MUSC 5832-001 American Music: Progressive Rock

Spring 2006

Professor Jay Keister

Classtime: MWF 12:00-12:50pm

Location: Mon. & Wed. - Room C125; Fri. - Room N1B85

Tel: (303) 492-5496; Email:

Office: N124; Office hours: Mon. and Wed. 1-1:45pm

Course description:
The transformation from good times rock and roll music into Rock as a self-conscious art form launched by the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix in the late 1960s gave birth to an international movement in the early 1970s in which rock musicians with newfound instrumental virtuosity appropriated a wide variety of music ranging from classical works to jazz improvisation to non-Western music. As a result of progressive rock musicians’ aspirations, pop music record albums became complex multi-movement social critiques that sold millions worldwide and bands found commercial success performing their compositions live in theatrical stadium shows on tours throughout North America and Europe. This course will examine the flashy virtuosity, the unusual time signatures, and the fantastic lyric philosophies of progressive rock as a reflection of European and American pop culture of the 1970s. The history of progressive rock covered in this class includes a broad range of topics: the origins of progressive rock in psychedelic music, the social critiques and utopian philosophies in rock lyrics, pop music critics’ disdain for high-art pretensions within a populist medium, American response to the prog-rock "British invasion," and progressive rock’s ultimate demise with the rise of punk rock at the end of the 1970s.

Required texts: (available in book store)

Macan, Edward. 1997. Rocking the Classics: English Progressive Rock and the Counterculture. New York: Oxford University Press.

Holm-Hudson, Kevin, ed. 2002. Progressive Rock Reconsidered. New York: Routledge.


39%  Journal of reviews that documents each class reading. These reviews (about one page for each reading) should briefly summarize the reading and include your critical reaction to the author’s work. Depending on the work, you may assess the author’s contribution to the study of rock, any new idea the author has introduced, what other scholars the author is responding to, or whether the author takes a historical, sociological or musicological approach. Each review is due at class time on Wednesdays prior to class discussion of the readings. A total of 13 reviews are required (see schedule below).

35% Research paper and oral presentation: a scholarly paper of original research that demonstrates your knowledge of the literature on rock music. Choice of topic is open, but must be approved by instructor and must be related to the ideas covered in this class. Must be a minimum 10 pages with at least 7 scholarly sources in your bibliography.

20%  Presentations and participation in class. Students are expected to make informal presentations on the course material and lead classroom discussions throughout the semester. Obviously, attendance affects this part of your grade (see below).

6% Attendance. Students are expected to attend all classes and no more than three absences are allowed. Please notify instructor ahead of time if you have to miss a class. Excessive absence will affect your overall grade in the course.

Additional Information on CU policy:

Disabilities: If you qualify for accommodations because of a disability, please submit to me a letter from Disability Services in a timely manner so that your needs may be addressed.  Disability Services determines accommodations based on documented disabilities.  Contact:303-492-8671, Willard 322, www.Colorado.EDU/disabilityservices.

Religious Observances: Please notify instructor of any foreseeable conflicts due to religious observances.

Behavior: Students and faculty each have responsibility for maintaining an appropriate learning environment. Students who fail to adhere to such behavioral standards may be subject to discipline. Faculty have the professional responsibility to treat all students with understanding, dignity and respect, to guide classroom discussion and to set reasonable limits on the manner in which they and their students express opinions.  Professional courtesy and sensitivity are especially important with respect to individuals and topics dealing with differences of race, culture, religion, politics, sexual orientation, gender variance, and nationalities.  Class rosters are provided to the instructor with the student's legal name. I will gladly honor your request to address you by an alternate name or gender pronoun. Please advise me of this preference early in the semester so that I may make appropriate changes to my records.  See polices at   and at

Honor Code: All students of the University of Colorado at Boulder are responsible for knowing and adhering to the academic integrity policy of this institution.Violations of this policy may include: cheating, plagiarism, aid of academic dishonesty, fabrication, lying, bribery, and threatening behavior.  All incidents of academic misconduct shall be reported to the Honor Code Council (; 303-725-2273). Students who are found to be in violation of the academic integrity policy will be subject to both academic sanctions from the faculty member and non-academic sanctions (including but not limited to university probation, suspension, or expulsion). Other information on the Honor Code can be found at  and at

Discrimination/Sexual Harassment: The University of Colorado at Boulder policy on Discrimination and Harassment (, the University of Colorado policy on Sexual Harassment and the University of Colorado policy on Amorous Relationships applies to all students, staff and faculty.  Any student, staff or faculty member who believes s/he has been the subject of discrimination or harassment based upon race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status should contact the Office of Discrimination and Harassment (ODH) at 303-492-2127 or the Office of Judicial Affairs at 303-492-5550.  Information about the ODH and the campus resources available to assist individuals regarding discrimination or harassment can be obtained at

SCHEDULE: (readings subject to change)

(note: all reviews due on Wednesdays)

Week 1 (1/16): Introduction – When Rock & Roll Became “Rock” (The Dylan Effect)

Review 1 (due Friday for discussion):

     Opinion Paper - “What Is Rock Music and How Can It Be Analyzed?”

