50 Greatest Prog Rock Albums Of All Time

Side-long concept pieces, walls of Mellotrons, keyboardists in capes…such were the glories of the greatest prog rock albums.

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Side-long concept pieces, walls of Mellotrons, keyboardists in capes…such were the glories of progressive rock. And behind it all were a stack of wildly creative prog-rock albums that still hold a potent thrill of discovery. The reverberations are still there whenever a modern band takes chances with instrumentation or reaches beyond a singles-length track. But here we salute the original 70s heyday of prog rock, with a couple of late-60s and early-80s cornerstones. All of it demonstrates how much of a journey a 40-minute vinyl album could be.

Think we’ve missed one of your favorite prog rock albums? Let us know in the comments section below.

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50: Premiata Forneria Marconi: Photos of Ghosts

The Italian band Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) was the first second-generation prog band, cutting their teeth on Jethro Tull and King Crimson covers. By the time of their American debut, they’d found their own style, with a strong sense of pastoral melody and European folk influences (their heavier rock side would come out in time). Purists prefer the original Italian versions (drawn from PFM’s first two European albums), but the new English lyrics are some of Pete Sinfield’s loveliest.

49: Marillion: F.E.A.R.

Marillion’s second incarnation with singer Steve Hogarth is still a bit underrated, despite his being in place since 1989. Though they’ve done pop on occasion, the Hogarth-led band took its cue from the Brexit and Trump era to go conceptual once again in 2016 (the title stands for “F… Everyone and Run”). F.E.A.R is less about specific politics than an underlying sense of disorder, it shows that veteran proggers can still have teeth.

48: Badger: One Live Badger

Perhaps the most obscure entry on a list of greatest prog rock albums, Badger was keyboardist Tony Kaye’s short-lived post-Yes band, along with Jon Anderson’s pre-Yes bandmate David Foster on bass and vocals (Anderson produced this live album, from a show that Yes was headlining). Kaye plays some of his finest recorded solos and the rhythm section really cooks, making this one of the few truly funky prog albums – comparisons to prime Traffic wouldn’t be far off. And with an underlying gospel/soul feel, the songwriting is so strong that it’s a wonder this got overlooked.

47: Genesis: Selling England By the Pound

Though they were through with side-long tracks, Genesis’ imagination continued to run wild on Foxtrot’s followup, with Peter Gabriel inhabiting a rogue’s gallery of characters and the band’s playing getting more muscular; “Firth of Fifth” and “The Cinema Show” became oft-played career standards. And wonder of wonders, the whimsical “I Know What I Like (in Your Wardrobe)” became a UK hit single, their only one in the Gabriel era.

46: Procol Harum: Exotic Birds & Fruit

Though many Procol Harum diehards will always prefer the Robin Trower era, the band was even grander on this later effort with the equally fine Mick Grabham on guitar. The first half of Exotic Birds & Fruit reaches a heavenly peak with the extended ballad “The Idol,” and Side Two offers “Butterfly Boys,” one of the funnier slaps a prog band has ever given to its record label.

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45: Marillion: Misplaced Childhood and Clutching at Straws

Original singer Fish’s tenure with Marillion, which only lasted four albums, ended with two conceptual epics. Misplaced Childhood is often considered the peak, since it had two indelible singles (“Kayleigh” and “Lavender”) and dealt with the timeless prog theme of loss of innocence and the end of a pivotal love. Yet Clutching at Straws is in retrospect, a far gutsier record, with a theme that cuts deep – namely Fish’s romance with alcohol and cocaine, and the toll that took on his private life. Appropriately, the band rocks harder here than it ever had before.

44: Rush: Hemispheres

Hemispheres was the deepest into prog that Rush ever got, with a side-long piece full of interlocking musical themes and a fascinating storyline (about two civilizations that represent the left and right sides of the brain). Flip it over and there’s “La Villa Strangiato,” Rush’s longest, trickiest, and most impressive instrumental. There are also changes underway: The four-minute, hook-heavy “Circumstances” hints at Rush’s more streamlined direction to come.

43: Yes: Tales From Topographic Oceans

History tends to give this one a bad rap: With four side-long pieces based on Hindu Shashtric scriptures, it’s got to be dense and impenetrable, right? Wrong: Most of Tales From Topographic Oceans is as gorgeously melodic as anything Yes ever did, and the band charges hard, newly fortified by drummer Alan White. To name just one moment, Rick Wakeman’s climactic synth solo on “The Revealing Science of God” is positively celestial.

42: Camel: Mirage

At this early stage, Camel was perched midway between prog and fusion: Their second album Mirage is two-thirds instrumental (the next, The Snow Goose, had just one brief vocal), and it’s largely hinged on the interplay of keyboardist Peter Bardens and guitarist Andy Latimer, both dazzling soloists. But Mirage also has “Lady Fantasy,” their most romantic vocalized piece.

