The Progressive movement had deep roots in the rock of the 1960s, a lineage that the early efforts by King Crimson makes very clear. In British bands of the second half of that decade, like the Moody Blues, Procol Harem, the Yardbirds and The Beatles, you’ll find a sort of ‘proto-Prog’ clearly moving rock in a direction of ornate instrumentation, baroque and mystical lyrics, orchestral arrangement and classical influences. The other half of this proto-Prog comes from largely American psychedelia, with examples including Iron Butterfly, The Doors and Jefferson Airplane.
Today’s selection, the glorious theme song of every Bright Wizard, is from one of the relatively few British psychedelic acts. You’ll have heard this song before, a bizzare masterpiece that you’ll be tempted to call a one-hit wonder, but its mad architect had later roles with his own band Kingdom Come, with Space Rock icons Hawkwind, as a priest in The Who’s rock opera film Tommy, and with the much better-known Alan Parsons Project.
You will, of course, notice a particular piece of theatricality in the video that would rise to prominence with another band that picked it up a few years later. And you’ll see, too, in the intensity of both the music and the staging, the beginnings of that notable cousin of Prog, Glam Rock.