For music's guardians of cool, the endless solos, Middle Earth concept albums and wizardly capes of Progressive Rock were an aesthetic disaster. Now the '70s genre which refused to die is to be recognised with its own award ceremony, where – raising some eyebrows – Radiohead will be honoured as one of "prog's" leading lights.
Genesis, Yes and Emerson, Lake & Palmer (ELP) will lead a line-up of "prog rock gods" who will attend the first Progressive Music Awards, to be held in the verdant surroundings of Kew Gardens, next month.
The awards, created by Prog magazine, one of the few expanding publications in a declining print music market, will celebrate the pioneers, innovators and present-day torchbearers of the once-derided scene. Gavin Esler, the Newsnight anchor, who has confessed to a deep love of the flute-powered titans Jethro Tull, will present the awards.
The nominees include legendary prog names such as Van Der Graaf Generator, King Crimson, Pink Floyd and Rush. But the Visionary category, recognising the "spirit of prog independence", contains a surprise nomination for Radiohead, the Oxford band formed in 1985 whose fans may recoil at their association with the likes of the Moog-soloing ELP.
But Radiohead are prog, whether they like it or not, says Jerry Ewing, Prog's editor. "When their OK Computer album came out, people said it sounded like Genesis," he said. "Radiohead have a very progressive approach. They do what the hell they want, rather than what the fans want to hear. Prog is not just a sound, it's a mindset."
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Last updated by Melodic Revolution Records Sep 8, 2012.