41: Supertramp: Crime of the Century

Though it produced a major UK hit (and one that predated punk) with “Bloody Well Right,” Crime of The Century was actually Supertramp’s deepest album, with songs about a tortured soul’s descent into madness: “Rudy,” “Hide in Your Shell” and “Asylum” form a highly emotive and rather dark trilogy. It makes it even more surprising that Supertramp became such a pop juggernaut a few years later.

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40: King Crimson: Larks’ Tongues in Aspic

There was very little precedent for the kind of racket that Robert Fripp and company were making in 1973. The music on this largely-instrumental album was dense and intense, with Fripp and violinist David Cross in constant scramble (Mad percussionist Jamie Muir was only present for this one album). And during all this chaos, John Wetton got to sing “Book of Saturday,” one of the loveliest ballads in prog history.

39: Jethro Tull: Aqualung

To some extent, Jethro Tull was still working their blues and hard-rock roots on Aqualung, along with the pastoral folk direction that first appeared on Stand Up. Yet Ian Anderson’s writing was growing more symphonic as heard on “My God.” Though he’s insisted this is not a concept album, the eleven songs do make a unified statement about organized religion and the earthly downtrodden.

38: Van der Graaf: Vital

Vital was recorded live at the Marquee club in London during the season of punk, and it sounds that way. This is arguably the most ferocious performance ever given by a prog band, especially one with two string players, and since half the songs have no studio version, it easily stands as an album of its own. The band (who’d temporarily dropped “Generator” from their name) were clearly energized by their surroundings: They positively rampage through frontman Peter Hammill’s nod to punk, “Nadir’s Big Chance.”

37: King Crimson: Discipline

Reinventing itself for a new era, King Crimson builds a fresh sound out of gamelan-like guitar parts, Adrian Belew’s songcraft, and a flexible rhythm section. The 80s Crimson threw away the musical trappings of 70s prog, while retaining the thrill of exploration.

36: Queensryche: Operation Mindcrime

Prog metal is arguably a genre of its own, but its flagship album Operation Mindcrime had to be included here. This 1988 epic expanded boundaries in both directions, bringing higher compositional ambitions into metal and modern-day political dread into prog.

Queensrÿche - I Don't Believe In Love (Official Music Video)

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35: Genesis: Foxtrot

Nothing can be more prog than an album that begins with two minutes of solo Mellotron and ends with the Apocalypse. For many fans, Genesis never topped the kaleidoscopic “Supper’s Ready,” but Foxtrot is no one-track album: “Get ‘Em Out By Friday” is their funniest bit of social satire, and the lovely ballad “Time Table” finds a band in its early 20s already sounding like wizened souls.

34: Emerson, Lake & Palmer: Brain Salad Surgery

On their most ambitious album, Emerson, Lake & Palmer still found room for a novelty number, an English hymn, and a classic Greg Lake ballad – all to set up the main attraction, the 30-minute “Karn Evil 9.” The song’s narrative of a computerized, totalitarian future in which the masses are kept happy with splashy entertainment sounds more resonant every day.

33: Rush: Permanent Waves

With their 1980 release Permanent Waves, Rush offered a workable vision of prog rock for the new decade: Shorter and more immediate songs with real-world lyrical themes, still evincing a high degree of musical complexity. Not many bands picked up their lead (or had the chops to do it), but it gave Rush some rich territory to explore over the next couple of decades.

32: Mike Oldfield: Amarok

Mike Oldfield waited till 1990 to make his most ambitious album, a densely packed 60-minute piece with three times the usual indelible Oldfield melodies and solos. Amarok is a lot to take in at first (including the wonderfully odd ending), but it reveals more with each listen. And apparently, it’s all meant to annoy Virgin Records label boss Richard Branson, who’s called out in a Morse code message that’s in there somewhere.

31: Genesis: Wind & Wuthering

The second Genesis studio album without Peter Gabriel and the last with Steve Hackett, Wind & Wuthering was arguably their last purely prog epic before finding their streamlined 80s direction. And a gorgeously romantic work it is, capped with a soaring instrumental suite and Phil Collins’ first great vocal performance on “Afterglow.”

Genesis - Afterglow (Official Audio)

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30: Pink Floyd: The Dark Side of the Moon

The Dark Side of the Moon is about madness and alienation, and it’s one of the best-selling albums of all time – further proof that everybody is drawn to the dark side at one time or another. Yet Pink Floyd makes the dark side a beautiful place to visit, creating a grand soundscape where the tape-loop experiments work right alongside the soaring melodies, the R&B workout “Money,” and the obligatory amazing solos from Mr. David Gilmour.

29: Gentle Giant: Free Hand

Free Hand makes a perfect entry-point prog rock album, coming at a time when Gentle Giant had learned to combine fiendish complexity with heavier rock leanings. The mood is upbeat and the whole thing rocks like mad, even the Renaissance-ish instrumental (“Talybont”) and the largely a cappella track “On Reflection.”

28: Transatlantic: The Whirlwind

Drawing its membership from four notable bands (Spock’s Beard, Dream Theater, the Flower Kings, and Marillion), Transatlantic consistently represents the best in 70s-derived modern prog. The third album was their magnum opus, a 75-minute piece designed to be experienced as a whole. The subject matter largely hinges on frontman Neal Morse’s positive take on spirituality.