Week 2 (1/23): The Beatles’ Effect: Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper’s LHCB

Review 2: Moore - Rock: The Primary Text pp. 1-30 (Intro & Ch. 1)

Moore - The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (pp. 8-25 and 70-82)

Week 3 (1/30):  60s Psychedelic Rock I: The Rolling Stones, Cream, Jimi Hendrix,

Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, The Byrds, The Beach Boys, The Doors

Review 3: Macan – Introduction and Ch. 1, in Rocking The Classics

Borthwick and Moy – “Psychedelia: In My Mind’s Eye,” Ch. 3 in Popular Music Genres

Week 4 (2/6): 60s Psychedelic Rock II: The Nice, Pink Floyd, Soft Machine,

The Moody Blues, Procol Harum, The Who, Deep Purple

Review 4: Cotner – Pink Floyd’s “Careful With That Axe, Eugene” (Recon Ch.3)

Cutler - “Progressive Music in the UK” in File Under Popular

Week 5 (2/13): US Avant-garde Rock in the 60s: Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart,

The Velvet Underground, The United States of America

Review 5: Holm-Hudson – “The American Metaphysical Circus” (Recon Ch. 2);

Cotner – “Music Theory and Progressive Rock Style Analysis”

Week 6 (2/20): 70s Progressive Rock in the UK Part I: King Crimson, Yes, ELP, Genesis

 Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, Gentle Giant, Van der Graaf Generator, Gong, Caravan,

   Soft Machine, Mike Oldfield, Hatfield/National Health, Henry Cow, Renaissance

Review 6: Macan Ch. 2, 3 & 4 (The Music; The Visuals; The Lyrics);

Borthwick and Moy – “Progressive rock,” Ch. 4 in Popular Music Genres

Week 7 (2/27): 70s Progressive Rock in the UK Part II: The Lyrics

Review 7:  Weinstein – “Progressive Rock As Text” (Recon Ch. 4);

Rycenga – “Tales of Change Within the Sound” (Recon Ch. 7)

Week 8 (3/6): 70s Progressive Rock in the UK Part III: Analysis of Pieces

Review 8: Macan - Ch. 5 “Four Different Progressive Rock Pieces;

Karl – “King Crimson’s Larks’ Tongues in Aspic” (Recon Ch. 6)

Week 9 (3/13): Sociology, Criticism and Cultural Values in Progressive Rock

Review 9: Macan - Ch. 7 (Sociology) & Ch. 8 (Criticism);

Sheinbaum – “Progressive Rock and The Inversion of Cultural Values” (Recon Ch. 1)

Week 10 (3/20): Progressive Rock in America and Europe: Kansas, Rush, Magma, PFM,

      Focus, Kraftwerk, Can, Faust, Ash Ra Tempel, Amon Duul II, Popol Vuh, Cluster

Review 10: Bowman - “Let Them All Make Their Own Music” (Recon Ch. 9);

Morris – “Kansas and the Prophetic Tone”

Week 11: SPRING BREAK - March 27-31             

Week 12 (4/3): Fellow Travelers: Roxy Music, Brian Eno, David Bowie, Philip Glass,

    Miles Davis, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, Led Zeppelin, Hawkwind,

    Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span, Todd Rundgren, Steely Dan

Review 11: Macan - Ch. 6 (Related Styles); Tamm – Brian Eno (Ch. 1 and Ch. 9)

Week 13 (4/10): The Prog/Psychedelic/Soul Connection: Hendrix, Love, Sly Stone, War,

Parliament/Funkadelic, Sun Ra, Headhunters, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye

Review 12: Corbett – “Brothers From Another Planet” in Extended Play;

Vincent – Funk (pp. 89-111).

Week 14 (4/17): Did Prog Rock “progress?” - King Crimson, Yes, Genesis,

Peter Gabriel, UK, Asia

Review 13: Macan - Ch. 9 (Progressive Rock after 1976);

Robison – “Somebody is Digging My Bones” (Recon Ch. 10)

Week 15 (4/24): The Prog/Punk/New Wave Connection: John Lydon, Talking Heads,

    Byrne & Eno, Devo, Magazine, Pere Ubu, Wire, Throbbing Gristle, The Residents


Week 16 (5/1 and 5/3 only): Final paper presentations


FINAL SESSION: Final paper presentations

Tuesday, May 9th, 7:30-10:00am

Some Additional Sources

Atton, Chris. 2001. “‘Living in the Past’?: value discourses in progressive rock fanzines.” Popular Music 20(1), pp. 29-46.

