The Prog Canon: Introduction and First Vote- 1960 to 1969

If I had a dollar for every time I was asked by a friend or associate to define progressive rock, I would probably be a hundredaire, or maybe even a thousandaire. Yeah, so it doesn’t happen THAT often, but enough to warrant some activity. Yet, there are so many definitions and running arguments about who is “prog” and who isn’t, that it makes it hard to define using genre specific consistencies. A central part of the progressive mindset is to write ambitious, experimental music, so the target always seems to be moving.

We at Proglodytes have determined that it’s easier to explain progressive music through the most representative albums of different, important periods in progressive music history. We wanted to have our very own list to share with friends and family that want to better understand the progressive genre, so we’ve decided to create a Prog Canon, which is comprised of the 10 most important albums from each decade. Rather than decide them ourselves, we’ve instead created a user poll for you, our readers, to determine the most representative albums per decade, starting with prog’s early history, and ending with the last completed decade (2000-2009). The final results will be pinned to our site as a reference guide.

This first post is an introduction, as well as the first chance to vote in the series. This first poll will cover 1960 to 1969. Progressive rock was not yet an established genre, so this list will cover albums that were essential to the formation of what would later be termed progressive rock. We are using relatively wide parameters for what could be considered progressive rock, because we want to give those who don’t know prog as well an idea of the sights and sounds of the decade that would later turn into what we now call “progressive rock”. The guiding question is: What are the 10 formative albums of the 60s that were essential for the creation of the progressive genre? A good example of the wider parameters for prog can be seen on this Wikipedia entry here. The next one will, of course, be 1970-1979, so start thinking about albums to suggest there as well.

This is made to be more of a reference series than an opinion’s poll, but preference will surely influence your vote. Try and pick albums that you know are representative albums for whatever reason, even if there are other albums by that artist or band, or other albums from that decade that you may like more for whatever reason.

To add an album, write a nomination in the comments section of this article, or wherever else that you can (Facebook, Reddit, etc). I will add all of them to a list and then they will be voted on by our readers.

So, LET THE GAMES BEGIN! Post your album nominations below.


  1. The Mothers Of Invention – Freak Out, 1966
    The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper, 1967
    Iron Butterfly – In-A-Ganda-Da-Vida, 1968, maybe a stretch here.
    King Crimson – In The Court…, 1969
    The Who – Tommy, 1969
    Walter (Wendy) Carlos – Switched on Bach, 1968
    The Nice – Ars Longa Vita Blevins, 1968

    And for the record, there was no such label as ‘prog’ in the day. They were all just rock bands doing really unconventional things. As you can see by the lineups at the early festivals, they were just a bunch of counter cultural bands.


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