27: Yes: Fragile

This late-1971 album marked the arrival of Rick Wakeman and the flowering of Yes’ musical ambitions; they were now confident enough to include a solo track by each member. But each of the four full-band pieces became a Yes standard; with “Roundabout” starting the album on a high and “Heart of the Sunrise” closing it epically.

26: Porcupine Tree: Fear of a Blank Planet

Mastermind Steven Wilson claimed to be under the influence of Bret Easton Ellis when he wrote this epic, but he arguably does an even better job at spinning youthful alienation into artistic gold. It’s not the brightest of prog visions, but there’s cathartic power in the churning 18-minute centerpiece “Anesthetize.” And the presence of Robert Fripp and Alex Lifeson makes a symbolic passing of the torch.

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25: Argent: In Deep

Now that The Zombies have been well rediscovered, Rod Argent’s next band deserves some of the same glory. Their proggiest album begins with a fist-waver that Kiss covered (“God Gave Rock & Roll to You”) but goes from there into headier territory, with much grandeur and keyboard wizardry. The nine-minute “Be Glad” could be the prog answer to the Zombies’ Odessey and Oracle.

24: Tangerine Dream: Encore

Masters of the cosmic soundscape, the peak-era Tangerine Dream got into an outgoing mood on the largely improvised, double live album Encore. They loosen up, experiment more with rhythm, and compose some lovely tunes on the spot. Leader Edgar Froese even gets in a couple of killer guitar solos.

23: Magma: Mëkanïk Dëstruktïẁ Kömmandöh

Grand opera meets fusion meets space travel, with some reimagined church music thrown in – all in a language that the eccentric French band made up. This was prog rock at its most abstract, and after all these years, nothing sounds quite like it.

22: Steve Hackett: Voyage of the Acolyte

Steve Hackett had a foot out the Genesis door when he made his solo debut, which laid out all the territory he’d explore for the next 30-odd years. Always a bit cosmic in his lyrics, he could be as down to earth as the frantic instrumental “Ace of Wands.” This album especially benefits from a strong supporting cast, with Sally Oldfield doing one gorgeous vocal and Phil Collins taking one of his first turns at the mic.

21: Mike Oldfield: Ommadawn

Mike Oldfield made more famous albums, but he never topped the first half of Ommadawn, a melodic feast that culminates with a thrilling guitar solo and a healing wash of African drums. Side two has its pleasures too, including a gorgeous Paddy Moloney pipe solo. If you love this check out the 2016 sequel, Return to Ommadawn.

Ommadawn Pt.1 (1975 Stereo Mix)

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20: The Moody Blues: In Search of the Lost Chord

You could make a strong case for any of the “classic seven” Moody Blues albums but In Search of the Lost Chord stands out for its theme of mind expansion, offering three possible paths to enlightenment: Acid (via Ray Thomas’ ode to Timothy Leary, “Legend of a Mind”) meditation (keyboardist Mike Pinder’s mystical “Om”) and love (“The Actor,” a vintage Justin Hayward ballad).

19: U.K.: U.K.

It wouldn’t be right to do a list of the best prog rock albums without including a record that the late John Wetton sang on. The original UK was simply too good to last: Wetton and Eddie Jobson wanted to go further into pop while Bill Bruford and Allan Holdsworth were drawn to jazz; for this one brilliant moment, the two planets collided.

18: Camel: Moonmadness

Camel had two terrific soloists in keyboardist Peter Bardens and guitarist Andy Latimer, so the band’s best moments came when both got to cut loose. Moonmadness’ extended tracks showed off their dexterity, from the frantic solo-trading on “Lunar Sea” to the cosmic grandeur of “Song Within a Song.”

17: Strawbs: Hero and Heroine

Prog rock was just one stop on the Strawbs’ long journey from acoustic folk to relatively straightforward rock. But they nailed it on this album, where leader Dave Cousins’ flair for drama infuses every track. The peak is the title song, where a lyric about heroin addiction meets John Hawken’s heavenly chorus of mellotrons.

16: Peter Gabriel: Security

Peter Gabriel had disowned the “progressive rock” tag by 1983, yet his work continued getting more exploratory. This one broke new ground both sonically (he’d just discovered African music and gotten his hands on the Fairlight) and lyrically. He also brings some prog friends along: “Shock the Monkey” is the only Top 40 single Peter Hammill ever sang on.

Peter Gabriel - Shock The Monkey

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15: Kansas: Leftoverture

Nearly all of the best prog rock albums were by English or European artists, but Kansas was one of the few who was both undeniably proggy and heartland American. Their fourth album was actually recorded deep in the Louisiana swamp and though it was partly radio-friendly, it also housed the Native American-inspired epic “Cheyenne Anthem” and the instrumental “Magnum Opus,” with some downright Zappa-esque moments. And how many hit singles (“Carry On Wayward Son”) ever begin with a full chorus sung a cappella?

