Top 30 Progressive Rock Concept Albums by Prog Sphere

Top 30 Progressive Rock Concept Albums
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10. Rush – 2112 (1976)

The science fiction theme comes front and center in the first few seconds of the song, erupting with a trippy spacy intro that was very rare for the time. While the music is very hard rock centered, the concept and theme of the music gives it a very progressive dimension to it.

09. Camel – The Snow Goose (1975)

Camel considered several novels on which to base their third studio album. For a time they considered Hermann Hesse‘s Siddhartha, and some songs were written before the idea was abandoned in favour of Paul Gallico‘s novella The Snow Goose. The album’s name, originally The Snow Goose was altered to Music Inspired by The Snow Goose to accommodate legal protests by Paul GallicoGallico‘s protests were not, as is often stated, motivated by a disapproval of smoking – Gallico was in fact a keen smoker – but simply on the grounds of copyright infringement. The album was originally due to feature lyrics based around Paul Gallico‘s text, but due to his objections, an instrumental was made instead. The music was mostly written during an intensive fortnight in a cottage in Devon, England.

08. Gentle Giant – The Power and the Glory (1974)

Gentle Giant‘s sixth studio album is focused on an individual who means to do good using political power. He finds himself tempted to abuse the power, as have all of those who have come before, and ultimately becomes what he fought against.

07. Yes – Tales from Topographic Oceans (1973)

The idea for the album’s concept came about in March 1973 in Jon Anderson‘s hotel room in Tokyo during the Japanese leg of the Close to the Edge tour. He was looking for a theme for a “large-scale composition” for an album and found himself “caught up in a lengthy footnote on page 83″ of Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda that described four classes of Hindu scripture, collectively named the shastras. Anderson was introduced to Yogananda’s work at Bruford‘s wedding reception by Jamie Muir, then the percussionist for King Crimson, on March 2nd, 1973.

06. Frank Zappa – Joe’s Garage Acts I, II, III (1979)

The story is told by a character identified as the “Central Scrutinizer” narrating the story of Joe, an average adolescent male, who forms a garage rock band, has unsatisfying relationships with women, gives all of his money to a government assisted and insincere religion, explores sexual activities with appliances, and is imprisoned. After being released from prison into a dystopian society in which music itself has been criminalized, he lapses into insanity.

05. Pink Floyd – The Wall (1979)

The Wall is a rock opera that explores abandonment and isolation, symbolised by a metaphorical wall. The songs create an approximate storyline of events in the life of the protagonist, Pink, a character based on Roger Waters, whose father was killed during the Second World War, and Barrett. Pink is oppressed by his overprotective mother, and tormented at school by tyrannical, abusive teachers. All of these traumas become metaphorical “bricks in the wall”. The protagonist eventually becomes a rock star, his relationships marred by infidelity, drug use, and outbursts of violence. As his marriage crumbles, he finishes building his wall, completing his isolation from human contact.

04. Jethro Tull – Thick as a Brick (1972)

In 1972, Jethro Tull released iconic concept album Thick As A Brick, based on a poem by child prodigy Gerald Bostock.

03. Aphrodite’s Child – 666 (1972)

The third studio album by a Greek progressive rock trio Aphrodite’s Child titled 666 was released in June 1972. It was ostensibly an adaptation of Biblical passages from the book of the same name, but was also very experimental in lyrics and composition.

02. Genesis – The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (1974)

The ultimate classic by Genesis, 1974′s The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway tells the surreal story of a half Puerto Rican juvenile delinquent named Rael living in New York City, who is swept underground to face bizarre creatures and nightmarish dangers to rescue his brother John.

01. The Moody Blues – Days of Future Passed (1967)

After two years performing as a struggling white R&B band, The Moody Blues were asked by their record label in September 1967 to record an adaptation of Antonín Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 as a stereo demonstration record. Instead, the band chose to record an orchestral song cycle about a typical working day.

Honourable mentions:

Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Tarkus (1971)
Eloy – Ocean (1977)
Patrick Moraz – The Story of I (1976)
The Nice – Five Bridges (1970)
Supertramp – Breakfast in America (1979)
Transatlantic – The Whirlwind (2009)
Steven Wilson – The Raven That Refused to Sing (And Other Stories) (2013)
Richard Wright – Broken China (1996)
Steve Hackett – Voyage of the Acolyte (1975)
Fish – Vigil in a Wilderness of Mirrors (1990)
Nektar – Recycled (1975)
Queen – Queen II (1974)

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  1. Warren Greveson

    July 14, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    Personally I think this would be in the top 5 but I’m biased!

  2. Bart

    August 5, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    What happened to Marillion’s Brave? Beautiful conceptalbum, based on an article in a journal about a girl that jumped from a bridge. It came with a movie. Last year Marillion celebrated this album with an intgral show on their biannual Marillion Weekend (available on DVD/BlueRay).

  3. Jack Del Rey

    October 27, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    You forgot Celestina I, II & III by 17 Pygmies!

  4. Peter Bunce

    December 21, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    I am only on page 1 (Sylvan) Wow! stunning…

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