Sunday morning music

The advent of so-called “progressive rock” in the late 1960’s and 1970’s added a whole new category to modern music, which spurred innovation and excess in almost equal dimensions.  It was my musical milieu of choice in my younger days, and many of the groups and performers of that era remain standard-bearers in my personal collection.  (In other words, I’m a stick-in-the-mud, musically speaking.  Yes, guilty as charged.  Get over it!)

One of the super-groups of that time was Renaissance, from Britain.  They combined elements of the hippie culture, drugs, folk music, rock, and even orchestral, classical influences, making them almost impossible to categorize except in terms of themselves.  I can’t say I liked their music as much as other performers like YesMike OldfieldJethro Tull and others, but they certainly developed a major international following, which has remained faithful to this day.

Here are three of their songs, two chosen because of their major success, and the third because I like the Arabian story cycle “One Thousand and One Nights” and I’ve enjoyed much of the music based on it.  We’ll begin with their hit “Carpet of the Sun”.

Another hit for Renaissance was “Ashes are Burning”.

Finally, from their album “Scheherazade and Other Stories“, here’s the title song that took up the entire second side of the LP, “Song of Scheherazade”.  Section titles and themes may be found at the link above.  This is a live performance from Carnegie Hall in 1976.

It was a different time, then, I guess, compared to today . . . but its music has lasted.  I wonder how popular it’ll remain when the last of us who grew up in that era have passed?  It’s not the sort of thing that attracts many young people in our era.  (There again, their music isn’t the sort of thing that attracts me, so fair’s fair!)

Peter

7 comments

  1. Every generation finds for itself a kind of music that annoys its elders. This is as it should be. Every generation is annoyed by some of the music of the generations preceding and following it. This is as it should be. Denouncing another generation’s music may feel satisfactory,. but doesn’t actually accomplish anything. Even when the music in question actually IS discordant noise accompanied by adenoidal whining.

    My parents started to get a little worked up over ‘drug references’ in the music of the Beatles…until I pointed out the popular tune of their era titled COCAINE BILL AND MORPHINE SUE.

  2. What’s fair is fair, you say, and talking about a band called Renaissance in the same breath… Renaissance… fair. 🙂

    It is interesting music. The lady has an intriguing voice.

  3. Well, the prog rock bend to end all prog rock bands is Rush, of course.

    Genesis, Yes, Pink Floyd, and a couple of Led Zeppelin songs (Kashmir) are all honorable mentions.

  4. Annie Haslam’s voice is mesmerizing. I have their early albums on LPs plus other digital copies..

    The Moody Blues were another master of the symphonic rock form.

    I’d add Kansas, Styx, ELO, and Boston to the list as well.

  5. I liked a lot of prog rock, and went to a live Yes concert in 1975.
    But “space rock”, like some Pink Floyd, moved into New Age, which was mostly missing something.

    Many think punk rock was a reaction to symphonic (=prog?) rock, and I started liking it, too.
    Tho now the Ramones are considered more power pop.

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