14: Renaissance: Ashes are Burning

Because Annie Haslam had one of the loveliest voices in prog rock (or anywhere else), and because there was no electric guitar, Renaissance sometimes get written up as too sweet. But their finest album adds a lot of emotional weight to the mix, courtesy of the epic title track, and the shimmering “Carpet of the Sun.”

13: Caravan: In the Land of Grey and Pink

This edition of Caravan had the same jazz leanings as their Canterbury mates the Soft Machine, but singer/writers Pye Hastings and Richard Sinclair also brought in some pop mastery to In the Land of Grey and Pink. The side-long “Nine Feet Underground” is a seamless mix of stretched-out playing and sublime melodies. And if you also want some quirky British humor, “Golf Girl” adds that to the mix.

12: Emerson, Lake & Palmer: Tarkus

ELP’s masterpiece actually leaves out some of their trademarks: There isn’t that much Moog (Keith Emerson was still into piano and organ), and Greg Lake never gets an acoustic-guitar ballad. But the side-long concept suite is a landmark, exploring war, peace, and tricky time signatures. Don’t overlook Side Two’s short pieces either; “The Only Way” attacks organized religion in a way that later punk rockers would appreciate.

11: Traffic: John Barleycorn Must Die

Unlike most bands in the progressive rock movement, Traffic (or at least its leader Steve Winwood) was always solidly grounded in R&B. Started as a Winwood solo project, John Barleycorn Must Die has plenty of soul but also covers joyful jazz on “Glad” and mournful English folk on the title track, which used to be a jolly drinking song.

Glad (Remastered 2010)

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10: Van der Graaf Generator: Pawn Hearts

Take everything fiddly and pretty out of the best prog rock albums, ramp up the intensity, and you have Van der Graaf Generator’s classic, Pawn Hearts. Fueled by Peter Hamill’s existential lyrics and wildly dramatic singing, the power here never lets up. It’s no wonder they were the one prog rock band that English punks (famously John Lydon) admitted to liking.

9: Jethro Tull: Thick As a Brick

An album-length piece wrapped in a Monty Python-esque newspaper, Thick As a Brick was at once a musical masterstroke and a grand joke. Ian Anderson clearly identified with the angry misfit lyrics, but sent up his own pretensions at every turn.

8: Todd Rundgren: Utopia #1

The guys in the first Utopia (not to be confused with the later quartet) were jazz-informed musos who could solo at length, so on paper, it makes no sense to throw in a pop songwriter of Rundgren’s caliber. But on disc, it works perfectly, with Rundgren’s catchy moments setting up and amplifying all the instrumental fireworks (plenty of which came from his own lead guitar). “The Ikon” was at the time the longest album side ever (30:22), but it’s anything but a slog; the opening riff takes about five seconds to hook you in.

7: Gong: You

Gong’s Radio Gnome Invisible trilogy saved the best for last. Their trademark “pothead pixie” whimsy is here, but so is some deep spirituality and powerful jams, with the dueling virtuosity of guitarist Steve Hillage and saxophonist Didier Malherbe. You boasts all this, plus a finale that will leave you floating.

6: Rush: Moving Pictures

Rush was progressing like mad in 1982, writing arena-ready anthems (“Tom Sawyer,” “Limelight”) alongside high-wattage thrill rides (“Red Barchetta”). But there are also signs of a more sophisticated touch on Moving Pictures, with the synth-driven “Camera Eye,” harking to the next decade. It’s no surprise that this was the only album they ever performed fully in order.

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5: Pink Floyd: Wish You Were Here

Pink Floyd were kings of the thematic album between 1973-80, releasing four conceptual classics albums in a row. This one gets special resonance from the spiritual presence of group founder Syd Barrett, who turned up in the flesh during the sessions. They even get funky, and funny, on “Have a Cigar.”

4: Gentle Giant: The Power and the Glory

Gentle Giant’s earliest albums were fiendishly difficult, while their final ones were AOR crossover. The Power and the Glory lands in the sweet spot directly in the middle. “Aspirations” is one of the most beautiful tunes prog rock has ever produced. And the still-timely theme of political power and its abuse proves you can do a concept album without leaving the real world.

3: Genesis: The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway

Perhaps the most outlandish concept album ever, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway takes you on a surreal ride with Rael, a New York graffiti artist who wakes up in a netherworld. The narrative came mainly from Peter Gabriel, but everyone in Genesis was by now a first-rate songwriter, and you could feel their later pop success coming.

2: King Crimson: In the Court of the Crimson King

It’s hard to settle on one King Crimson album, since each incarnation (including the current one) was jaw-dropping in its own way. But their debut really pushed the limits, with the band’s avant-jazz leanings somehow meshing with Greg Lake’s choirboy vocals. It makes perfect sense that “21st Century Schizoid Man” sounds even more necessary in the 21st century.

