It is no secret that I am quite a Progressive Rock fan. I grew up listening to, performing, and writing rock music and am currently studying, performing, and composing classical music. Prog Rock is the genre that meets classical and rock right in the middle. It includes much of the intricacies and complexity of classical music, but with the power and sing-a-bility of rock.
One thing about Progressive Rock is that it can often be quite a time commitment. For example, Neal Morse’s Question Mark album is 56 minutes of continuous sound! While it is completely worth it to listen to this record from start to finish (frequently), sometimes you just don’t have an hour to listen to an album straight through! If only there were some fantastic prog songs that you could listen to on the way to work or between classes!
OH, THERE IS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I have compiled a short list of “one-off” prog songs that are shorter than 15 minutes in length and are not lyrically dependent upon the story or the concept of an album. All of these songs are self-contained and can be enjoyed at your leisure!
1. “Feel the Benefit” by 10cc
I recently listed this song as my “favorite” song on a community-building activity for work. While it is remarkably difficult to actually choose a favorite song, “Feel the Benefit” certainly has all the elements.
2. “Jerusalem” by Emerson, Lake, and Palmer
Speaking of favorites, this very well may be my favorite Emerson, Lake, and Palmer track. An interesting factoid about this song: ELP released it as a single in England hoping that it would be viewed as a patriotic anthem. Instead, the song was met with accusations of heresy, blasphemy, and and being anti-Christian and was banned from BBC radio.
3. “Angels in Top Hats” by House of Heroes
This is the closing song to the album Say No More which easily makes my short list of Top 20 albums. Apologies for the poor audio quality. This is a fairly obscure track with slim YouTube pick-ins.
4. “Prelude/Angry Young Man” by Billy Joel
This song is the high-point of the wildly diverse record Turnstiles by Billy Joel. Keeping with the theme of favorites, this is definitely my favorite Billy Joel song and probably makes my short list of favorite songs, period!
5. “Funeral for a Friend” by Elton John
My Dad has always loved this song, and the entire Goodbye Yellowbrick Road record, but he has never really loved Elton John. He and his friends had tickets to see Elton in concert and they swore to each other that they would leave right after he played this song. Elton opened with this track, dressed as a giant duck, but they all stayed and listened to the whole show.
6. “Hopelessly Human” by Kansas
This is truly a great tune. This is American Progressive Rock at its peak. Congratulations, Kerry Livgren.
7. “One More Time to Live” by The Moody Blues
Contrary to Popular Opinion, I regard Every Good Boy Deserves Favour as the quintessential Moody Blues album. Maybe it is because I grew up with it, or maybe it is just my aversion to things popular. Whatever it is, this album is da bomb.
8. “Lifeline” by Neal Morse
The dude is a genius. What else is there to say?
9. “United States of Eurasia” by Muse
Is this my favorite Muse song? I am not sure, but if there is only time to listen to one Muse song, this is the one I’m listening to. I also sincerely appreciate the inclusion of the Chopin Nocturne.
10. “Quarantine” by MuteMath
I much prefer Odd Soul to the previous two Mute Math records, but there is one thing all those who know the music of MuteMath can agree on: Darren King.
11. “Liar” by Queen
I can never decide if I prefer the first or third Queen album, but I can safely say that this song is freakin’ fantastic.
12. “Castle Walls” by Styx
The Grand Illusion is one of my Top Ten favorite albums. I think it is a real shame there is so much Dennis DeYoung hate out there because the man is fantastically talented as a keyboardist and composer.
13. “Mozart” by Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Mozart+Trans-Siberian Orchestra= 😀
14. “Catherine Howard” by Rick Wakeman
This is probably the best song off of what is probably the best Rick Wakeman record. Fantastic work!
15. “Perpetual Change” by Yes
The Yes Album is a work of art from start to finish, and this finale is one of the best songs in the Yes catalog.