of Reality - Original Uk Vertigo Swirl Lp - Heavy Prog OzzyPatto Self-titled S/t Lp Album Us Vertigo Swirl Vel-1001 Hard Psych Prog Ex!Madder Lake-butterfly Farm Super Rare Orig Top Oz Prog Psych & Poster! One PlayBen S/t - Uk Swirl Vertigo '71 Red Glasses Prog Jazz Psych Dr. Z Tudor Lodge Ex+Ben Same 'red Glasses' Swirl Vertigo Prog Jazz 6360052Madder Lake -still Point 1973 Orig. Top Oz Prog/psych Played Twice Top Copy!!The Marshall Brothers Band -self, Rare 1975 Oz Top Prog/rock Unplayed Top!!Tha Aztecs -live At Sunbury Mega Rare Tent Cover! Orig. N.z. Milestone Oz Prog!Magma Mekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh Lp '73 Us Orig Promo A&m Clean Ex French ProgAffinity Prog Record Large Vertigo Swirl Uk 6360 004 1970 1y2Saturnalia - Magical Love 1st Uk Original Comus Horse Psych/prog RarityYes Fragile Uk Press 1st Kinney Press Mint Archive Earliest #1#1 Matrix Prog RocStudio G Beat Group Rare Original Psych Progressive Rock Mood Music Record LpAynsley Dunbar Retaliation Retaliation (aka To Mum...) Original Uk Lp Prog BluesJeff St John's Copperwine - Joint Effort Oz Funky Prog PsychKopperfield Tales Untold Killer & Rare Prog Psych Lp On Kopperdisc 5014n5!!Maschine Nr. 9 - Headmovie Lp Rare Krautrock Prog Psych Nww ListMothers Of Invention Tis The Season To Be Jelly - Rare Lp Prog Psych Frank ZappaRare Private Froggie Beaver From The Pond 1973 Prog Psych Sis LpHawkwind Warrior On The Edge Of Time Orig Uk Lp - A1/b1 Shield Sleeve Prog PsychGentle Giant - The Power And The Glory Uk Orig Lyric Sheet 1974 Genesis ProgRush Hemispheres Lp Anthem Red Transparent Colored Vinyl Prog Import W/ PosterFrank Zappa No Commercial Potential - Rare Double Lp - Mothers Of Invention ProgItalian Prog Original I Cocai "piccolo Grande Vecchio Fiume" Ed1 Jumbo RaminghiDelirium - Lo Scemo E Il Villaggio Lp Prog Ita Monster Rare! Nm 1st Gtf Press! +++ Jethro Tull - Aqualung - Ultra Rare Island Uk Pressing Prog Psych 1st PressCaravan S/t Debut Verve Forecast Stereo 1969 Canterbury/prog Nm-Kin Ping Meh S/t Rare Original 1971 German Polydor Heavy Prog Psych! Deep Purple Book Of Taliesyn - Uk Lp On Harvest A1/b1 Prog Psych Captain BeyondPink Floyd Money 7'' 45 Unique Portugal 1973 Ps Portuguese ( Progressive Rock )Pink Floyd Them Chocolate Watchband "underground"/psych/prog/69 Tower Lp+++ Grannie - Rare Psych Prog - No. 69/750 Record Collector Edition MintThe Mandrake Memorial - Medium - Original Uk Lp - Prog PsychHp Lovecraft - Ii Lp Vinyl Album '68 Us Philips Stereo Phs-600-279 Prog PsychFrank Zappa Guitar - Original Uk Double Lp - Prog Mothers Of InventionPink Floyd - Obscured By Clouds Lp Uk 1st A-1 B-1 Harvest Inner Progressive NiceFat Uk Debut Lp ' Fat ' Mega Rare 1970 Prog Rca -1e/1e One Play Mint Minus/nmintLot Rush 7 Album Bundle Lp's Signals Under Pressure Prog Rock VintageMagma Kohntarkosz Lp 1974 A&m Sp-3650 French Prog Christian Vander Ex Condition +++ Colosseum - Daughter Of Time Rare Psych Prog Swirl VertigoKing Crimson Islands Lp Album Eg Half-speed Mastered Pressing Prog PsychTouch S/t Self-titled Lp Psych Prog Orig Us Coliseum 20/20 Rare PromoThe Soft Machine Self-titled S/t Debut Lp Us 1968 Abc Probe Prog Psych Vg+Mcluhan Anomaly Lp Album '72 Orig Us Brunswick Prog Psych Clean Ex Cond Rare!Ram Where? (in Conclusion) Lp Orig Us Polydor Heavy Prog Psych Vg++Jonesy " No Alternative " 1972 Psych Prog Lp On Dawn Sweaty Betty Chaos & CoNovalis Sommerabend, Germany Brain Prog Lp, Green Label, Krautrock, Nice Cover—Triana Hijos Del Agobio Lp Original Spanish Press Prog Rock 1977 Movie Play RarePink Floyd The Final Cut Lp Vinyl Record Album N Mint Nm Prog Rock 1st A1 / B1Ultra Rare Kraftwerk Radio-activity W/ Stickers Prog Psych Synth Moog Og Lp Nm-King Crimson Starless And Bible Black - Original Uk Pink Rim Prog Psych Inner Ex +++ Gentle Giant - Octopus Rare Psych Prog Vertigo - Nice Copy!