1: Yes: Close to the Edge

The most glorious moment among all of the best prog rock albums has to be the climax of the “Close to the Edge”, where Rick Wakeman’s Hammond organ solo ascends into the heavens, and then the song’s majestic closing chorus takes you along. The two shorter pieces are no slouches either: Prog rock never got more soaringly romantic than “And You & I,” or more joyful than “Siberian Khatru.” And did we mention Steve Howe’s amazing guitar tone?

Listen to: “Siberian Khatru”

Siberian Khatru (2003 Remaster)

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Looking for more? Discover The Visual History Behind The Greatest Prog Rock Album Covers.



  1. David Chave

    September 18, 2020 at 11:44 am

    It’s meant to be the best of ALL TIME but covers pretty much the late 60s 70s and early 80s. Which makes it appear as though it was compiled by some grey haired hippy who stopped listening to anything else past that era. So it excludes from any consideration Marillion; IQ; Dream Theater; Porcupine Tree; Steven Wilson; Haken; Transatlantic; Von Hertzen Brothers… to name a few who have all produced excellent albums in the last 35 years.

    • Zlatko

      September 18, 2020 at 2:19 pm

      Rare Bird-As your mind flow, Ramses- II, Frumpy- Frumpy…

      • Jan overmars

        September 18, 2020 at 6:24 pm

        Nice list, but I’m missing
        Colosseum II. Great prog with Gary Moore and Don Airey!!

      • Jose maria fraga

        September 19, 2020 at 1:24 am

        Why most reviewers lists ignore such an outstanding band as Styx,as well as keyboardist Dennis DeYoung works? Just listen to “fooling yourself”for instance…


        September 22, 2020 at 12:32 am

        Obvious and more often ridiculous? Just by seeing Argent and Strawbs on such list, you can laugh or have shame for the writers…

        • John Fasciani (Johnny Barracho)

          February 4, 2021 at 11:24 pm

          Hero and Heroine is an absolute masterpiece

      • John D.

        March 19, 2021 at 1:23 pm

        It’s just a list, people, one music lovers opinion. Don’t get yourself all wrapped around being insulted because you like something from 2015.

    • Slamazzar

      September 19, 2020 at 12:08 am

      And whoever hears Phideaux’s “Doomsday Afternoon” from 2007 will agree that it deserves a place as well.

      • Scott

        September 19, 2020 at 4:09 am

        One of the greatest prog albums of all time will be released on October 23rd of this year. Wobbler Dwellers of the Deep. The Norwegian Prog masters have finally created their masterpiece.

        • Jeje

          September 23, 2020 at 9:16 am

          Best rock albums 25 of all time classic rock? Not all Rock I can’t agree except Pink Floyd n genesis guess I too young what about all the other rock bands ????

      • Peter Rombaut

        September 19, 2020 at 8:41 am

        It s a great album, but only a real prog fan will know this one. And what about ” Song of the marching childrens”, the epic album from Earth and Fire, released in early 70, before all the others, a real masterpiece.

    • Marc

      September 19, 2020 at 10:51 pm

      Absolutly. Listen to Motorpsycho. Just released a nee album. Different sound, but very prog

    • Ken Engen

      September 19, 2020 at 11:59 pm

      I totally agree with you

    • René

      September 22, 2020 at 5:56 am

      Totally agree

    • Ferenc Larna

      March 31, 2021 at 5:22 pm

      Exactly the opposite.
      I’m not a grey hair hippie, and I’ve listened very carefully the full discographies of almost all the groups you’ve mentioned.
      The conclusion: nothing interesting at all, super boring, complete lack of any kind of talent.
      Long and stupid songs with extremely banal but pretentious harmonies and not even one single melody that stays in the ears after the song ia over – it’s not Prog, my dear, it’s just some rich kids suddenly decided to play “intellectuals” in their garage.
      All the “music” together in your list isn’t worthy even three seconds of Close to the Edge, Tarkus or Lamb Lies Down.
      And by the way, I’m a professional classical musician, though a fan of a good rock, so I know what I’m saying…

      • Kevin Lawrence

        April 2, 2021 at 2:51 pm

        I can’t comment on the more recent bands that people have mentioned in these comments. I can say, however, that I completely agree with the choice of Close to the Edge as the best Progressive Rock album of all time. It’s truly a masterpiece and I was amazed that the author mentioned Rick Wakeman’s incredible organ solo and then the finish as the greatest moment in Prog Rock history. I still get a tremendous hit of joy every time I hear that section, even after listening for many years. The members of Yes were all virtuoso musicians and they created some of the best music of all time.

  2. Ian Latimer

    September 18, 2020 at 1:01 pm

    I hardly think these are all prog rock albums with heavy metal and even pop in there !!!!!

  3. Ian Latham

    September 18, 2020 at 5:36 pm

    Uh, what about Moody Blues ‘Days of Future Past’ or even The Beatles ‘Sgt. Pepper’s’? I’m they could knock a couple of these off the shelf. And, ‘Dark side of the Moon’ deserves a spot as well. However, you got the no. 1 spot just right!

