1971 was the year that prog exploded. From the fundamental forces of pop psych jazz and classical music and the atoms of a rapidly changing social and political climate a new universe of music was born. Dom Lawson traces the dawn of a new era as Malcolm Dome talks to its neo-prog successors who took the sights and sounds of that annus magnifico onward…
The following is a snippet from the article featuring Caravan:
One unavoidable by-product of progressive rock flourishing into a hugely popular genre was that the music industry was soon attempting to extract its pound of flesh from the more upwardly mobile bands of the era. According to Dave Sinclair organist with Caravan who released their seminal In The Land Of Grey And Pink in 1971 the road ahead for young bands was becoming noticeably hazardous.
“There was a feeling that the business side of things was really starting to take off ” Sinclair recalls. “Many bands of that period were starting to be exploited by managers and agents who could see the potential for earning bigger profits.
There were some bands although only a few that were already commercially savvy and could see where it was all heading. As the potential for bigger profits became apparent bands started streamlining their acts in a more dynamic direction by increasing the use of lighting and effects and more efficient sound systems at live shows. Soon after that merchandising became the norm. As time went on some bands were starting to make large sums of money almost certainly on the back of Stateside success but it seemed to me that neither our management nor anyone in the band had any particular drive in that direction and I can’t remember ever attending a meeting to discuss future tactics! The strange thing is that we must have at least got the music right as our albums are still selling in the shops after 43 years!”
Although only three years old when 1971 rolled in Porcupine Tree’s Steven Wilson has latterly been immersed in the sounds of 1971 more than most thanks largely to his recent and ongoing work on the remastered and 5.1 surround sound versions of such classic prog albums as King Crimson’s Islands Caravan’s In The Land Of Grey And Pink and Jethro Tull’s Aqualung. As thoughtful as ever Wilson’s theory about 1971 is that it was simply the culmination of processes and forces that had been gathering momentum for years.
In a magazine readers’ poll for the top prog album of 1971 In The Land of Grey and Pink came in 6th place.
To read the complete article also featuring Genesis ELP and many more buy the latest issue of Classic Rock: Presents Prog Magazine.. OUT NOW.