Bangs, Lester. 2002. “The Blood Feast of Reddy Kilowatt! Emerson, Lake and Palmer Without Insulation!” In Mainlines, Blood Feasts, and Bad Tastes: A Lester Bangs Reader, edited by John Morthland, pp. 47-55. New York: Anchor Books.

Borthwick, Stuart and Ron Moy. 2004. Popular Music Genres. New York: Routledge.

Chambers, Iain. 1983. Urban Rhythms: Pop Music and Popular Culture. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Corbett, John. 1994. Extended Play: Sounding Off from John Cage to Dr. Funkenstein. Durham, NC: Duke University.

Cotner, John. 2000. “Music Theory and Progressive Rock Style Analysis.” In Reflections on American Music, edited by James R. Heintze and Michael Saffle, pp. 88-106. New York: Pendragon Press.

Covach, John. 1997. “Progressive Rock, ‘Close to the Edge,’ and The Boundaries of Style.” In Understanding Rock: Essays in Musical Analysis, edited by John Covach and Graeme M. Boone, pp. 3-31, New York: Oxford.

Cutler, Chris. 1993. File Under Popular: Theoretical and Critical Writings on Music. Brooklyn, NY: Autonomedia.

DeRogatis, Jim. 1996. Kaleidoscope Eyes: Psychedelic Music From The 1960s To The 1990s. London: Fourth Estate.  Note: recently republished as Turn On Your Mind.

Gracyk, Theodore. 1996. Rhythm and Noise: An Aesthetics of Rock. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Harrison, Daniel. 1997. “After Sundown: The Beach Boys’ Experimental Music.” In Understanding Rock: Essays in Musical Analysis, edited by John Covach and Graeme M. Boone, pp. 33-57, New York: Oxford.

Hatch, David and Stephen Millward. 1987. From Blues to Rock: An Analytical History of Pop Music. Manchester, UK; Wolfeboro, NH, USA: Manchester University Press.

Martin, Bill. 1998. Listening to the Future: The Time of Progressive Rock, 1968-1978. Chicago and La Salle, IL: Open Court.

__________. 1996. Music Of Yes: Structure and Vision in Progressive Rock. Chicago: Open Court.

Moore, Allan F. 1993. Rock: The Primary Text. Buckingham: Open University Press.

_____________. 1997. The Beatles: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Morris, Mitchell. 2000. “Kansas and the Prophetic Tone.” American Music Spring 2000, pp. 1-38.

Nicholls, David. 2004. “Virtual Opera, or Opera between the Ears.” Journal of Royal Music Association, 129(1): 100-142.

Rockwell, John. 1986. “The Emergence of Art Rock.” In The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll. Edited by Anthony De Curtis and James Henke, pp. 492-499. New York: Random House.

Roka, Les. 2004. “A Day in the Life of American Music Criticism: The ‘Sgt. Pepper’ Debate of 1967-1969.” Journalism History 30:1 (Spring 2004), pp. 20-30.

Smith, Bradley. 1997. The Billboard Guide to Progressive Music. New York: Billboard


Smith, Sid. 2001. In the Court of King Crimson. London: Helter Skelter Publishing.

Spicer, Mark S. 2000 “Large-scale strategy and compositional design in the early music of Genesis.” In Expression in pop-rock music: a collection of critical and analytical essays, Walter Everett, ed. New York: Garland.

Stokes, Geoffrey. 1986. “The Sixties.” In Rock of Ages: The Rolling Stone History of Rock and Roll. Edited by Ed Ward, Geoffrey Stokes and Ken Tucker, pp. 249-463, New York: Rolling Stone Press/Summit Books.

Stump, Paul. 1997. The Music’s All That Matters: A History of Progressive Rock. London: Quartet Books.

Tamm, Eric. 1989. Brian Eno: His Music and the Vertical Color of Sound. London: Faber and Faber.

__________. 1991. Robert Fripp: From King Crimson to Guitar Craft. London: Faber and Faber.

Thompson, Dave. 2005. Turn It On Again: Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins and Genesis. San Francisco: Backbeat Books.

Vincent, Rickey. 1996. Funk: The Music, The People, and the Rhythm of the One. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin.

Walser, Robert. 1993. Running with the Devil: Power, Gender and Madness in Heavy Metal Music. Hanover, NH: Wesleyan University Press.

Whiteley, Sheila. 1992. The Space Between The Notes: Rock and the Counter-Culture. London: Routledge.

Willis, Paul. 1978. Profane Culture. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

Zappa, Frank, with Peter Occhiogrosso. 1989. The Real Frank Zappa Book. New York: Poseidon Press.