  4. sanjin stiglic

    September 18, 2020 at 6:27 pm

    Kansas is a pop album however good it might be. Nothing much progressive about it.

  5. Prairie Hawker

    September 18, 2020 at 6:35 pm

    No Hawkwind? LOL I doubt you really know much about Prog

    • Andy

      October 15, 2020 at 12:54 am

      Absolutely. No prog chart could possibly be complete without Hawkwind. They invented their own genre and were a major influence on everything from punk to trance to rave to techno. And they have a new album out next week!

      Also no Krautrock? Leaving out Can is a major omission.

  6. Rick Karbowski

    September 18, 2020 at 7:00 pm

    I agree about having nothing since 1983 is a good point. But just about any list like this tends to go that way. Sirius XM did a top 20 prog albums recently and the most recent was the Asia debut, and they had 8 bands with 2 albums. Another point is no bands with non-English lyrics (other than Magma). Might I suggest PFM-Per Un Amico, Banco-Darwin! Or Ange-Au-dela Du Delire, or one of their many excellent albums from the last couple decades?

  7. Douglass Parker

    September 18, 2020 at 8:19 pm

    Pretty good list. A good cross-section of prog. Obviously everyone has their own opinions. Selling England by the Pound was Genesis’ finest album. I would have included it over Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. Likewise ELP would be better represented by Pictures at an Exhibition and and Renaissance by Song for All Seasons. Rick Wakeman’s Six Wives of Henry VII should have been included. Close to the Edge at #1 is spot on.

    • Brx

      September 21, 2020 at 3:31 pm

      Interesting opinions. I think Tarkus is clearly the best choice for ELP, not Pictures – and Novella would have been a better selection for Renaissance.

  8. Wayne S

    September 18, 2020 at 8:26 pm

    Missed Mahavishnu Orchestra

  9. W woudstra

    September 18, 2020 at 9:20 pm

    Cant agree more that Yes is best progrock band. And close to the edge there best album. However Camel should be some spots higher.

    • Easy

      October 9, 2020 at 8:52 am

      Dará side and close to the edge most be thigth at first place

  10. Stuart perry

    September 18, 2020 at 11:33 pm

    Air conditioning the debut album from curved air deserves a mention

  11. Douglass Parker

    September 18, 2020 at 11:51 pm

    Typo: That’s Six wives of Henry VIII, not VII.

  12. Slamazzar

    September 19, 2020 at 12:25 am

    Hmm, so I guess I finally need to get over this annoying, anti-rock falsetto of Ian Anderson and give Yes a listen…

    Never heard most of the albums but I’m delighted to see Magma’s MDK here (altough the title track is the highlight) and of course Schizoid Man is a must.

    But Ommadawn (part I and the last minutes of part II) is the single most beautiful thing ever composed by an Earthman. If aliens ever come to hear our music, they should be handed this album…

    • Bill

      September 19, 2020 at 6:16 pm

      Hi. It’s Jon Anderson of YES

    • Arty Farty

      September 20, 2020 at 3:21 am

      Good to see Steve Hackett’s Voyage of the Acolyte. I’d personally raise it a little higher though. This album is really *true*, sincere Art Rock — i.e., not a ‘wannabe’ like several of the bands you’ve got glorified here.

      It’s also called:The Best Genesis Album That Wasn’t. Frankly, Voyage of the Acolyte beats many Genesis and King Crimson albums.

  13. Larry

    September 19, 2020 at 2:02 am

    Deep Purple: Mother Focus.

  14. Luuk Upuuk

    September 19, 2020 at 2:37 am

    A proglist without Barclay James Harvest is incomplete. “Once Again” or “And other Short Stories” defenitely belomg on the list.

  15. Fra Wo

    September 19, 2020 at 6:20 am

    Loved to see the Strawbs on list.

  16. john pilcher

    September 19, 2020 at 6:28 am

    Selling England by the pound over Lamb lies down.You should put release dates in.

  17. Lex Bos

    September 19, 2020 at 8:13 am

    And what about prog in other thans the English speaking countries? Look and hear beyond your horizon. Sweden, Norway,Holland, Germany and above all Italy. Many fantastic progbands coming from these countries.

  18. Peter Rombaut

    September 19, 2020 at 8:44 am

    It s a great album, but only a real prog fan will know this one. And what about ” Song of the marching childrens”, the epic album from Earth and Fire, released in early 70, before all the others, a real masterpiece.

  19. Jesús Morillo

    September 19, 2020 at 9:17 am

    Excellent the Masters of Prog un that list. I’d change Todd R. For Eloy, but great selection.

  20. Eyal Leon

    September 19, 2020 at 10:17 am

    Yes as no. 1 is correct. However, the album Crime of the Century by Supertramp must be high on the list. Also an album called Nightingale & Bomberes by Manfred Man is a masterpiece that should be included. Another must is the album O.K Computer by Redio Head.

