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Why prog rock still rocks

IT'S a long story.

That is both the history and reality of prog rock, with its love of embellishment, flourishes and a pantheon of concept albums.

The genre is alive and well, coming to the fore once more with the arrival in the charts of Homo Erraticus, an album from Fife-born musician and businessman Ian Anderson, of Jethro Tull fame. Erraticus, which this week shot into the top 10 at number six, is a three-act musical history of Britain - cramming 8400 years into 50 minutes of musical art, a weighty concept if ever there was one.

Prog rock was massively popular throughout the 1970s, with Jethro Tull riding high along with a wave of legendary bands such as such as Pink Floyd, The Moody Blues, Yes, King Crimson and Genesis, but was washed away by the advancing tide of punk.

Its followers never went away, though, and now one of the movement's high priests is back centre stage, more than 40 years after his breakthrough album Thick As A Brick (a description which could never be applied to the shrewd and successful Anderson).

We may never see a return to 1970s flares, but is good to see musical flair making a comeback.

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