Progressive music gets an official chart ’45 years too late’

Kevin Parker of Tame Impala performs in Los Angeles in AugustImage copyrightAP
Image captionChart topper: Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker performing in LA last month

Progressive music, the oft-maligned genre that had its heyday in the 1970s, is to be endorsed by the Official Charts Company (OCC).

Next week sees the publication of the very first monthly Official Progressive Albums Chart Top 30.

It will feature classic prog bands such as Pink Floyd, but the top slot goes to 21st Century rock act Tame Impala.

“We felt it was an oversight not to have done this a long time ago,” said OCC boss Martin Talbot.

“Progressive music is as alive and kicking as it’s ever been. It’s more a state of mind than a genre.”

The announcement of the chart coincides with the annual Progressive Music Awards, at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London on Thursday night.

Among those being honoured is founder member of Genesis Tony Banks, who will receive the 2015 Prog God Award.

Rick Wakeman, who received the same accolade in 2012, told the BBC that a chart dedicated to the progressive genre was long overdue.

“It’s only 45 years too late, but better late than never,” said the former Yes keyboardist.

“Prog rock is the healthiest it’s ever been… the standard of musicianship of young bands is overall way higher than the standard was back in the 1970s.”

The first official progressive album chart, to be published in Prog Magazine next week, features Tame Impala’s album Currents at number one, ahead of Muse’s Drones.

Official Progressive Albums Chart – Top 10

  • 1.Tame Impala – Currents
  • 2.Muse – Drones
  • 3.Roger Waters – Amused To Death
  • 4.Joe Satriani – Shockwave Supernova
  • 5.Public Service Broadcasting – The Race For Space
  • 6.Faith No More – Sol Invictus
  • 7.Symphony X – Underworld
  • 8.Pink Floyd – The Endless River
  • 9.Tim Bowness – Stupid Things That Mean The World
  • 10.Nightwish – Endless Forms Most Beautiful

© Official Charts Company 2015

“It shows that wonderful wide spectrum that prog rock has got,” said Wakeman.

“It’s no longer something to be sneered at and looked down on. With so many bands taking bits and pieces from it its widely accepted as a genuine contributor to the modern music scene.”

Rock musician Rick Wakeman performs in Cuba in 2005Image copyrightAP
Image captionRick Wakeman, seen here in 2005, is one of progressive rock’s best-known musicians

Prog rock, which grew out of 1960s psychedelia, was originally associated with bands such as Pink Floyd, Rush, Genesis, Yes and King Crimson.

It flourished again in the 1980s with bands like Marillion, while Muse, The Mars Volta and Porcupine Tree are among the best-known progressive acts of the 21st Century.

Jerry Ewing, editor of Prog Magazine, said: “Prog artists have always pushed the boundaries of musical convention, and by doing so, many have gone on to be some of the best-selling and most influential artists of all time, but prog didn’t stop in the 1970s, there are many people out there who are into prog artists and just don’t seem to know it.

“You look at some of the best-selling and acclaimed artists of the modern era, like Muse, Radiohead, Mogwai, Tame Impala, what they do is incredible, they are challenging themselves, their audience and inspiring a new generation, and the Official Progressive Albums Chart is the platform in which this will be recognised.”

The last new chart created by the Official Chart Company was the vinyl chart, in spring 2015.

The new progressive chart joins other musical genres such as dance, urban, jazz and blues and country. The monthly Top 30 will feature the biggest selling titles ranked on physical and digital sales and audio streaming data.

“There are some artists who embrace the term ‘progressive’, and there might be lots of others who don’t because it is a tainted word,” said the OCC’s Martin Talbot.

“The punk wars were fought to do away with prog music. Part of what we are saying is that it was prog and disco that won the punk wars – maybe more than punk did.”

To celebrate the launch of the new chart, the Official Charts Company has also compiled a list of the biggest selling prog albums of the 21st Century.

It features an all-British top five, with Muse’s Black Holes and Revelations at the number one spot, with 4.4 million album sales, just beating Pink Floyd, who have sold 3.8 million copies of Dark Side Of The Moon.

Official Progressive Album Chart of the 21st Century – Top 10

  • 1.Muse – Black Holes & Revelations
  • 2.Pink Floyd – The Dark Side Of the Moon
  • 3.Radiohead – OK Computer
  • 4.Kate Bush – Aerial
  • 5.Jeff Wayne – The War Of The Worlds
  • 6.Air – Moon Safari
  • 7.Sigur Ros – Takk
  • 8.Mike Oldfield – Tubular Bells
  • 9.Genesis – Selling England By The Pound
  • 10.Flaming Lips – Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots

© Official Charts Company 2015

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