    • Dadeaux

      October 11, 2020 at 8:32 pm

      Love Supertramp. Sadly, they’re mostly known for their tunier tracks, especially from Breakfast in America, which is not at all bad. But Crime of the Century has moments (especially in the title track)that will leave you breathless. And my personal favorite is Brother Where You Bound. The title song is perhaps the last true prog-rock daring adventure. Long, political, theatrical, with a mind-blowing solo by David Gilmour. What’s not to like?

  21. Kjell Hedberg

    September 19, 2020 at 10:19 am

    Where is the greatest of them all? Be Bop Deluxe’s Sunburn Finish and Modern Music. Bill Nelsons masterpices and 2 of 70ths best records!

  22. Patrick Mauck

    September 19, 2020 at 3:46 pm

    Dixie Dregs, What If. Jeff Beck, Wired. Weather Report, Black Market. 1976 was a great year!

  23. Kim Armitage

    September 20, 2020 at 12:39 am

    I wonder how they come up with that list? Just to mention a few like Dark side of the moon. Pink Floyd. Tubular bells. Mike Oldfield. Physical Graffiti LED Zeppelin i think the list was way out.

  24. Destiny Richardson

    September 20, 2020 at 5:15 pm

    Ah, mainstream prog! No Zappa, who was a major influence on the movement and wrote some of its most challenging music; none of the Dave Stewart bands like Egg, Hatfield and the North, or National Health, no Soft Machine, no Henry Cow, no Beefheart, none of the newer prog or prog-related bands. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…

  25. Jan Den brok

    September 20, 2020 at 8:41 pm

    Frank Zappa.

  26. Andrei Murillo

    September 22, 2020 at 2:30 am

    Maybe for me,Dark side of the Moon,by Pink Floyd;In a glass house by Gentle Giant,Selling England by the pound by Genesis ,this are my comenta.

  27. ljubous

    September 22, 2020 at 10:41 pm

    No Happy the man everytime. No Kit Watkins…

  28. Who D. Who

    September 22, 2020 at 10:44 pm

    A lot of stuff missing here, and the worthy groups cited are mostly misrepresented by the albums chosen. Crimson’s 3rd and 4th albums are much more successfully “prog” than the first, for example. Floyd’s “Meddle” or “Dark Side” are more ambitious than “Wish You Were Here.” And Zappa practically invented prog rock. Later and more contemporary prog, such as Claypool’s group Primus, or the Claypool-Lennon Delirium, also deserve mention, especially the latter, which covers some of the early 60s and 70s prog as part of its repertoire.

  29. Jimmy Bennett

    September 23, 2020 at 10:20 am

    So much missing here – what about the Wanky Doodles and where is Goopshine?!

  30. Edy X

    September 23, 2020 at 3:51 pm

    Me parece que omitir “Dark Side of The Moon” es un error imperdonable.❎

  31. GAS

    September 26, 2020 at 6:50 am


  32. Iván Melgar

    September 26, 2020 at 11:31 pm

    Not a bad list…But no Hybris (Anglagard) and no Foxtrot by Genesis?

    Anglagard and Par Lindh Project saved Prog in the 90’s and Foxtrot is by far the most solid Genesis album.

  33. pete

    September 28, 2020 at 6:48 pm

    Ive got seven of those and Im63 and a prog fan since 67. Im amazed so many are missing.

  34. Iván Vera

    October 9, 2020 at 8:16 am

    No italians? They are the best. For example: Ys by Ill Balletto di Bronzo. Or any album from Garybaldi, any from J. E. T. Magma in #23? Are you kidding? And the germans? Can, for example

  35. David Mexia

    October 12, 2020 at 11:06 pm

    And what about Popol Vuh, Il balletto di Bronzo, Premiata Forneria Marconi and other great European progressive rock groups of the late 70s?

  36. Mick

    October 16, 2020 at 3:03 pm

    This is the dumbest bunch of crap I have ever seen in my life. You have to be be totally ignorant or retarded to make this kind of list.

  37. Craig McArthur

    October 24, 2020 at 7:18 am

    What! Nothing from the Alan Parsons Project? “I Robot” and “Gaudi” are glaring omissions.

  38. Stevie Dan

    January 8, 2021 at 12:05 pm

    Where the hell is It Bites’ ‘Once Around The World’?

  39. Pete Hall

    January 16, 2021 at 12:42 pm

    Music in a dolls house Family, has too be the number one.
    Dismayed it is not in list, streets ahead of anything in your list!

  40. Name Larry

    January 17, 2021 at 1:55 am

    Many of these second rate bands I never gave a moment’s notice – Camel, Caravan, so forth – and I visited Gentle Giant just briefly enough to roll my eyes. Personally I rate Steve Hackett’s Voyage of the Acolyte very highly; higher than sone of Genesis’ work. (Some…) Give me Genesis Nursery Cryme any day over Yes. But the album that actually got me to ‘convert’ to “Prog” adventurousness, many decades ago, was by….Deep Purple!! The Book of Taliesyn it was called, original vinyl album. I’d also like to make a plug for Fleetwood Mac’s 1971 Future Games album. Very cerebral, but probably way too mellow for most folks.

