Who’s Who In Prog

The brief rise and inevitable fall of the world'’s most hated pop music.
Aug. 13 2012 10:18 PM

The “Prog Spring” Dramatis Personae

Being a Catalog of the Various and Plentiful Musicians, Mystics, and Visionaries of Progressive Music

Ian Anderson: Founder, in 1967, of Jethro Tull. Composer of its music and creator of its image, as he developed a habit for codpieces and for playing the flute while standing on one leg.

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David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

Jon Anderson: Lead singer (1969-1979, 1982-2011) and lyricist of Yes.

Bill Bruford: Journeyman jazz drummer who started with Yes in 1969, got bored, moved to King Crimson, played live with Genesis after the Crims broke up, joined the supergroup UK in 1977, and joined the new iteration of the Crims in 1981.

Roger Dean: Painter of waterfalls, alien landscapes, and (more controversially) floating islands. Famous for his album covers and stage art for prog bands from 1968 onward.


Keith Emerson: Keyboard player/Moog synthesizer innovator who co-founded the Nice in 1967. He left that band in 1970 to form the progressive rock colossus Emerson Lake & Palmer, which broke up in 1978.

Robert Fripp: Founding guitarist and songwriter behind King Crimson, who assigned that band name to rotating teams of musicians. Collaborated with Brian Eno on ambient music, starting in 1973, and worked with Eno and David Bowie in the late 1970s.

Peter Hamill: Founder and lead singer/songwriter of Van der Graaf Generator, which has existed on and off since 1969.


Lee Jackson: Bass player and vocalist for the Nice until its 1970 break-up.


Greg Lake: Bassist and singer for the first iteration of King Crimson in 1969 and 1970; after that, the bassist and singer for Emerson Lake & Palmer.


Davy O’List: Guitarist for the Nice from 1967 until 1968, when he was let go.


Carl Palmer: Drummer for the Crazy World of Arthur Brown in 1968. He followed bandmates to Atomic Rooster, then left that group to form Emerson Lake & Palmer.

Ton Scherpenzeel: Keyboard player for the Dutch band Kayak.

Richard Sinclair: A founding member of Caravan, with whom he played bass, and later a member of the quasi-supergroup Hatfield and the North. Joined Camel after that band's 1977 shakeup.


Derek Sutton: Tour manager, in America, for Jethro Tull and Procol Harum.


Stuart Taylor: Manager of Emerson Lake & Palmer from 1971 through their breakup in 1978.


Nik Turner: Multi-instrumentalist member of Hawkwind at the height of their popularity, from 1969 through 1976, when the band sacked him.

Rick Wakeman: Session keyboard player turned flamboyant, hard-drinking linchpin of Yes from 1969 to 1974, and intermittently since then.


Alan White: Drummer for Yes.

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