  41. John Fasciani (Johnny Barracho)

    February 4, 2021 at 11:26 pm

    Selling England by the Pound is the greatest album ever recorded by human beings, let alone the prog rock genre. Its omission from this list is a travesty. It deserves its own genre.

  42. John Young

    December 12, 2021 at 6:16 pm

    Surely some mistake … all time up until now
    In 50 years time it will be different 🙂

  43. eurocrank

    December 16, 2021 at 12:06 pm

    A remarkable list: well-thought-out and well-written. I have just about all of these albums and am happy to see them on such a list. I do think that Traffic shouldn’t be on this list unless it’s “On the Road,” and it would have been nice to see Uriah Heep’s “The Magician’s Birthday,” but as lists go this is perhaps the best prog list I’ve ever come across.

  44. SecretTreaties

    January 4, 2022 at 10:08 pm

    ELO – Eldorado and Roxy Music – Siren are accessible but truly progressive in the literal sense.

  45. Ian Gomersall

    January 7, 2022 at 9:19 pm

    Barclay james harvest – gone to earth?

    Steve hackett – spectral mornings?

    Two all time classic imo.

  46. Cato56

    January 12, 2022 at 5:43 pm

    The list includes a lot of albums that are not prog rock, while leaving several bands off, including Hawkwind, Soft Machine, Captain Beyond and The Scorpions, who were prog before their ’80s heavy metal era.

    “John Barley Corn Must Die” is an indisputably great album, but it is not progressive rock. “Aqualung” is pretty borderline to be on a list of prog albums. “Selling England by the Pound” in no way should be lower on the list than “Foxtrot.” Queensryche is a heavy metal band, not a prog band. Kansas is only vaguely a prog band.

  47. Slap

    January 13, 2022 at 5:01 pm

    The problem here is a very fuzzy term (prog rock) with a floating definition that can embrace a WIDE range of ideas. Chew on this for a sec: the Prog Archives website (www.progarchives.com) contains discographies of nearly 12,000 artists and 67,000 albums.

    So, go ahead. YOU pick 50.

  48. BS

    February 4, 2022 at 9:17 pm

    So you just Google search progressive rock bands and randomly pick albums from them or how does this work?

  49. Erland Eikestad

    February 5, 2022 at 3:49 pm

    I MOST DEF Would’ve added Hatfield And The North’s “The Rotter’s Club”. And that amongst the 5 Pinnacle Prog-Albums!

  50. Erland Eikestad

    February 5, 2022 at 3:54 pm

    I FORGOT: I don’t understand Procol Harum’s “Exotic Birds And Fruit”!
    If any of P.H. – Albums has a place on this list; It should’ve been “Grand Hotel” from 1975. (Considered to be their greatest Album amongst their Early Fans of the 60s/70s.)
    And Van Derr Graaf’s “VITAL”?! It should’ve been the Previous “The Quiet Zone / The Pleasure Dome”!

  51. Matthew C. Stellato

    June 3, 2022 at 6:08 am

    The guy who mentioned Rick Wakeman “Six Wives of Henry the Eighth” is an amazing album

    Same time he was doing Fragile and CTTE with YES…

    Amazing Talent.

    Matt S.

  52. Camillus McElhinney

    June 3, 2022 at 11:21 pm

    Of course, this is not a perfect list, but it’s all subjective by its very nature… for me, I only scrolled right to the end to see if Close to the Edge was number one, in its rightful place! Truly my favourite album of all time, I’ve been listening to it for 48 of the 50 years since it’s been released, and it never ceases to amaze, delight, and even baffle me… it’s got to be the most innovative album ever released, utterly joyful, virtuosic, while remaining tuneful and melodious… the epitome of progressive rock!

  53. Andy

    July 7, 2022 at 6:00 pm

    Sure, these listicles are necessarily imperfect, but my two cents: Spock’s Beard (w/Morse): “V,” Spock’s Beard (post-Morse): “Octane,” Glass Hammer (older): “Chronometree,” (Newer):”Valkyrie,” Big Big Train: “Folklore”, King Crimson: “Red” (really surprised no one has mentioned that one),Transatlantic: “SMPTe,” Supertramp: “Brother Where You Bound,” Radiohead: “Kid A,” Flying Colors: “Third Degree,” Return to Forever: “Romantic Warrior,” Dixie Dreg: “Dregs of the Earth,” Eddie Jobson: “The Green Album.” That’s just off the top of my head, in addition to the ones on the author’s list with which I agree. I’ve been a professional classical musician most of my life, and grew up in the ’70’s, so my taste in prog rock spans the Crimson/Yes/ELP/Genesis generation through today’s bands. I’m glad we can all agree that “Close to the Edge” is number one.

  54. mike hewetson

    July 5, 2023 at 7:52 pm

    “a passion play” -jethro tull / “moving waves”- focus are missing.

  55. BobM

    November 10, 2023 at 1:41 am

    Well – at least you didn’t put a Rush album in the Top 5. Those guys don’t belong on the list – sorry man….

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